Psychedelics in the Workplace: Navigating Policies, Performance, and Wellness
By Peggy Van de Plassche, The Microdose Diet

In an era where the boundaries between work and personal wellness are increasingly blurred, the discussion surrounding the use of psychedelics in the office becomes more pertinent than ever. This topic, once relegated to the fringes of alternative culture, has now emerged at the forefront of organizational challenges, especially in light of what some are calling the "Psychedelic Gentrification." This phenomenon reflects the mainstreaming of psychedelics, complicating the landscape for organizations trying to navigate rapidly changing societal norms and laws.

For baby boomers, the term "psychedelics" might conjure images of the 1960s counterculture. However, today's context is markedly different, focusing on performance, mental wellness, and therapeutic uses rather than recreational experimentation. As organizations grapple with these changes, understanding the roles, responsibilities, and risks involved becomes crucial.

The Rapid Evolution of Psychedelic Policies

State and city laws regarding psychedelics are evolving at a dizzying pace, reflecting a societal shift towards decriminalization and therapeutic acknowledgment of these substances. This movement necessitates a re-evaluation of workplace drug policies, challenging organizations to distinguish between the therapeutic microdosing for mental health and performance enhancement and the more traditional recreational use. The complexities deepen with the consideration of employees participating in psychedelic retreats abroad, where the legal landscape might be drastically different from that of their home country.

Reassessing Workplace Drug Policies

The continued classification of psychedelics as Schedule I substances under federal law juxtaposes sharply with a growing cultural acceptance and legal decriminalization at local levels. This dichotomy places organizations in a precarious position, navigating the tightrope between adhering to federal mandates and respecting the changing social norms and individual rights of their employees. The potential for creating a "don't ask, don't tell" culture looms large, particularly when the use of psychedelics is aimed at enhancing mental wellness.

Moreover, the misuse of psychedelics raises significant safety concerns not only for employees but also for clients and suppliers, highlighting the need for clear guidelines and support systems within the workplace. The specter of reputational risk further complicates this landscape, as seen in high-profile discussions surrounding figures like Elon Musk and companies like Tesla, where the intersection of leadership behavior and substance use has drawn public scrutiny.

The Responsibility of Organizations

The pressure to perform in today's competitive business environment can inadvertently push employees towards various substances, including psychedelics, alcohol, and prescription drugs, as means to cope with or enhance performance. This scenario begs the question of whether organizations will acknowledge their part in this dynamic and how they might address it responsibly.

The role of board members and managers in this context is not merely regulatory but also educational and supportive. They are tasked with revising policies, communicating changes, and setting the tone for a workplace culture that prioritizes employee well-being alongside productivity and compliance. This involves a delicate balance of respecting personal choices and ensuring workplace safety, fostering an environment where employees feel supported in their mental health and wellness journeys without resorting to potentially harmful practices.

Educating and Supporting Employees

A key responsibility for organizations is to educate employees about the risks and benefits of psychedelics, emphasizing the importance of informed, mindful use. This includes providing resources for mental health support and establishing clear guidelines for substance use that respect both legal requirements and individual rights. By promoting a culture of openness and support, organizations can mitigate the risks associated with psychedelics while harnessing potential benefits for employee wellness and productivity.

Navigating the Risks

The risks associated with psychedelics in the workplace extend beyond legal considerations to include health and safety concerns, potential impairment of judgment and performance, and the broader implications for corporate reputation. Organizations must be proactive in addressing these challenges, implementing policies that are informed by current research, legal developments, and best practices in mental health and substance use.

In conclusion, as the landscape around psychedelics continues to evolve, organizations face a complex set of challenges and opportunities. By adopting a proactive, informed, and compassionate approach, leaders can navigate these waters effectively, ensuring a balance between compliance, safety, and support for employee wellness. This not only benefits individuals but also contributes to the creation of a resilient, adaptive, and innovative organizational culture capable of thriving in the face of change.

Peggy Van de Plassche spent 20 years in the financial services and technology industries as an executive, venture capitalist, board member, advisor, entrepreneur and public speaker. Peggy now focuses her time and energy on the psychedelic industry. She is the founder of The Microdose Diet and The Brain Power Microdose ( Her book, MORE! The Microdose Diet - The 90-day plan for More Success, Passion, and Happiness is already available to pre-order and will be distributed in May 2024 by Simon & Schuster. An experienced public speaker, she participated in more than 50 global events. Peggy’s speaking engagements on “Microdosing for More Success, Passion and Happiness” and “Psychedelics in the Office - Role, Responsibilities, & Risks for Organizations” have generated tremendous engagement. You can follow her work on Substack, Linkedin, Apple Podcast, YouTube and IG.


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