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Article: The Psychedelic Educators Network

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As psychedelics continue to enter the mainstream for medical and legal recreational use, education about these substances will become increasingly important for students going into a variety of fields from psychology and social work, to business and law. Forward-thinking educators at many universities have anticipated this need for psychedelic education and have begun to independently create courses in their various departments to fill this gap. The Psychedelic Educators Network is a newly formed international network of professors and instructors in higher education who are currently teaching or planning to teach undergraduate or graduate-level courses on the topic of psychedelics at their affiliated college or university.

The purpose of the Psychedelic Educators Network is to share resources, support, and ideas and to work together to further the mission of psychedelic education in higher ed. The goal is to help ensure common learning objectives for psychedelic education, with an emphasis on balanced, even-tempered, critical education of psychedelic history, science, ethics, policy and all other disciplines associated. In addition, the group hopes to foster opportunities for participants to engage in psychedelic conferences and events, create pathways for students interested in opportunities in research, service, policy and more, provide public educational resources, foster interdisciplinary research and teaching opportunities, and establish curriculum standards and best practices in psychedelic education.

The group was formed when Dr. Ziemer from Missouri Western State University was interviewed by Psychedelic Grad’s Curious to Serious podcast and Berkeley’s The Microdose in 2022 about the undergraduate psychedelics class she created and taught at her university. When other professors started to contact Ziemer to share their own experiences creating courses in psychedelics they decided to form an organization. The group has an email listserv and Slack channel and has held Zoom meetings and informal meet-ups at psychedelic conferences in 2022. They are in the process of creating bylaws and electing officers to the groups’ executive board. As part of an ongoing discussion, the official name of the Psychedelic Educators Network may also be changing in the future in order to reflect the groups’ focus on college/university-level education.



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Press Release: PsychedelicNewsWire Named Official Media Sponsor of the 4th Annual Psychedelic Therapeutics and Drug Development Conference

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LOS ANGELES, May 17, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — PsychedelicNewsWire (“PNW”), a specialized communications platform for the psychedelics sector and one of the 60+ brands powered by IBN (“InvestorBrandNetwork”), is pleased to announce that it will be the Official Media Sponsor for the 4th Annual Psychedelic Therapeutics and Drug Development Conference (“the conference”), an industry flagship event dedicated to research and development of psychedelics in the healthcare space hosted by Arrowhead SciTech Conferences & Events (“Arrowhead”). The event will be held at the iconic Revere Hotel Boston Common, 200 Stuart Street, Boston, MA 02116 on 23-24 May 2024



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Risks of Psychedelics for People with Personality Disorders

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While psychedelics have shown promise in treating certain mental health conditions, a recent study suggests they may pose risks for individuals with personality disorders. The findings underscore the importance of careful screening and personalized approaches in psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Navigating the Psychedelic Landscape: Potential Risks for Individuals with Personality Disorders

Psychedelics, including substances like psilocybin and LSD, have gained significant traction in recent years for their potential therapeutic benefits in treating mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. However, a recent publication in the Journal of Psychopharmacology has raised concerns about the suitability of these substances for individuals with personality disorders.

The study surveyed individuals who had used psychedelics and who were also diagnosed with personality disorders. A considerable number of respondents reported negative and persistent psychological impacts following their psychedelic experiences. Notably, these included heightened anxiety, paranoia, mood instability, and an exacerbation of existing personality disorder symptoms.

Researchers suggest that the vulnerability of individuals with personality disorders to the adverse effects of psychedelics may stem from pre-existing challenges in emotional regulation, self-identity, and interpersonal relationships. The profound and introspective nature of psychedelic experiences can intensify these issues, potentially leading to psychological distress and symptom aggravation.

This research highlights the critical need for thorough screening and assessment in the context of psychedelic-assisted therapy. It suggests that individuals with personality disorders might require tailored therapeutic approaches and robust support systems to navigate potential risks and to secure safe and positive outcomes.

Why It Matters

The burgeoning interest in psychedelic therapy underscores the necessity to discern both the potential benefits and risks across different demographic groups. This study contributes valuable insights, particularly for clinicians and researchers, stressing the importance of personalized treatment plans and the cautious consideration of individual vulnerabilities when administering psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Potential Implications

The findings from this study emphasize the need for ethical and responsible practices within the field of psychedelic-assisted therapy. There is a pressing requirement for the development of detailed screening protocols that can identify individuals who may be more susceptible to the adverse effects of psychedelics. Furthermore, crafting specialized therapeutic strategies that cater specifically to the needs of individuals with personality disorders is essential for ensuring their safety and overall well-being during and after undergoing psychedelic experiences.

The Bigger Picture

The debate surrounding the therapeutic use of psychedelics is complex, with various factors influencing the suitability of these treatments for different individuals. While there are promising results in general populations, the nuanced needs and potential vulnerabilities of those with personality disorders require careful consideration to prevent harm and maximize therapeutic outcomes. This necessitates ongoing research, improved clinical protocols, and a commitment to patient-centered care in the burgeoning field of psychedelic medicine.

Source: Science Alert



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Treating Depression: Psychedelics vs. Antidepressants

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Recent research suggests that psychedelics and traditional antidepressants, while both potentially effective in treating depression, work through distinct mechanisms. Understanding these differences could lead to more personalized and effective treatment approaches. Psychedelics vs. Antidepressants: What are the key differences?

Unlocking the Mysteries of Depression Treatment: Psychedelics vs. Antidepressants

The quest for effective depression treatments continues to be a significant focus in mental health research. Traditional antidepressants, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have been a mainstay in treatment, prescribed widely despite varying efficacy among individuals and often accompanying unwanted side effects. In contrast, psychedelics have recently garnered attention for their rapid and enduring antidepressant effects observed in clinical trials.

A recent study has delved into the distinct mechanisms of action of SSRIs and psychedelics, illuminating how they uniquely influence the brain and potentially alleviate symptoms of depression. SSRIs primarily increase serotonin levels in the brain, which is believed to enhance mood and diminish depressive symptoms. However, this process can require several weeks to manifest noticeable effects, and not all patients respond favorably to SSRIs.

Conversely, psychedelics such as psilocybin, found in “magic mushrooms,” operate through a different mechanism. Research indicates that psilocybin’s antidepressant effects are not directly due to elevated serotonin levels. Instead, psilocybin is thought to promote neuroplasticity, the brain’s capacity to reorganize and form new neuronal connections. This heightened neuroplasticity may facilitate more adaptable thought patterns and an improved ability to process emotions, contributing to the rapid and sustained antidepressant effects seen in clinical trials.

Moreover, the study examined the role of the 5-HT2A serotonin receptor, a primary target for both SSRIs and psychedelics. While SSRIs inhibit this receptor’s activity, psychedelics activate it. Intriguingly, blocking the 5-HT2A receptor did not reduce psilocybin’s antidepressant effects, suggesting that its therapeutic benefits originate from other pathways.

Psychedelics vs. Antidepressants: Why It Matters?

Understanding the distinct mechanisms by which psychedelics and antidepressants affect the brain is crucial for the development of more personalized and effective treatment strategies for depression. This knowledge could lead to enhanced patient selection for specific treatments, reducing trial and error while optimizing outcomes. Furthermore, exploring the unique properties of psychedelics may pave the way for novel antidepressant medications that are quicker acting and have fewer side effects.

Potential Implications

This research could catalyze a shift in depression treatment paradigms, moving from a one-size-fits-all approach to more targeted therapies. By pinpointing the specific mechanisms that underlie different antidepressant interventions, clinicians can customize treatment plans based on individual patient profiles and needs. This personalized approach could improve treatment success rates and enhance the quality of life for individuals battling depression.

What Next?

While the study of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes is still in its nascent stages, the initial findings are promising and suggest that psychedelics may offer a valuable addition to the arsenal of tools for combating depression and other mental health conditions.

Source: Neuroscience News



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