Psychedelics are poised to be a solution to the global mental health crisis, and eventually, psychedelic therapy is likely to become an accessible treatment, so we should start planning now.
While clinical trials are progressing with positive results, it remains unclear how or if these results will translate into the real world, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start to prepare.
As it stands, health systems are unprepared to offer and meet the demand for psychedelic-assisted therapy once the regulations surrounding these drugs are inevitably changed.
What can we do now?
People will need adequate training before administering a high dose of a drug like psilocybin, but there is currently a lack of professionals trained to use psychedelics in line with the proposed medical model.
Although the debate surrounding the importance of psychotherapy continues amongst some, psychotherapy will likely be an essential feature of the psychedelic therapy model.
Some companies like Fluence and MAPS have begun training therapists, and Psychedelics Today will begin its therapist training course in 2023. Initiatives like these are great and will help facilitate the growing demand for therapists in the clinical trial space and later in the real world.
Standards must be in place if a person experiences an adverse event while undergoing psychedelic therapy – ensuring patients are safe and receive optimal care is imperative.
With stories of abuse in clinical trials involving psychedelics coming to light in recent months – appropriate structures should be in place where patients can report such abuse and receive the help they need.
We must also ensure that support networks are in place for people who have undergone a psychedelic experience. These experiences can be very challenging and tremendously impact a person’s well-being. It can be tough to make sense of an experience and get the benefit, so ensuring a person has a good support network is important.
What are we waiting for?
Some great initiatives are underway to help develop infrastructure for psychedelic therapy; that’s not to say we shouldn’t be doing more.
Anyone interested in the field of psychedelics is likely waiting to see how things pan out in Oregon once psychedelic therapy rolls out in 2023 – the first state to legalise psychedelic therapy.
The Oregon Health Authority has been tasked with overseeing the development of the necessary infrastructure in the State – many other regulatory bodies will learn from their successes and failures.