Thursday, 1 Iyyar, 5784
  |  May 9, 2024

Crown Heights Therapist Offers His Take on Using Psychedelics

Therapist and author Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch shares his view on a hot topic in today’s world: the growing use of psychedelics for treatment in the Jewish world. Full Story

Background photo: Joanna Kosinska/Unsplash

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April 9, 2024 12:04 am

Elon musk takes ketamine

The big missing piece on this discussion
April 9, 2024 12:22 am

While Rabbi Schonbuch discusses clients for who. “It is being suggested” that they try mushroooms or other psychedelic drugs. However, there are too many who SELF-prescribe these substances, buying them from illegal drug-pushers (I know of one who claimed he bought from “a guy at shul”: presumably a fellow Yid!). Others grow their own, inside their homes, rationalizing that it is “safer than trusting dealers.” They often lie (or are ignorant enough to say) that they are doing this “for mind expansion” and/or to supposedly “get closer to G-d.” This is a growing issue IN OUR OWN COMMUNITY, among fellow… Read more »

post names
Reply to  The big missing piece on this discussion
April 9, 2024 11:36 am

so that someone can stop them

And furthermore . . .
Reply to  The big missing piece on this discussion
April 10, 2024 11:55 am

The more we mainstream/”normalize” unprescribed unsupervised use of these illegal drugs, the farther we get from Torah — just like the “normalizing” of other OSSUR behaviors and practices.

April 9, 2024 2:42 am

Chasidus has all the answers. Learning chasidus is the greatest high a person can ever experience. Chasidus is better then any therapy or any drug available. Learn chasidus, stop worrying about yourself and you will be healed.

Reply to  Chasidus
April 9, 2024 5:17 am

. Implementing chassidus is the greatest high
Learning it is recreational …..

Which מאמר
Reply to  Chasidus
April 9, 2024 10:52 am

Which maamer are you learning?

Cheftza vs Gavra
Reply to  Chasidus
April 9, 2024 11:10 am

Chassidus does have all the answers…but only to the extent that one can allow it in. A person can learn Tanya, Imrai Binah, Derech Mitzvosecha, Toras Shmuel, Samech Vuv, Likuetei Dibburim, and Sefer HaMaamarim for 50 years, but if he isn’t oriented experientially to these holy texts, if he feels closed off inside due to negative emotional buildup caused by difficult life experiences of the past and present, the words he is learning cannot fully penetrate his heart. The best of “therapies” are really mirroring the mechanics of what we call “tefillah,” i.e. avodah she’be’lev. Chassidus actually requires us to… Read more »

Spiritual high
Reply to  Chasidus
April 9, 2024 11:50 am

Do you truly get high on the Borei Oilom?

Thanks for speaking about it
April 9, 2024 3:14 am

Mushrooms have helped me to process complex experiences, as well as to sort through my thoughts and gain clarity.

Me too
Reply to  Thanks for speaking about it
April 9, 2024 8:21 am

Me too

they will destroy your lives
April 9, 2024 4:57 am

do not ever do any of them

You might have valuable insight
Reply to  they will destroy your lives
April 9, 2024 12:39 pm

Can you give more details

The rebbe spoke about it
April 9, 2024 5:36 am

The rebbe spoke about it. He didnt encourage psychodelic drugs

When? Where?
Reply to  The rebbe spoke about it
April 9, 2024 9:43 am

Would love to know more

Do a google search - for rebbe's view
Reply to  When? Where?
April 9, 2024 11:28 am

Do a google Search on rebbe and psychodelic drugs and you will get the rebbe’s letters on the subject from chabad org

Just the one
Reply to  Do a google search - for rebbe's view
April 9, 2024 2:18 pm

Letter, just 1

Good Points
April 9, 2024 6:02 am

There are also those at “kiddish club” who self medicate with alcohol. They’ll even joke about it. How sad…

Reply to  Good Points
April 9, 2024 7:10 am

Comparing alcohol at a “Kiddush Club” with psychedelic drugs/treatments, is absolutely ridiculous, in every way. It’s a nice weekly social chill, for most.
To each their own. Sad, you’re stuck in judgementalism.
In younger/more modern circles, it has even brought people back to shul attendance!
Gotta live with the times, baby!

Reply to  Disagree
April 9, 2024 7:51 am

So you are saying that many in our community D’ONT medicate with alcohol

Reply to  Disagree
April 9, 2024 8:22 am

You couldn’t be further from the truth.

For a tiny few its a social gathering.

For many more its a start of a drink fest (they call also shabbes)

Binge drinking. Starting with the halachicly challenged “bain” all the way to the end of shabbes.

Alcholol is far worse.
Far, far worse.
(2 wrongs don’t make a right)

But its far worse.

Reply to  Alcohol
April 9, 2024 10:01 am

“For a tiny few it’s a social gathering”
What an ignorant exaggeration.
I’ve been going to KC’s for 25 years and have not found your claim to be the case. Anyone can generalize anything, true or false, but there are always “the rules, and the exceptions”.

Cultural bias
April 9, 2024 8:21 am

In many cultures/religions, psychedelics are a rite of passage, a sacrament to be held sacred. Interesting how a therapist who helps people with severe depression would not try the medicine themselves – there is something to be said for having a personal understanding of a medicine’s effects, otherwise the experience is one of abstraction. I want to be clear – when we talk about psychedelics, we are NOT talking about western medicine. We are talking of an integration of indigenous practices into western culture and indeed even applying western medicines in different contexts (e.g. ketamine). Indeed, these flashy ketamine companies… Read more »

Reply to  Cultural bias
April 9, 2024 10:03 am

You lost me at encouraging the therapist to try it themselves. Do you recommend all doctors try all medicines before prescribing or just when it comes to these alternatives? After reading that, it diminished – for me – your other points that may be more valid.

Professionals need to evaluate things based on what they see works with others (either by experience with their own clients or statistical research in the industry) with similar diseases, not based on their own biases.

stay away from all this poison
Reply to  Cultural bias
April 9, 2024 10:11 am

it will destroy your life

Right there with you!
Reply to  Cultural bias
April 9, 2024 11:04 am

Yup. Well said.

post your name
Reply to  Cultural bias
April 9, 2024 11:37 am

and are you jewish

Reply to  Cultural bias
April 9, 2024 12:00 pm

Shamanic ritual, is that avoda zara?

it definitely is avoda zara
Reply to  Hmmm
April 9, 2024 1:31 pm


Listen to the Rebbe
Reply to  Cultural bias
April 13, 2024 10:41 pm

We listen to actual doctors, not witch doctors. Sorry

April 9, 2024 9:06 am

Oh so let’s just encourage ppl to get blacked out on alcohol every week and it’s normal but chas vshalom someone has a good trip on mushrooms ⁉️⁉️

Reply to  Alcohol??
April 9, 2024 9:56 am

“Blacked out on alcohol” vs “good trip on mushrooms”
Yeah, right, sure. You’ve said it all.

April 9, 2024 9:55 am

its interesting that the people who have never tried it are so against it, while those who have tried it benefit greatly

can you please re read the section in the Torah
Reply to  ridiculous
April 10, 2024 9:46 am

where it speaks about the serpent persuading them to eat the apple.

Anyone who tries to persuade someone to do these poisons is being that serpent.

Everyone has a right to their opinion, BUT....
Reply to  can you please re read the section in the Torah
April 11, 2024 10:42 am

Clearly, you have never eaten the “apple” and that’s why you can dole out such “wise” advice.

that too sounds like something the serpent would
Reply to  Everyone has a right to their opinion, BUT....
April 11, 2024 12:11 pm


Listen to the Rebbe
Reply to  ridiculous
April 13, 2024 10:43 pm

So if people need heart surgery they should only go to a surgeons that tried it on themselves…

Plant Medicine
April 9, 2024 11:34 am

Like all medications, when used respectfully, and intentionally, Psilocybin Mushrooms are so beneficial for about wellbeing. When taken in micro doses or macro doses, their medicine works wonders for our neuroplasticity. With proper integration, these beautiful creations of hashem can provide much needed medicine.

Plant medicine, like all medicine can be abused and taken in contexts that aren’t medicinal. Psilocybin is powerful, should be respected as such and taken with care.

no. it's plant poison
Reply to  Plant Medicine
April 9, 2024 1:32 pm

it is not medicine

Reply to  no. it's plant poison
April 9, 2024 11:16 pm

Whatever you think is good, just take a chill in life

just trying to save lives and jewish souls
Reply to  Bro
April 10, 2024 9:47 am

from irreparable self-destruction

If it cures or pallistes?
Reply to  no. it's plant poison
April 11, 2024 1:58 pm

Much more in the medical tradition than what the government agencies are up to. Two more caveats. I knew a guy who got hooked on opiates because it was s a good way to “come down” from LSD. 2. Newevidence suggests a sizable percentage ofadults in ancient Greece had had a psychedelic experience from their Avodart Zora cults.

Not following the Rebbe's guidance on alcohol
April 9, 2024 12:11 pm

Not following the Rebbe’s guidance on alcohol has brought us to this new form of using a crutch.
If parents and mashpiim would finally BAN mashke, we would would have healthy yungeleit not dependent on outside stimuli.
The Rebbe was against drinking, even making Kiddish over mashke, and yet we didn’t listen. Now we are dealing with mushrooms.
M’darf fulgen….

Great conversation!
April 9, 2024 2:18 pm

It is an important conversation to have.

Medical student
April 9, 2024 3:38 pm

It’s times like these where you have to ask yourself, what qualifications do you have to speak on this matter. Have you read any of the studies, have you seen patient information. This is a matter that should be left to doctors and rabbonim because like many things the answer isn’t a simple yes or but depends on various factors. Bottom line is you need to have a proper rov and doctor to help guide you through this becuase you should not go about it alone because even the studies that shoe benefits were done in very controlled environments that… Read more »

Everyone has a right to their opinion, BUT....
April 9, 2024 5:37 pm

I personally know hundreds of medical professionals who have tried psychedelics before prescribing them to their patients, so they can actually speak on the experience, what it’s like – it’s benefits and its integration process. The fact that you make all of these claims against psychedelics is ridiculous when you’ve never tried them. The same goes for all Rabbis who have never tried any of it, yet are quick to speak against plant medicines and seem to have all the answers. (Plenty of well-respected shluchim and community leaders have tried plant medicines with tremendous results). We are ALL human, we… Read more »

you literally sound exactly like
Reply to  Everyone has a right to their opinion, BUT....
April 9, 2024 9:27 pm

the serpent in the garden of eden trying to convince everyone to eat the apple

Everyone has a right to their opinion, BUT....
Reply to  you literally sound exactly like
April 11, 2024 10:35 am

I would never tell anyone to try psychedelics, but I would also never offer advice on something I haven’t experienced.

Look at the studies
April 9, 2024 6:09 pm

Obviously, the only reason why someone should not take psychedelics would be the risks associated with them.
But it seems like all the studies are showing that if it is taken in a supportive and comfortabla way, and one is not at risk for major psychologic disorders (which can be determined through examination), that the risk of a negative consequence is near 0%.

your comment is false
Reply to  Look at the studies
April 9, 2024 9:28 pm

they are very dangerous and very risky

Reply to  your comment is false
April 14, 2024 8:18 am

Do you have any data to support your comment?

What's wrong with a short term bad experience?
April 9, 2024 6:14 pm

There is nothing wrong with having a bad trip if there are no long term issues as a result.
On the contrary, going through an experience of strong anxiey or paranoia, can really show someone what they really fear or worry about in life.

With that being said, due to the possibility of having an experience that can be overwhelming or that one feels they are not in control, best to do psychedelics with a sober and safe friend, preferably someone who is quite experienced in psychedelics.

Reply to  What's wrong with a short term bad experience?
April 9, 2024 9:28 pm


Psychedelics are debilitating and addicting drugs
April 9, 2024 9:46 pm

They are soft pedaled and touted as an innocuous experiential delight. That’s a lie. Lots of Jews are complicit in the lie. Problem is these trips are addicting and no one talks about that part. My son is addicted and headed toward the abyss. So sad. He isn’t alone. I now know of plenty of folks, one trip too many, one psychotic episode too many, and over the edge of ever returning to normal or sometime even to life. The complicit nature of the drug use cheerleaders is disgusting.

set and setting matter
Reply to  Psychedelics are debilitating and addicting drugs
April 10, 2024 12:31 am

When used for healing they have the opposite effect on addiction. anyone with a history of Schizophrenia should not go near plant medicine. there are some psychedelics and I specifically use the term psychedelics and not plant medicine because there are some that are one and not the other for instance LSD is a psychedelic however it is not a plant medicine. mdma and ketamine are synthetics and not even total classic psychedelics.Drug use cheerleading is very unfortunate however the experience I and many have had has been life changing when done with a professional, most of the experiences I… Read more »

Refuah Shleima
Reply to  Psychedelics are debilitating and addicting drugs
April 10, 2024 8:10 am

Wishing your son a refuah shleima. It’s not easy and demands a tremendous amount of work but some have recovered from this machla and I hope your son will be amongst those that have come back from the abyss.

you need to stop him from ever using them again
Reply to  Psychedelics are debilitating and addicting drugs
April 10, 2024 10:26 am

before his brain gets permanently damaged

April 9, 2024 11:37 pm

There are sick people peddling this stuff to the public and destroying lives by somehow portraying Ketamine which is a tranquilliser as a solution for issues. So wrong .

Reply to  Anthony
April 10, 2024 9:35 am

to the Rabbi who wrote this please immediately stop administering these poisons to jews

some points he made are true, most are false.
April 10, 2024 12:16 am

Let me start with the one or two things I agree with, and after I’ll hit on the ones that I don’t. 1st off ketamine is a disassociate and a synthetic, it is not a psychedelic or plant medicine. I would be very paranoid of Big Pharma taking over the ketamine industry as well. I know way to many ppl who are flat out addicted to ketamine. I stay the hell away from that stuff. 2nd I believe that a person should try plant medicine for the first time with a professional, after getting familiar with the space and they… Read more »

post names of the rabbis
Reply to  some points he made are true, most are false.
April 10, 2024 9:39 am

you speak about

Seriously, Daniel?!
April 10, 2024 1:45 am

“Try therapy. If that doesn’t work, drop acid?”
Readers, please don’t follow this advice. It takes a few tries, sometimes, to find an excellent therapist. Drugs are not the answer.

I agree with this commenter
Reply to  Seriously, Daniel?!
April 10, 2024 9:39 am

they are never the answer

Everyone has a right to their opinion, BUT....
Reply to  Seriously, Daniel?!
April 11, 2024 10:38 am

But, SSRIs are?!

The chances of someone becoming addicted to an Opioid and even to an anti-anxiety med are quite high. Doctors love to push them for this reason. They are designed to promote addiction.

April 10, 2024 2:14 am

Over time, countless verifiable and well respected halachic opinions have quantified the value of one’s mental/psychological health, in which it is essentially compared to one’a life. Having said that, I do believe that psychedelic medicine, like non-psychedelic medicine would halachically be permitted for use in cases in which one’s mental/psychological health is at stake. If you look into the Rebbe’s letters abt mental health related issues, you will find a letter including “Moreover — and this is of great importance — you should be in constant contact with specialists in this field, to rouse them and question them from time… Read more »

want to know the real evil history of this poison?
Reply to  Interesting
April 10, 2024 9:42 am

please no one listen to what any of these cheerleaders say. They are all wrong

Everyone has a right to their opinion, BUT....
Reply to  want to know the real evil history of this poison?
April 11, 2024 10:39 am

So if we can save someone’s life with psychedelic assisted therapy, we shouldn’t try it because it makes you uncomfortable?

The Rebbe’s Opinion on Psychadelics
April 10, 2024 2:24 am

In possibly the only letter from the Rebbe about the use of psychadelics, the Rebbe says “I am in receipt of your letter of October 18th, which you write in the name of your friends and in your own behalf, and ask my opinion regarding the new drug called L.S.D., which is said to have the property of mental stimulation, etc. Biochemistry is not my field, and I cannot express an opinion on the drug you mention, especially as it is still new. However what I can say is that the claim that the said drug can stimulate mystical insight,… Read more »

want to know the real evil history of this poison?
Reply to  The Rebbe’s Opinion on Psychadelics
April 10, 2024 9:42 am

google MK ultra

the pushers of these poisons
April 10, 2024 9:44 am

have been intentionally trying to shatter vessels since they started. And they have shattered many vessels. Disgusting

Chassidus? Not by itself, don't rely on miracles
April 10, 2024 12:09 pm

There is a difference between being in just a bad mood
and depression. The former is inconvenient, while the
latter is debilitating!

So, if you want to uplift your mood, Chassidus sure can help.
But if it’s more severe than just a bad mood, may need
to add other interventions ( very likely medicine) in addtion
to Chassidus.

Real medicine yes
Reply to  Chassidus? Not by itself, don't rely on miracles
April 10, 2024 11:13 pm

There’s a saying “Do you know what alternative medicine that actually works is called? Medicine.”

I think therapists are afraid
April 11, 2024 10:46 am

I think therapists who haven’t tried psychedelics (natural plant medicine variety) are terrified that their clients will realize that human beings with powerful souls have held the power to heal ourselves all along. They say one trip can offer insight into your inner-most self — an equivalent to 10 years of therapy. And it’s true.

Makes no sense
Reply to  I think therapists are afraid
April 11, 2024 5:17 pm

No chasid and no responsible therapist would be terrified of this. Quite the opposite.

And no, what you said about 10 years is hearsay. You cannot quantify. But have you tried the somatic, or other therapies? Before making assertions blaming therapists?

It seems to me that Dr Schobach is right that while some people may need it, psychadelic therapy should not become the new trend for everyone in our community.

It seems to you..
Reply to  Makes no sense
April 14, 2024 8:40 am

This doctor hasn’t tried it, is hiding on his couch with a notepad and a pencil asking his client “so.. how are you feeling today?”. He is afraid. One journey on psychedelic can heal you tremendously faster then dr Schobach can help you. I have not tried synthetic medicines that this Dr subscribe and never will. But I did work with plant medicine. It saved my life! Read that again, it saved my life. I don’t drink at Shul anymore, I quit smoking, my marriage is phenomenal, my relationship with my kids is incredible, my relationship with myself is phenomenal.… Read more »

Flower Essences
April 12, 2024 6:14 pm

Flower Essences offer a far safer and well-tested option for treating depression and other emotional conditions.

Expert on psychedelic drugs and former enthusiast
April 14, 2024 11:35 am

As a former advocate for recreational and therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs, and with both pharmacological knowledge and personal experiences, I agree fully with Daniel on this one. I would highly discourage basically anyone from trying psychedelics