Psychopharmacology Expert Answers Your Questions About Psychedelics

October 6, 2020 14:06:35

If you asked 100 individuals about psychedelics, chances are that you will receive 100 different opinions on the subject, most of them based on what the person has heard about these substances, their own personal experiences decades ago or even what the person has seen in sensationalized movies on the subject. So, where does one turn for unbiased and reliable information about psychedelics? While talking to an online media outlet recently, Dr. Domenick J. Sporteli, a specialist in psychopharmacology and human behavior, as well as a board-certified neurologist and psychiatrist, answered some of the most nagging questions about psychedelics. We captured the excerpts of that discussion.

Is there ample evidence in support of psychedelic therapy?

While MDMA, psilocybin, ketamine, DMT, LSD, and peyote are all categorized as psychedelics, each one of them has a different mechanism through which it works and they each induce different experiential effects.

Dr. Sporteli is cautiously optimistic regarding the potential of psychedelics in treating several mental health conditions, but he is also worried that the current legal and bureaucratic roadblocks may make it difficult for contemporary scientists to conduct rigorous research about the therapeutic and other effects of these substances.

However, on the strength of the research that was done decades ago, the psychopharmacologist is hopeful that psychedelics will cement their place in mental health treatment.

Which specific kinds of depression are psychedelics capable of treating?

According to Dr. Sporteli, and his view is supported by data released by the National Institute for Health (“NIH”), the vast majority of mental health conditions become evident when one is aged 11-24 years, but more than half of those cases remain undiagnosed until the individual exhibits a secondary mental illness.

Available data and research shows that as a group, psychedelics have generally shown potential in the treatment of mood disorders, addictive tendencies, suicidal ideation, anxiety and for improving personal insight on different aspects of life.

Do psychedelics target the root cause or they act on symptoms?

Dr. Sporteli explains that according to the work so far done by different researchers, psychedelics resemble serotonin at their most basic chemical structure. This means that when psychedelic drugs are administered, the patient undergoes a fundamental transformation in the way they look at the world, and this points to their ability to address the problem from its root. This is a significant shift from the current pharmacological approach of seeking symptom relief.

Is the stigma directed at psychedelics deserved?

The leading neurologist and psychiatrist asserts that psychedelics have been misclassified and stigmatized in the past, but these realities shouldn’t blind society into thinking that there are no real dangers associated with the illicit or recreational use of psychedelic drugs.

He therefore recommends that psychedelics should only be administered in a highly regulated clinical setting by experienced professionals. Otherwise, adverse events can occur and give further ground for the propagation of the stigma that these substances are struggling to shake off. Experts say entities like Rritual Mushrooms Inc. are hoping that the current wave of public interest in psychedelics and functional mushrooms triggers a revival that brings to light the full benefits of these substances.

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