Are Psychedelics the Future of Mental Health?

Back to the future: Psychedelic drugs in psychiatry

Recently, psychedelic substances have once again swept the world by storm, this time through popular culture. There appears to be renewed media and medical interest in acid (LSD), mushrooms (psilocybin), ecstasy (MDMA), ayahuasca, DMT (dimethyltryptamine), and ketamine, as evidenced by the psychedelicstartup companies that are newly forming on Wall Street and a recent New York Timesarticle that claims “psychedelic drugs are closer to medicinal use.” As an author’s disclaimer, I should mention that my own life has long been intertwined with the use of psychedelic substances.

I recall reading my father’s book Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered in 1979 (when I was 14 years old), in which he advocated, with his customary foresight, an open-minded reconsideration of the therapeutic potential of this family of medications.

During the period during which these substances were connected with the 1960s countercultural movement, and when reports of disastrous trips and mental episodes began to circulate, “the initial exuberance around these new drugs was replaced with moral panic.” It appears that the pendulum has swung back in their favor, and there is increased interest in their potential as an adjunctive therapy in the treatment of a number of mental diseases.

What are psychedelics?

A class of medications known as psychoactive substances, or psychedelics, are drugs that have the ability to alter one’s ideas and sensory impressions. Some of them, such as LSD, can create visual hallucinations when taken in large amounts. Many people are familiar with the term “magic mushrooms,” which are mushrooms that contain the active component psilocybin. When used in large dosages, psilocybin can also create hallucinations and change perceptions. Other drugs, like as ecstasy, have a greater impact on one’s mood and one’s sense of connectedness with other people.

Ayahuasca, a plant that grows in the jungles of South America, has been utilized by indigenous societies for thousands of years to treat a variety of ailments.

How do psychedelics work?

It is a family of medicines known as psychedelics that are capable of inducing altered states of consciousness and sensory impressions in the user’s mind. LSD, for example, can create visual hallucinations when taken in large amounts at a time. Magic mushrooms, which are made up of the active chemical psilocybin, are well-known to many people throughout the world. High amounts of psilocybin can also create hallucinations and altered perceptions. Other substances, such as ecstasy, have a greater impact on one’s mood and one’s sense of connectedness to other people than marijuana.

Traditionally, indigenous civilizations have employed ayahuasca, which is found in the rainforests of South America, to treat a variety of ailments. The distinctions between these pharmaceuticals and medicines are significant, even if they are loosely presented under a generic rubric.

Is there evidence for using psychedelics medicinally?

To the degree that research on treatments and therapies that are not yet approved has been permitted, the response is an increasingly affirmative and emphatic affirmative. According to the findings of a research published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in 2021, “psilocybin-assisted treatment was effective in providing large, fast, and persistent antidepressant effects in patients with major depressive disorder in patients with major depressive disorder.” At six weeks, a research published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2021 found that patients with moderate to severe major depressive disorder who got two doses of psilocybin performed equally as well as, if not better, than individuals who received daily doses of escitalopram (an antidepressant medication).

A study published in the journal Nature in 2021, which was a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study (the gold standard for research), found that “MDMA-assisted therapy is highly effective in individuals with severe PTSD, and treatment is safe and well-tolerated,” according to the authors.

Furthermore, it has been recommended as a therapeutic option for some individuals suffering from treatment-resistant depression.

These drugs can assist people in overcoming their dread of death, and they can also assist in making the process of dying a more meaningful and spiritual experience for them.

What are the pros and the cons?

Because of the pleasure they may provide, certain of these substances, such as MDMA, are regarded to be potentially dangerous drugs of abuse. Some psychedelics have been linked to undesirable effects such as dizziness, sleepiness, acute disconnection from reality, panic episodes, and nausea, among other things. Because they are illegal, they are more harmful, and persons who use street drugs might develop medical difficulties as a result of ingesting tainted substances. Contrary to their growing potential in the area of psychiatry, psychedelic substances are still regarded as experimental or regulated medication, and their use is still primarily permitted only in experimental or supervised settings.

Plus, for the illnesses indicated above, they provide a fresh and extremely promising therapeutic option for some of the most difficult-to-treat mental conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and treatment-resistant depression.

Some patients have said that their experience with psychedelics was genuinely life-altering.

This is believed to be due in part to the fact that the use of psychedelics commonly leads to people having what can only be defined as mystical experiences, and that these experiences have been linked to better outcomes.

Future exploration of psychedelic drugs

Because of the euphoria that some of these substances may provide, some of them, such as MDMA, are regarded to be potentially dangerous medications. Some psychedelics have been linked to undesirable effects such as dizziness, sleepiness, acute disconnection from reality, panic episodes, and nausea, among others. As a result of their illegality, they are more harmful, and persons who use street drugs may experience medical difficulties as the result of consuming substance that has been tainted.

It is not recommended to consume these substances without the presence of a guide who is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and who can give soothing support and/or call for assistance in the event of a terrible trip or an unpleasant response.

It is possible to keep them somewhat secure if they are under competent care.

Some believe this is due to the fact that using psychedelics commonly leads to what can only be defined as mystical experiences, and that these experiences have been shown to be connected with better outcomes in some studies.

Are Psychedelics the Future of Mental Health?

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According to Peter Bongiorno, who practices and lectures on ketamine-assisted treatments in New York City and believes that “psychedelics help parts of the brain open up that are closed,” researchers are still trying to figure out exactly how psychedelics work.

psilocybin (20- to 30-mg dosages) in conjunction with talk therapy were shown to be more effective than antidepressants in treating persons suffering from severe depression, according to the latest research published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry in November 2020.

Even after 12 months, the researchers discovered that patients saw a considerable reduction in symptoms and were able to sleep better.

Ketamine, a derivative of the anesthetic phencyclidine (PCP), may have earned a reputation as a party drug, but recent research has revealed that it is actually classified as a rapid-acting antidepressant (dramatic results can be seen in less than a day), though the exact mechanism of action is still a mystery.

Even though more study is needed, counseling and neuroscience specialists are excited about the potential of psychedelics in psychotherapy and are advocating for their legalization and wider availability.

Consult with your mental health professional about the options that are legal and accessible in your state. This article is a part of Yoga Journal’s Special Report: “Yoga in the City.” In What Ways Can Yoga Benefit Your Mental Health? More information may be found at:

  • How Yoga Can Aid in the Treatment of Depression
  • 9 Natural Ways to Make You Feel Better
  • The Happy Meal: Salmon with Turmeric
  • What Yoga Did for My Mental Health
  • How Yoga Improved My Mental Health

A psychedelic drug boom in mental health treatment comes closer to reality

In this 2007 file photo, magic mushrooms are seen in a grow chamber in the Netherlands, where they were grown. Associated Press photographer Peter Dejong Businessman Dick Simon has never shied away from speaking up about controversial business issues that other CEOs would consider too taboo to broach. In addition to dedicating years of his life to boosting U.S.-Iran economic relations, the Boston-based CEO has recently discovered a new passion: increasing the market for and medical community’s knowledge of how psychedelic medicines may be used to treat mental illness.

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Drugs that have been demonized for years, such as psilocybin and MDMA, are gaining in popularity as therapy choices for mental illness.

According to Elemer Piros, a Roth Capital Partners biotech analyst who focuses on the growing alternative mental health treatment market, “this is a watershed moment in the industry.” “It may not appear to be a monumental undertaking, but it is one of the greatest and most well planned experiments ever conducted in space.

“The mystical experiences continued to manifest themselves, but no one had the confidence to bring it to the attention of regulators.”

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Following publication in Nature Medicine on Monday of the findings of the MDMA study, whose senior author is Rick Doblin, founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, it is expected that the FDA will approve the drug by 2023, according to The New York Times.

It is also expected that clinical results will be available by the end of the year from an investigation involving Compass Pathways (which became a publicly traded company late last year) that is testing its approach to guided psilocybin experiences as a treatment for medication-resistant depression.

(Dr. Sharmin Ghaznavi, associate director of the Center for the Neuroscience of Psychedelics at Massachusetts General Hospital, will talk at the CNBC Healthy Returns Summit on Tuesday.)

A focus on depression treatment outcomes

There are examples of stigmatized medications being used in FDA-approved medical settings, such as ketamine, which has been used as an anesthetic since the 1970s and has since been used “off-label” to treat depression based on the FDA’s existing authorisation. For the first time in decades, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a JohnsonJohnsonketamine-derived medication for drug-resistant depression in 2019. The medicine was developed by JohnsonJohnson and approved in 2019. The present therapeutic method of assisting individuals to live with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) while taking medication results in a patient population and cost element that place a strain on the medical system.

  • A close friend of Simon’s came dangerously near to losing a child who was suffering from mental illness.
  • “That’s not the kind of prognosis you want to hear as a 20-year-old,” he explained.
  • “They had tried everything, and eventually out of complete desperation, they started learning about the potential for psychedelic-assisted therapies, and it worked,” he said in an interview with CNBC conducted late last year.
  • Mental illness is one of the most expensive medical costs in the United States, and it has a significant impact on the productivity of employees and companies.
  • Every year, around 7% of Americans suffer from depressive episodes, with approximately 1% of them suffering from treatment resistance.
  • According to a recent CowenCo.
  • This risk grows with each subsequent depressive episode.

Public vs. professional acceptance of illegal drugs

As of 2019, Denver became the first city in the United States to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms, and the state of Oregon became the first state to legalize mushrooms for medical purposes when voters approved a ballot initiative in the fall of 2020. However, investors in new drug treatment approaches are not concerned with public acceptance, the trend of microdosing (for which they claim there is little data), or the potential of the consumer recreational market, despite the fact that many people believe current ideas about these drugs are out of date.

“With regard to strictly medicinal applications, there is an enormous quantity and strength of evidence in support of expanding use, which is where I’m concentrating my efforts.” For example, Atai Life Sciences, a holding company for a number of biotech start-ups researching alternative therapies for depression, anxiety, and addiction that are based on stigmatized pharmaceuticals, is one of the most significant investors in the developing sector.

  1. It is financed by venture investor Peter Thiel and has filed for an initial public offering (IPO).
  2. Angermayer believes in the ability of psychedelics to have a good impact on one’s life.
  3. “There’s nothing else that even comes close,” Angermayer said in an interview with CNBC late last year.
  4. The company Compass Pathways, whose creator, Lars Christian Wilde, suffered from drug-resistant depression and sought relief through psychedelics, was founded by Angermayer, who invested early in the company.

The legalization of marijuana is something we desire, but only for physicians or psychotherapists working in a professional context, “Angermayer, who will talk at the CNBC Healthy Returns conference on Tuesday, stated “These are not medications that can be taken on your own, and not everyone has the financial means to travel to the Amazon and consult a shaman.

Introducing it into the medical system is essential.”

Investment risks

Some of those who are closely observing and investing in this field have personal experience with family members or friends who are suffering from mental illness and struggle to find a good medical therapy. In the words of Roth Capital’s Piros, who himself has a family member who is suffering from depression, “These individuals have been suffering for decades.” The new enterprises come with a high amount of financial risk, which is normal in the biotech industry, with early studies showing promise but no income being generated by the business at this point in time.

  1. As an investor in a development-stage company, Piros advises keeping in mind that the money being made now is not the most important factor to consider.
  2. Even though I am neither a medical practitioner or a researcher, my experience as a CEO and entrepreneur has given me the ability to make things happen.
  3. Trials involving psychedelic substances that have been researched for decades are less likely to end in outright failures than those conducted by biotech companies dealing with brand new compounds, which have a failure rate as high as 90 percent.
  4. “It is not chronic medicine, which is a business strategy that is pretty predictable and a fantastic business model in its own right.
  5. If we only require therapy for depression twice a year to remain in remission, it is a thousand times better than anything we can give now, and there is currently no FDA-approved medication for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), “Piros expressed himself.
  6. If a business like Compass is successful in bringing its therapeutic method to market, it has the potential to reach millions of Americans — estimates range from around 2 million to 4 million — who are currently underserved by the existing class of depression medications.
  7. In certain cases, a 5 percent to 7 percent market share might be worth billions, depending on the proportion of patients who are resistant to existing medications that the therapy is able to treat.
  8. “In fact, we don’t expect 5 percent penetration two years after debut; we expect it to be more like five to seven years after launch, and anything more than 5 percent would be insane.

“We don’t have to look at it from the consumer’s perspective.” Many factors would influence the overall size of the market, including the number of patients who are designated as good candidates for the new treatments, the infrastructure required for the guided sessions, which would need to take place in controlled environments, such as those currently used by treatment centers to administer ketamine, and physician acceptance.

Compass is establishing a network of Centres of Excellence, the first of which will open this year at Sheppard Pratt in Baltimore, Maryland, and will be devoted to research and education.

According to an estimate by Berenberg Capital Markets, the larger market to support the therapeutic use of psilocybin might reach 3,800 treatment facilities within existing clinical infrastructure across the United States and Europe in a peak year.

Medical resistance

Convincing the medical establishment to accept these treatments may prove to be one of the most challenging challenges on the road to recovery. When Piros approached psychiatrists on his family’s behalf, they informed him that they would not be interested in alternative therapies unless there were decades of placebo-controlled trial evidence to support the medications’ efficacy. “These were young doctors who were up to speed on the most recent clinical trials and research material. It will take a long time before complete acceptance can be achieved.” Although Cowen expects that currently available depression medications in the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) class will continue to be the first line of treatment, its analysts wrote in a recent report that surveys and interviews with doctors have revealed that approximately 30% of patients are resistant to these medications and that as many as one in every four patients may be considered for new treatment alternatives as a result of these findings.

The executives in the area are well aware of the past, and they anticipate that despite seven decades of study into the use of psychedelics, culminating in the most recent, more rigorous studies, there will still be opposition.

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“There are those who have been out in the wilderness, metaphorically speaking, for the past decade, including large academic organizations that have been doing study.

“How do you engage veterans groups that are outraged by the reality that 22 veterans commit suicide every day, and that more veterans die by suicide each year than have died in all conflicts since 9/11?

As a CEO and business owner, I’m not a medical specialist or researcher; nevertheless, I’m someone who is accustomed to seeing things through to completion.” Angermayer recalls that after his first psychedelic experience, the first thing that came to him was that he needed to contact his parents and tell them how much he cherished them.

We’re still a few years away.

In case of suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of other options.

“The Keynote Podcast” gives you a front-row ticket to CNBC Events by allowing you to hear directly from the visionary CEOs, inventors, leaders, and influencers who will be hitting the stage. Now is the time to listen, no matter how you obtain podcasts.

Could the Embrace of Psychedelics Lead to a Mental-Health Revolution?

“Can you tell me what you thought was significant about the dollhouse?” Teodori asked me this question during our post-trip phone chat. Even though I was still a little queasy as we Zoomed (the effect faded off by the next day), something clicked in my brain, and it was as if a light bulb went out. “I believe. “I guess I was recalling what it was like to be creative when I wasn’t smoking,” I explained to her afterwards. “When there was no pressure and I could just perform,” says the musician.

According to Beynon, the idea is to take advantage of the neuroplastic state that lasts around one week following dosage.

This meant, for me, finding methods to reconnect with my childhood feeling of wonder at dollhouses and other miniatures.

Even while my ketamine experiences were enlightening and sometimes profound, they did not alter some nerve-wracking aspects of life, such as the fact that I write for a career and, as a result, must meet strict deadlines in order to pay my expenses.

As Benjamin Brody, M.D., assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City and chief of the Division of Inpatient Psychiatry at the university hospital, which is where ketamine infusions are typically administered, points out, “There’s a huge mental-health crisis happening parallel to, and in response to, this pandemic.” “There are individuals who are mourning, people who have lost their jobs, people who feel detached, people whose lives have been upended.

  • ” When you consider that demand for treatment is increasing “across the board,” as Brody points out, it isn’t surprising that psychiatrists like Amanda Itzkoff have seen a significant increase in queries for ketamine therapy.
  • When it comes to being laid off and not knowing how you’re going to pay your rent, ketamine won’t help.
  • There is no relief from external demands.
  • The woman was a successful attorney and mother of two children.

As she continues, “this may be focused toward re-establishing people’s economic independence.”

‘Psychedelics renaissance’: new wave of research puts hallucinogenics forward to treat mental health

Michael Raymond found himself sitting in a lonely hideaway in the Peruvian Andes, sipping bitter tea, out of despair when he found himself in this situation. Raymond had reached a breaking point and needed to vent. Over the course of his 16-year career as an electrical engineer in high-security environments for the Australian air force, he had dealt with near-death experiences as well as accidents, casualties, and “the aftermath of human remains.” Michael Raymond, a former member of the Australian air force, traveled to South America to undergo psychedelic-assisted therapy.

  1. “I couldn’t go on like this.” Raymond was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression after being medically retired from the military.
  2. Theayahuascatea, which contains the hallucinogenic ingredient N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), and the San Pedro cactus had been his final recourse, and he had no intention of stopping.
  3. However, this is changing.
  4. It has also resulted in an increase in the number of people who, frustrated by pharmaceuticals that don’t work, turn to illegal narcotics.
  5. However, clinical trials are also being conducted to investigate the therapeutic potential of illicit drugs such as MDMA, DMT, and psilocybin, the main element in magic mushrooms.
  6. Martin Williams, executive director of Psychedelic Research in ScienceMedicine, after decades of being associated with “career suicide.” Clinical trials are currently being conducted to investigate the therapeutic potential of illicit drugs such as the active component in magic mushrooms.
  7. Approximately 40 patients with terminal illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and motor neurone disease are participating in the experiment, which will continue until 2023.
  8. It comes as a result of successful US research of the medicine in individuals suffering from anxiety and sadness as a result of a life-threatening malignancy.
  9. A comparable experiment including LSD also revealed favorable results.
  10. “Psychedelics.

Brain chemistry

Michael Raymond found himself sitting in a lonely hideaway in the Peruvian Andes, sipping bitter tea, out of despair when he found himself in this position. Raymond had reached a breaking point and needed to vent out. Over the course of his 16-year career as an electrical engineer in high-security circumstances with the Australian air force, he had dealt with near-death experiences as well as accidents, casualties, and “the aftermath of human remains.” Psychedelic-assisted treatment was the reason for Michael Raymond’s trip to South America.

  • “At one point, I was contemplating suicide,” he admits.
  • He was prescribed antidepressants and underwent psychotherapy, but neither of these treatments proved effective.
  • Since their introduction into the public consciousness in the 1950s and 1960s, psychedelics have undergone many decades of prohibition, which was precipitated in part by a backlash against the hippie counterculture.
  • New study has focused on hallucinogenic substances as prospective treatment options for mental disorders, bringing the field back into the spotlight once more.
  • Self-treating mental health disorders with psychedelics is fraught with danger, and experts are keen to point out the pitfalls.
  • These include MDMA, DMT, and psilocybin, the main element in magic mushrooms.
  • Martin Williams asserts that the tide has finally shifted after decades of being connected with “career suicide.” Clinical studies are being conducted to investigate the potential therapeutic applications of illicit drugs such as the active component in magic mushrooms.
  • A total of 40 patients with terminal illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and motor neurone disease are taking part in the experiment, which will last until 2023.
  • In the United States, the medicine has shown promise in patients with anxiety and despair who are also suffering from terminal cancer.
  • When LSD was used in a comparable study, the results were likewise favorable.
  • “Psychedelics.

Regulatory requirements

Michael Raymond found himself sitting in a lonely hideaway in the Peruvian Andes, sipping bitter tea, out of desperation. Raymond had reached his limit. His 16-year career as an electrical engineer in high-security settings with the Australian air force had seen him deal with near-death experiences, accidents, casualties, and “the aftermath of human remains.” Michael Raymond, a former member of the Australian air force, traveled to South America to undergo psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. “I was contemplating suicide at one point,” he admits.

  1. He was prescribed antidepressants and underwent psychotherapy, but neither of these treatments were successful.
  2. Since their introduction into the public consciousness in the 1950s and 1960s, psychedelics have undergone many decades of prohibition, which was precipitated in part by a backlash against the hippie counterculture.
  3. A fresh wave of study has focused on hallucinogenic substances as potential treatments for mental disorders.
  4. Experts are eager to point out the dangers of using psychedelics to treat mental health disorders on one’s own.
  5. The executive director of Psychedelic Research in Science and Medicine, Dr.

Featured image courtesy of Westend61 GmbH/Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo The clinical experiment, which is being conducted at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne by Williams, who is also a research fellow at Monash University, is investigating the use of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy to treat anxiety and depression in patients who are terminally ill.

They are getting either one or two 25-milligram doses of psilocybin in combination with their treatment.

Participants “overwhelmingly attributed positive life changes to the psilocybin-assisted therapy experience and ranked it among the most personally important and spiritually significant events of their lives,” according to a follow-up study conducted four and a half years later.

According to Williams, data shows that typical medication therapies with antidepressants such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are not very useful for end-of-life anxiety and despair.

appear to offer a major improvement over conventional therapy, regardless of the mechanisms through which they work.” Meanwhile, at St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, another clinical experiment employing psilocybin is being conducted to see whether the molecule may be used to treat methamphetamine addiction.

Probing the Future of Psychedelics for Mental Health – EMBS

This issue of IEEE PULSE has a feature for July/August 2021. Posted on the 16th of August, 2021 A growing body of research shows that psychedelics may be beneficial in the treatment of a variety of neuropsychiatric diseases for which there are presently few effective therapy alternatives. During the virtual Psychedelic Therapeutics and Drug Development Conference, which took place on May 4–6, 2021, experts from academia and industry discussed a number of problems linked to the development and acceptance of psychedelic pharmaceuticals for a variety of illnesses.

Psychedelic-assisted therapy for cancer patients

As many as 30 percent to 40% of cancer patients suffer from psychological problems such as significant depression and anxiety, and up to 25% of patients with advanced disease have existential anguish, according to recent research. In the current state of affairs, the pharmacological and psychosocial treatments available to cancer patients are ineffective. However, preliminary research by Stephen Ross, M.D., associate director of the Langone Health Center for Psychedelic Medicine at New York University and colleagues suggests that psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy may be an effective new treatment option for these patients.

  1. The study was conducted in 2016 and included 29 participants.
  2. ©ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/PIXEL PIG.
  3. “Psilocybin is a rapidly acting anti-anxiolytic drug and antidepressant.” In the future, phase IIb/IIIc multicenter studies in this area should be conducted to examine everything from terminal cancer to early detection to chronic cancers, according to the researchers.
  4. His conclusion: “We need larger trials and we need to optimize the design.” “We also need to look at potential mechanisms of action,” says the researcher.
  5. In order to make a drug effective, it must be administered to as many patients as possible.
  6. Part of the general apprehension about experimenting with novel medicines to treat psychological discomfort in cancer patients has stemmed from concerns about probable interactions between these drugs and cancer-related therapies.
  7. Psychedelic business Albert Labs’ chief medical officer, Malcolm Barrett-Johnson, M.D., explained that the company is experimenting with various medicines, including immunotherapy, in the future.
  8. “What you’re doing with real world evidence is basically looking at patients in the situation in which they’re being treated routinely,” Barratt-Johnson explained.

Albert Labs expects to begin collecting data from cancer patients treated with psilocybin by the end of the year and to publish preliminary results within three to four months after starting the study, according to the company.

Personalized DMT-assisted treatment for addiction

Entheon Biomedical is a biotech business that is focused on the development of tailored N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT)-assisted therapy for substance abuse and dependence. Entheon CEO Timothy Ko stated, “Approximately 21.2 million Americans suffer from some type of substance use disorder, and only around one in every ten of those individuals receives any form of adequate treatment.” It is believed that rather than being solely habitual, the source of these difficulties is psychological and emotional in character.

  • DMT has been used in traditional medicine for millennia, most notably in the form of ayahuasca, and it is found in small amounts in the human body.
  • The proposed treatment procedure by Entheon is divided into three steps.
  • Entheon recently purchased HaluGen Life Sciences, which has developed and marketed a prescreening test for genetic markers that predict a person’s sensitivity to hallucinogenic medicines as well as the possibility of adverse effects.
  • The third step is integration, which involves offering psychotherapy assistance to individuals who have gained new views, belief systems, and behaviors as a result of psychedelic therapy.
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Integrating technology with psychedelic-assisted therapy

At the University of Southern California’s Virtual Reality Lab, Albert Rizzo, Ph.D., director of the Medical Virtual Reality Lab, discussed the potential of combining psychedelic-assisted therapy with virtual reality (VR) therapy, which is already being used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even while there is a growing body of research indicating that both procedures are beneficial, he pointed out that doing so does not necessarily guarantee that combining them would have an additive influence on the outcome.

  1. “Our model suggests that making strategic decisions at important junctures may be beneficial.” Using the example of an apprehensive patient at the beginning of a psychedelic-assisted therapy appointment, the author proposed that a relaxing virtual reality experience would be beneficial.
  2. He went on to say that virtual reality with virtual patients might potentially be utilized to instruct therapists on how to provide psychedelic treatment to their patients.
  3. “A lot of therapists are talking about this time period after psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and before the patient is able to come back into the office and that they have this black box of care that they don’t like,” said Kelsey Ramsden, CEO of MINDCURE.
  4. Patients can benefit from an artificial intelligence-driven data analysis tool that analyzes their progress following a psychedelic-assisted treatment session and guides them toward protocols that may be beneficial, such as breathing exercises or meditation.
  5. “It’s almost like a Netflix for psychedelic treatment,” Ramsden remarked of the service.

“They have a dashboard that allows them to keep track of all of the people that are under their supervision,” Ramsden explained. According to Ramsden, those who aren’t performing as well as they should are put to the top of the list, and they are able to reach out to them and give them support.

Developing new psychedelics

Dr. Albert Rizzo, Ph.D., director of the Medical Virtual Reality Lab at the University of Southern California, spoke about the potential of combining psychedelic-assisted therapy with virtual reality (VR) therapy, which is already being used to treat a variety of mental health conditions, including phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder, at the conference (PTSD). Even if there is a growing body of research indicating that both procedures are successful, he pointed out that doing so does not necessarily guarantee that combining them would have an additive influence on the results.

Our model suggests that strategic movements at important junctures might be beneficial.

Psychedelic-assisted therapy can be customized around five core elements of virtual reality, each of which exists on a continuum: activity level (from more physically active to less passive), content (from more realistic to more surrealistic), sensory predominance (from mostly visual to multisensory, possibly including sound, olfaction, touch), interpersonal engagement (from more socially oriented to more private), and psychic activation (more activating to more calming).

  • It was pointed out to him that using virtual reality to instruct therapists on how to deliver psychedelic treatment may be a useful tool in this regard.
  • “A lot of therapists are talking about this time period after psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy and before the patient is able to come back into the office and that they have this black box of care that they don’t like,” said Kelsey Ramsden, CEO of MINDCURE.
  • After a psychedelic-assisted treatment session, patients can use an artificial intelligence-driven data analysis tool to evaluate their progress.
  • ISTRYM provides a database of current protocols for psychedelic-assisted therapy, which may be accessed by practitioners who are interested in this type of therapy.

As Ramsden explained, “They have a dashboard that allows them to see all of the individuals that are under their care.” According to Ramsden, those who aren’t performing as well as they should are put to the top of the list, and staff members are able to reach out to them and give support.

Policy considerations

A new multisite phase 3 clinical trial found that MDMA-assisted therapy was effective in treating symptoms of severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Rick Doblin, Ph.D., founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), discussed the findings of the trial. “The fact that we observed no variation from site to site indicates that the training program is effective; we can scale this,” Doblin explained. Following that, he said, the FDA will have to answer questions about implementation, such as how the drug will be rescheduled by the Drug Enforcement Administration, whether insurers will cover psychedelics, and whether the agency will require patients to register or impose a lifetime limit on the number of times a person can receive MDMA-assisted therapy.

The need of teaching a varied set of practitioners in psychedelic-assisted therapy was emphasized, and he argued that culturally competent care is an essential criterion for training therapists was stressed by him.

In his words, “If we introduce a new solution into an unfair system, we run the danger of widening the health inequities even more.” In his words, “If folks coming into the area are not thinking about actively lowering that gap—and, ideally, eliminating that gap—then even the most well-intentioned activities will unavoidably contribute to those inequities.”

Future of psychedelics

The conference’s major subjects were divided into two categories: For the first time, psychoactive substances are beginning to be recognized and appreciated for their potential as a therapeutic tool. However, it will require a significant amount of effort to create new medications, demonstrate their usefulness, and integrate psychedelics into mainstream health care. A large amount of money must be raised, and many regulatory frameworks must be put in place before this revolution can take place on a large scale, says Henri Sant-Cassia, founding partner of the Conscious Fund, which invests in early-stage ventures in psychedelic medicine.

The road ahead will be paved with a lot of failures, plenty of trial and error, and a lot of grief.

References

  1. A randomized controlled trial conducted on patients with life-threatening cancer found rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression. S. Ross et al., “Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: a randomized controlled trial,” The Journal of Psychopharmacol., vol. 30, no. 12, pp. 1165–1180, 2016
  2. S. Ross et al., “Acute and sustained reductions in loss of meaning and suicidal ideation following psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for psychiatric and existential distress in cancer patients,” ACS Pharmacol. Translational Sci., vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 553–562, 2021
  3. R. Carhart-H Nature Medicine, 2021
  4. M. T. Williams, S. Reed, and R. Aggarwal, “Culturally informed research design issues in a study for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for posttraumatic stress disorder,” J. Psychedelic Studies, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 40–50, 2019
  5. M. T. Williams, S. Reed, and R. Aggarwal, “Culturally informed research design issues in a study for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy

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