The Psychedelics Community: 5 Groups Sharing and Funding Research

FEATURED
May 2, 2022

Nue Life

Nue Life
12 MIN READ

Top points

  • Psychedelic therapy, including ketamine therapy, is fast becoming the future of mental health care with research showing substantive results.
  • As the research continues and psychedelics become less stigmatized, many are looking to invest in psychedelics as therapeutics.
  • Groundbreaking research is occurring across the globe, by organizations including Johns Hopkins University, The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), The Imperial College in London, and MDMA Research in Israel.  

In the past few decades, researchers have found that ketamine therapy has been dramatically effective in treating depression and other mental illnesses.

One study found that 64% of patients with treatment-resistant depression saw improvements in their symptoms within 24 hours of their first dose.

Ketamine has been around for over 50 years, but it wasn’t until more recently that we began to discover its antidepressant effects. This discovery is thanks to those who poured hours of work and research into ketamine for depression.

Today, we will look at some of the top research groups when it comes to ketamine and depression. Their research is changing the world, and it’s changing how we look at mental health treatment.

What Are Psychedelics?

Psychedelics are serotonergic hallucinogens. They are psychoactive substances in nature, producing alterations in perceptions and affecting your brain for a short period.

These substances will cause a person to have a hallucination. These hallucinations exist in quite a range. Some hallucinations only alter your perception in a small way, causing blurry vision, dizziness, and the like. Other substances produce dramatic hallucinations that distinctly alter a person’s perception of reality.

Psychedelics are considered to be safe for your body when used in a medical context. They generally do not lead to dependence in clinical settings, and, when taken in the right context and dosage, they can have a very positive effect on the mind and brain.

They have been around even longer than humans, with some psychedelics occurring naturally in the form of psilocybin mushrooms and the peyote cactus. They are used in various spiritual rituals in many cultures, so they have great cultural significance. They have also been used to treat mood disorders in native cultures for hundreds of years.

Why Are Psychedelics Stocks on the Rise?

Psychedelics are dramatically growing in popularity, and many startups are beginning to produce psychedelics, with investors knocking at their doors. But why is that?

Well, psychedelics are becoming less and less stigmatized by the day, and their positive effect on mental health is undeniable. People want to get involved.

The big spark that prompted this spike in stocks was the FDA approval of ketamine. Ketamine has been approved by the FDA for use in anesthesia for decades, but it wasn’t until 2019 that a form of ketamine called esketamine was approved by the FDA to treat treatment-resistant depression.

But the real reason these companies see an increase in their stock value is because psychedelic treatment works. This form of therapy is effective for mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.

Is Ketamine Therapy the Future of Mental Health?

As the scientific community has continued to study ketamine, our perceptions of mental health have shifted. Previously, the general understanding about depression and other mental illnesses was that they had to do with a neurotransmitter called serotonin.

Serotonin was thought to be associated with positive moods, and by increasing serotonin, it was believed you could improve a person’s mood.

But ketamine shed light on a different understanding of depression.

Ketamine doesn’t target serotonin. Rather, it targets glutamate, which is a much more prominent neurotransmitter in the brain.

By producing a surge of glutamate, ketamine improves the brain’s neuroplasticity. This allows the brain to form new neural connections and pathways, giving your brain the chance to establish positive new thought patterns.

Ketamine shifted the focus from a specific neurotransmitter to neuroplasticity in general. That’s why it’s the future of mental health. It is incredibly effective at increasing neuroplasticity and, thus, is much more effective than traditional antidepressants.

Not only that, but the effects of ketamine are rapid. While antidepressants take several weeks to take effect, ketamine often improves symptoms within 24 hours of the first dose.

What Are the Top Psychedelic Research Groups?

The following psychedelic research groups are currently at the top of their field. These psychedelic organizations contribute a great deal to furthering our understanding of psychedelic drugs and mental health. Their researchers are changing how we view mental health treatment, and thereby changing the courses of many lives.  

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)

MAPS is a non-profit research and educational organization that was founded in 1986. Their aim is specifically to research psychedelics and marijuana, and their hope is that these helpful drugs will be safely and legally available for beneficial uses and mental healing.

One of the more prominent departments in this association is the MAPS Public Benefit Corporation. Currently, they are conducting studies on how MDMA, also known as ecstasy, could be helpful in the treatment of PTSD.

MAPS has also undertaken the Zendo Project, which attempts to provide psychedelic peer support to people undergoing psychedelic experiences. The Zendo Project aims to make psychedelic experiences safe for all those who participate in them.

In addition, MAPS has put in a lot of work to make information about ketamine readily available. Although their focus is primarily on psychedelics other than ketamine, MAPS recognizes the effectiveness of ketamine and has published a review of ketamine papers that expounds upon the effectiveness and importance of ketamine in mental health treatment.

MDMA Research in Israel

The country of Israel has also been of consequential importance in furthering psychedelic research. Israel has worked in conjunction with MAPS to conduct phase two clinical trials for MDMA as a treatment for PTSD.

The phase three clinical trials are now underway, and the results are looking promising. The Israeli study has made clear that psychedelics, specifically MDMA, can have an incredibly positive impact on patients struggling with PTSD.  

The research being conducted in Israel is proving resources that will expand the horizons of psychedelic treatment. Up until this point, depression has been the main focus, but because of this work, we have more data on the range of possibilities that psychedelics really have.

Johns Hopkins Medicine and Psychedelic Research

Johns Hopkins University is also one of the most important groups producing research on the subject of psychedelic science. It has been deeply important to the industry for the past two decades.

Psychedelic research began and thrived in the 1950s and 1960s. Scientists were learning so much about the possibilities of this type of drug. But in the 1970s, the media released some unfavorable coverage about psychedelics and the culture was primed to stigmatize them due to their popularity for recreational use. This ultimately resulted in strict regulations on psychedelics, which effectively put a stop to research.

However, in the year 2000, Johns Hopkins became the first research group to gain approval to research psychedelics in healthy, psychedelic-naive volunteers. This research resulted in a publication in 2006 about the safety of psilocybin and its positive effects. This publication was of monumental importance, and it set in motion a revival of research on the subject.

Since then, Johns Hopkins has continued to produce important research in the field, including unique insights into how psilocybin specifically affects the human brain. It’s the leading psychedelic research institution in the US and is among the top psychedelic research groups worldwide.

Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research

The Imperial College in London has also contributed a vast amount of meaningful work in the field. They’ve produced many studies and clinical trials, but their most significant was a clinical trial on psilocybin as a treatment for depression. This particular clinical trial kickstarted a global move towards making psilocybin a licensed treatment for depression.

They have plans to establish a new research clinic on the ground. The clinic would not only collect more research about psychedelic medicine, but it would also act as a prototype for psychedelic care clinics going forward.

One of the main contributions the Imperial College made to the field was with LSD. They were the first to investigate the effects that LSD had on the brain with modern brain imaging techniques.

The Centre has recently begun a clinical trial that will directly compare psilocybin to traditional antidepressant medications. Separate studies have shown that psychedelics are more effective than traditional antidepressants, but few studies exist that compare the two side by side, making this work incredibly important.

They are also soon to begin a study on psilocybin as a treatment for anorexia, further broadening the scope of possibility for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

Are Psychedelics Becoming More Mainstream?

The fact is, due to all of the research, the reputations of psychedelics are on the rise.

The evidence is becoming undeniable: these treatments are incredibly effective for depression and other illnesses that affect the brain.

The main hurdle now to greater access is public perception and the legislation surrounding psychedelics. Because of the poor perception of psychedelics in the 70s and the following decades, psychedelics have been criminalized. Strict laws have been placed around them, despite being generally safe.

The scientific evidence is helping to reduce the stigma surrounding these treatments, and soon, the legislation will follow, making this revolutionary treatment available to all the people who deserve healing from the mental health conditions that ail them.  

Which Psychedelic Drugs Are FDA-Approved?

Unfortunately, there is still a long road ahead for the psychedelic community when it comes to FDA approval. There are only a few drugs that the FDA has approved.

MDMA and psilocybin have been given FDA approval to move forward with clinical trials. They are not FDA-approved for mental health treatment, but scientists are allowed to continue researching these two psychedelics. MDMA, in particular, has shown promise, and it is anticipated that it might become FDA-approved in 2023.

The only psychedelic that is FDA-approved is ketamine in the form of eskatime. Ketamine has been approved since the 70s for use in anesthesia. It has been commonly used for that application ever since then. Ketamine is also approved for use in pain management in conjunction with other pain killers.

In 2019, esketamine became the first psychedelic approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of treatment-resistant depression.

Is Psychedelic Therapy Safe?

Psychedelic therapy is considered to be quite safe for use in a medical context. Psychedelics might not be safe for use in recreational contexts when doses and sterility are not controlled.

Much of the stigma surrounding psychedelics says that they will cause health problems later down the line. But that simply is not the case.

One study evaluated the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The survey was conducted on over 135,000 people, and the study found no association between the use of psychedelics and negative mental health outcomes. In fact, people who had used psychedelics were less likely to require mental health treatment in their lives.

So all the evidence would suggest that psychedelic therapy is perfectly safe for use and can actually benefit your mental well-being.

There are some exceptions, however, as with any medication or drug. People who have a family history of severe brain disorders, like schizophrenia, may be at higher risk of having a “bad trip.” Bad trips can cause brief changes in behavior such as paranoia, but this is generally not very common.

What Are the Benefits of Psychedelic Therapy?

The benefit of psychedelic therapy has two sides. On the first side are the physical and mental benefits. Psychedelic therapy like ketamine can biologically improve your brain’s neuroplasticity. This can help your brain establish new neural pathways that can help produce positive mental health outcomes and help relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses.

This means that psychedelic therapy can help treat the mood disorder that ails you, and it can do it quickly. One of the greatest benefits of this treatment is that it acts remarkably fast. Again, 64% of patients see improvements in their depression symptoms within 24 hours of their first dose of ketamine.

Psychedelic therapy is incredibly effective, and it could change the course of your mental health.

On the second side is the spiritual benefit. Often, the psychedelic experience brought about by these treatments can open your eyes to new truths about yourself and your life. So psychedelics could provide your brain the ability to form positive thought patterns, and it could provide that new positive thought pattern in the forms of insights about your life.

Summary

The psychedelic community has made much headway over the past couple of decades in legitimizing psychedelics for mental health treatment. The groups mentioned above have made research readily available, and they are working to make this treatment accessible to the people who need it.

Thanks to groups like these, in the coming years, psychedelic treatment for mental illnesses will become widespread, and we could make a serious dent in the mental health crisis our world is facing.

Treatment at Nue Life

Nue Life believes in holistic treatment. We offer at-home ketamine therapy programs that address multiple aspects of wellness. What happens after your ketamine experience is equally as important as the experience itself. We want to ensure you have meaningful takeaways from your experiences and help you establish positive new neural pathways.

That’s why we provide one-on-one health coaching and integration group sessions with each of our programs. We’re here to help map out the mind and body connections in your brain and help you discover the real insights that lead to real relief.

Sources

Antidepressant Efficacy of Ketamine in Treatment-Resistant Major Depression: A Two-Site Randomized Controlled Trial | National Institutes of Health

Johns Hopkins Psychedelic Research | Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research

Ketamine: A Transformational Catalyst | Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies – MAPS

Psychedelics | Pharmacological Reviews

Psychedelic Therapy Hits Another Milestone, But Caution Urged | Psychiatric News

Research groups | Imperial College London

Scientists say psychedelic drugs like LSD are much less harmful than alcohol | PsyPost

Join the Beckley Academy
Mailing List

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Have you made up your mind to change your mind?

Need further advice?

Speak with our Welcome team.

Get Started
Begin your journey with us.
Sign up to the Nue Life newsletter.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
© 2024 NueCo Holdings, P.B.C. All Rights Reserved Reserved

NueCo Holdings, P.B.C. is a technology platform that provides services to affiliated independently owned and operated medical practices, and does not own, direct, or control the medical professionals providing the standard of care to their patients.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.