Is Crowdfunding the Solution to Growing Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy?
Crowdfunding Psychedelic Research
The medical benefits of psychedelic drugs have been proven repeatedly, so why hasn’t there been more funding funneled into its research and development? The short answer is that big pharmaceutical companies can’t patent and reap profit from them.
Of course, there is also the stigma behind illegal drugs and their scheduling, but according to scientists leading the charge in research behind drugs like MDMA, LSD and Psilocybin, funding is the biggest hindrance.
This has led research groups like the Beckley Foundation and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, or MAPS, to look to crowdfunding campaigns for money. These groups have found clinical success in the past and haven’t had a lot of trouble getting government permission to test scheduled drugs, they just need resources.
That’s why there’s Fund a mental (health revolution). It’s a crowdsourcing campaign designed to garner money to donate to these organizations that have had success with treating mental health issues like PTSD, addiction and end-of-life anxiety, by using psychedelic drugs paired with intensive psychotherapy. The campaign was started by Rodrigo Niño, a man who, after taking the DMT-containing Ayahuasca, rid himself of severe anxiety upon discovering he had cancer.
Forbidden Fruits of Psychedelics
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies researches psychedelic drugs ranging from LSD, to Ibogaine and Ayahuasca. But their successful research treating PTSD with MDMA has gained them the most attention in scientific communities and the media. Repeated successful studies by MAPS has led them to try to expedite FDA approval by applying for breakthrough therapy status, potentially making MDMA available with a prescription by 2021.
Their success was described in a New York Times article saying, “patients reported a 56 percent decrease of severity of symptoms on average, one study found. By the end of the study, two-thirds no longer met the criteria for having PTSD.”
MAPS wants you to know that MDMA is not the same as “Ecstasy” or “molly,” and that their trials are carefully monitored in a controlled environment, while paired with intense psychotherapy.
There is clearly a cohesive community in this realm as MAPS works together often with The Beckley Foundation as well as NYU’s School of Medicine and other notable researchers like David Nutt. They have even started a week of talks and workshops called the Psychedelic Science Conference held in Oakland, joining members of the community from all over the world.
The Beckley Foundation
When Amanda Fielding discovered LSD in the 60s, she instantly understood the potential that the drug had for consciousness expansion, especially when it came to the creative process. Since then, the drug has been scheduled and vilified in the mainstream, but she knew that the best way to change that perception was to prove its utility through science.
One of the things that her foundation focuses on that is gaining in popularity and intrigue is micro-dosing. With the rise of nootropics and “biohacking,” many people, notably in the tech world, are looking for ways to increase cognitive function and mental performance, by way of psychotropic drugs and supplements. Micro-dosing involves taking a significantly diluted or small amount of a hallucinogenic drug, like LSD or Psilocybin, that does not make you trip. The effects can lead to higher levels of creativity, positive mood and an alert, awakened state. There is no scientific evidence of this, yet. Fielding hopes to change that.
We know that psychedelics can lead to awakened states of consciousness and have the power to heal. With the stigma slowly starting to lift in the mainstream, it seems that a push from the public could be what is needed to clear the final hurdles. Since the failure of the war on drugs, medical marijuana is rapidly being legalized or decriminalized in many states with numerous benefits clinically and fiscally. We could be on the verge of a revolution in decriminalization and sweeping changes in drug policy.
Ketamine Therapy Proves Powerful For Treatment-Resistant Depression
A powerful FDA-approved anesthetic drug once used mainly in operating rooms and on the battlefield is quickly gaining ground as one of the most promising therapies for treatment-resistant mental health conditions.
First discovered as an anesthetic in the 1950s, ketamine has been used in the treatment of a wide range of physical conditions, especially pain management. Starting in the early 1970s, doctors began to find that it can also be very effective in alleviating mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction. Today it is ever more frequently being studied and legally used as an off-label medication to manage conditions that are particularly resistant to treatment with conventional pharmaceuticals.
The latest in a series of recent studies has found that ketamine can quickly and dramatically decrease chronic and suicidal thoughts. Dr. Naveen Thomas is a psychiatrist who has been using ketamine in his practice for years.
“I and many of my colleagues have of course had tremendous success in using ketamine in people who are really suffering from depression. I’ve had a lot of success in treating people with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder,” Dr. Naveen said.
“And some of these folks have spent years and years doing absolutely the best they could using such a wide variety of the conventional treatments, be they various medication treatments, be they various forms of psychotherapy. We’ve seen really wonderful effects.”