On October 2, 2022, psychedelic therapy training provider Fluence filed a trademark for the phrase “Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Integration.” In response to criticism of this decision, the organization has walked back their attempt to trademark the phrase.
When word spread about the attempted trademark, people online expressed surprise that Fluence would attempt to trademark such basic language. The terms “harm reduction” and “integration” are commonly used when discussing psychedelics and other drugs.
Harm reduction refers to practices, such as drug testing or having a trip sitter, which help lessen the chances of negative social and physical consequences of using drugs. Integration refers to intentional processing of emotions and experiences that come up while using a drug.
President of the Australian Psychedelic Society, Samuel Douglas, tweeted on October 26, “Everyone working in psychedelic harm reduction, give up and go home: @Fluencetraining has, apparently, trademarked ‘Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Integration’ – PHRI”. Douglas followed up with a note that the trademark appeared to still be pending.
It was not entirely clear that this trademark was pending, however, as Fluence had listed a certification course on its website called “Postgraduate Certificate in Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Integration”, which included the “” before the trademark was even filed in October.
Brad Burge, Fluence’s Director of Communication, claimed the trademark application was only intended to be used with Fluence’s specific training program and not intended to restrict others’ use of the terms “harm reduction” or “integration.”
“Fluence realizes [the trademark] may lead to confusion among practitioners who use these terms, or some combination of them, to describe their clinical practices,” Burge said. “Recognizing this, Fluence is in the process of revising its trademark application for a term with increased specificity and clarity.”
Why a training program composed of commonly used terms would require a trademark was not made explicit, but Burge followed up on November 1, stating, “As of today, Fluence has decided not to pursue a trademark for psychedelic harm reduction and integration as the name of its training program.”