Can Psychedelics Be Used to Heal Moral Injuries?

July 21, 2021 14:05:39

Moral injury is the social, behavioral, psychological and spiritual distress that occurs in response to witnessing a behavior or acting in a way that doesn’t align with an individual’s moral beliefs and values. Researchers assert that moral injuries are not psychiatric diagnoses but may manifest as self-handicapping and avoidant behaviors, thoughts of systemic failures and personal regret, sadness, disgust, anger, shame and guilt.

These injuries have been linked to considerable impairment in occupational, health and relational functioning and are considered to be less normative and more syndromal moral pain.

PTSD and moral injuries often co-exist, but researchers note that while the latter is rooted in betrayal, complicity and perpetration, and is characterized by moral emotions, post-traumatic stress disorder is primarily characterized by and rooted in fear-based symptoms and conceptualizations.

People who struggle with moral injury require that their moral violations be identified and acknowledged, instead of undergoing cognitive restructuring, as a way to promote healing.

Research that was recently published in the “Journal of Traumatic Stress” also found that incorporating community healing ceremonies into standard treatments for veterans allowed them to share their testimonies on their moral injuries with the public, which helped to considerably improve psychological functioning, personal growth, spiritual struggles and self-compassion as well as reduce depression.

This discovery offers preliminary evidence of the healing potential of community for moral injury. Psychedelics can be introduced during this healing stage as they may be useful in creating the opportunity for people to connect with the innate sense of community that is in every one of us.

Psychedelic substances such as ketamine, which is a dissociative psychedelic; MDMA, which is an empathogen; and classic psychedelics such as ayahuasca, LSD and psilocybin may offer the content and context required to treat moral injuries.

Psychedelics are known to possess the ability to allow individuals to access their sensations, perceptions, thoughts and feelings, which may have been blocked by the presence of ego. In addition to this, these substances also produce neuromodular and neural effects in the brain, which help relax any rigid feeling or thinking patterns, enabling an individual to be more psychologically flexible.

Evidence from various studies also shows that classic psychedelics such as psilocybin frequently prompt their users to confront traumatic materials or memories. Classic psychedelics also bring about ego-dissolution and mystical experiences, which may comprise feelings of boundlessness, sacredness or being eternal. This may nurture a sense of purpose or self, which may have been destroyed following a moral injury.

It isn’t surprising that many psychedelics companies, including XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT), are working to formulate effective psychedelic medicines that not only relieve the symptoms of mental health conditions but also get to the root of the problem (such as moral injury or past trauma) and address the root cause in order to produce lasting results from the treatment.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (CSE: XPHY) (OTCQB: XPHYF) (FSE: 4XT) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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