Meet: Torsten Passie

By Gabriel García October 17, 2022

Dr. Torsten Passie (born 1961) is a German psychiatrist, professor at the Hannover Medical School and internationally renowned scientific expert on altered states of consciousness. He received his degree in philosophy and sociology from the Leibniz University of Hannover and his doctorate from the Hannover Medical School.

From 1997 to 2010, Dr. Passie conducted research and clinical work in Hannover, where he directed the former Laboratory for Consciousness and Neurocognition. He studied with the famed professor and pioneer of psychedelic therapy Dr. Hanscarl Leuner at the University Clinic for Psychiatry in Zurich. He was a visiting professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School from 2012 to 2015 and subsequently taught as a visiting professor at Goethe-Frankfurt/Main University.

His interest in psychedelic substances was triggered by a spontaneous mystical experience, not induced by psychedelics. The experience altered his previously atheistic and materialistic personal philosophies and challenged his identity development.

Throughout his decades of clinical research, Dr. Passie has investigated the altered states of consciousness associated with respiration, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), cannabis, ketamine, LSD, MDMA and psilocybin. More specifically, he has studied psychedelic microdosing, LSD-assisted psychotherapy for terminal illness, psychedelic treatment for PTSD, the psychopharmaceutical and sociopolitical history of MDMA use, LSD analogues/lysergamides, and the effects of subanesthetic doses of ketamine.

In 2010, with support from the Beckley Foundation, Dr. Passie and colleagues discovered the potential of BOL-148 (a non-hallucinogenic derivative of LSD) to treat cluster headaches. He also supported Roland Griffiths’ team at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in clinical trials that found that meditation combined with psilocybin use produced sustained positive changes in participants.

Passie is the author of several books, including Healing with Entactogens: Therapist and Patient Perspectives on MDMA-Assisted Group Psychotherapy (2017), The Pharmacology of LSD (2010), and The Science of Microdosing Psychedelics (2019). He has also written on the history of self-experiencing with psychoactive substances and hallucinogen persistent perception disorder (HPPD), a rare phenomenon in which perceptual distortions persist up to months or even years after a user’s psychedelic experience.

His role has been pivotal in the resurgence of psychedelic medicine and research. In keeping with this psychedelic renaissance, he is pictured here with Anton Gomez-Escolar with the English version of the Essential Guide to the Psychedelic Renaissance at ICPR 2022. This book discusses the history, neuroscience, legality, therapeutic applications and harm reduction of the most promising psychedelic drugs for science. After decades of international prohibition, these molecules are returning to laboratories and clinics, hand in hand with the most rigorous science, to revolutionize the way we understand and treat mental health (depression, anxiety, PTSD and addictions).

Precisely on the legislative level, this title, along with the rest of the Psychonaut’s Guides collection, is one of the most up-to-date written sources on the legislative status of psychedelics for which Amanda Feilding has fought so hard. The appendix on legality, written by Francisco Azorín (a lawyer specializing in drugs and psychedelics), clearly answers the most relevant doubts about the current legislation and raises questions about its future.

If you are interested in learning how these substances can help improve your mental health, you can read more information about psychedelics in the Essential Guide to the Psychedelic Renaissance,as well. We also recommend Psychedelics and Mental Health, by Irene de Caso and Your Brain on Psychedelics, by Genís Oña, where you will learn the keys to the effects of psychedelics, capable of producing significant changes in the processes of perception, thought and consciousness. The book also includes a prologue written by one of the greatest eminences in this field, José Carlos Bouso, scientific director of ICEERS.

These books are now available on Amazon in physical and eBook format, as well as Apple Books. In addition, all titles are available in Spanish version on

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