The October 2023 HLTH Conference in Las Vegas brought together a panel of experts to discuss the pressing questions about psychedelics in our healthcare system. The eclectic group, including Dr. Lynn Marie Morski of the Psychedelic Medicine Association, Marcus Capone of TARA Mind, Dr. Noah Craft of People Science, Sherry Rais of Enthea, and journalist Taylor Majewski, shared insights on how psychedelics are shaping the future of mental health.
Framing the Discussion:
With the growing acceptance of psychedelics in therapeutic settings, there's a pressing need to understand how they fit into our healthcare system. While Michael Pollan's works have already brought psychedelics into the mainstream conversation, concerns about potential abuse and the need for preventative care with psychedelics were some of the topics underlined.
Dr. Lynn Marie Morski: Educating the Clinicians
Targeting clinicians as her primary audience, Dr. Morski emphasizes correcting misinformation about addiction. Contrary to popular belief, psychedelics can be anti-addictive. By fusing data with anecdotes, she underscores the regulated model in clinical trials. With an eye on the future, the creation of the Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies and its collaboration with APA ensures that there's a comprehensive directory of knowledgeable doctors. Current research also extends to using DMT for stroke recovery, treatment for cluster headaches, migraines, and chronic pain.
Marcus Capone: A Personal Journey to Policy
From personal struggle to advocacy, Marcus Capone's journey underscores the life-saving potential of psychedelics. As the co-founder of TARA Mind, he emphasizes storytelling and data collection to convince payers of the financial efficacy of psychedelics. His approach to lawmakers is clear - focus on clinically guided access, not decriminalization. Capone also draws attention to the individualized nature of MDMA treatments and the need to address root causes of mental issues rather than just symptoms.
Dr. Noah Craft: A Shift from Pharma to People
Dr. Craft's People Science starts with individuals, not pharmaceuticals. Their goal? Education. Through RCTs and story-backed data, they aim to change the narrative. Currently, the FDA's limited perspective isn't equipped to handle the nuances of psychedelic therapy – like the importance of music during sessions. Dr. Craft emphasizes the potential of ketamine and the importance of therapy itself, not just the drug. There's also a compelling case for using psychedelics during life transitions, even if they don't fit within DSM diagnoses.
Sherry Rais: Bridging Global Health and Psychedelics
With a decade of poverty reduction work in high conflict zones, Sherry Rais understands the profound connection between mental health and socio-economic well-being. She founded the Boston Psychedelic Research Group with an aim to bring effective mental health solutions to these areas. Emphasizing education, Rais uses FDA-approved ketamine as a starting point to introduce the concept to a wider audience. Her insights into the non-clinical benefits of psychedelics, such as group sessions in nature, and the potential for employer-driven psychedelic therapies for productivity and creativity provide a fresh perspective.
The HLTH panel discussion serves as a reminder that while the potential of psychedelics is vast, it's crucial to tread with caution. The emphasis on education, data-backed storytelling, and clinical guidance is a step in the right direction. However, it's equally important to acknowledge potential pitfalls and ensure the safe and responsible implementation of these powerful tools in our healthcare system.
Stay tuned for the Fempower Health Podcast series on psychedelics coming in early 2024. Subscribe to be alerted!
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