🍄 #62 - What a day. APX invests in The New Health Club and Dr. Ben Sessa talks about curative psychiatry on the podcast!
First things first. We are thrilled to announce, that APX has joined The New Health Club as an investor and partner.
We are pleased to have a strong investment partner for the things to come.
The psychedelic renaissance is here to stay. And "The New Health Club" is in the middle of this, yes, let’s call it revolution” as we say. Here is more about us and APX.
Ben Sessa on The New Health Club Podcast
Can there be a non-spiritual language around psychedelic therapy and how could this look like?
What if some people undergoing psychedelic-assisted therapy rather have a picture of Manchester United or Britney Spears on the wall, instead of a buddha and yoga poses? Is this a question of class, just a different idea of spirituality and power objects?
This is my favorite topic in the episode with Ben Sessa today. Dr. Ben Sessa is a consultant psychiatrist, psychedelic therapist, and chief medical officer at Awakn Life Sciences, UK’s first on-the-high-street provider of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Awakn is researching, developing, and delivering evidence-based psychedelic medicine to treat addiction and other mental health conditions, and is aiming to open 15 to 20 clinics across the UK and EU in the next 24 months. Patients will be able to self-refer or be referred by their GP (including NHS). Ben focuses on MDMA-assisted therapies since the substance is further along in the research and legal processes than psilocybin. Though in the meantime, Ben and his team work also with Ketamine as a therapy tool.
The need for psychedelic-assisted therapy seems higher than ever. Ben tells me, 30 to 40 % of the British population is drinking in a harmful bracket now in the last 12 months of the pandemic. We talk about rather different ways of using psychedelics like ketamine for addiction, MDMA for obesity, or psilocybin for anorexia, something Ben, as a fan of creative psychopharmacology, is interested in. We also address what happens, if depression and antidepressants can become part of your identity, and how you might be able to get rid of your own old stories about yourself with the support of psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Get ready for the Ketamine May!
In the coming month, we are focusing on the substance called Ketamine, since it has become such an incredible substance in terms of psychedelic-assisted therapy. We have two experts on our may shows, that are addressing the topic from different angles.
On May 13th we are welcoming Ronan Levy, founder, and executive chairman at FieldTripHealth, the Canadian company creating a Ketamine Clinic network throughout Canada and the US. Ronan and I talk about, how a clinic and a treatment situation should look like and how close these new treatment centers might look like Soho House. A great and relaxed chat in things is coming your way.
On May 27th we are welcoming Andrea Jungaberle, the Medical Director at MIND Foundation & OVID Health Systems. Andrea is an expert on Ketamine and has just opened a Ketamine assisted psychotherapy practice in Berlin. Andrea and I talk about mental wellness, and what it actually means in terms of a thorough and safe psychedelic journey and therapy a patient is on. A great expert talk on science and the actual clinical side of things is coming your way.
We would love to offer you our first consulting! You can book an hour with Anne Philippi, our CEO if you want to know what is happening in this new psychedelic renaissance and ecosystem. We call it “Laying out the land in psychedelics” and if you need an overview, you came to the right place.
This is NOT a piece of advice for therapy or a session with a therapist. If you want to know about this exciting “renaissance” in general and what is happening, this is for you. And yes, it costs something, but this is a thorough overview, so it’s worth it.
We highly recommend the Symposium since there is a great lineup of important voices in the industry attending. “With the approval of psychedelic medicines expected soon, the inaugural Sana Symposium is your number one resource to prepare your practice and patients for the potential benefits of psychedelic therapies. The virtual event will take place September 17-19, 2021 in Eastern Time. All attendees will have on-demand access to the recorded sessions for 90 days.
Incredible new project! They “provide free & confidential emotional peer support! Whether you or a friend are tripping right now, or need help processing a past trip, we’re here to help. The Psychedelic Peer Support Line is 6-2 FIRESIDE 623-473-7433 (Just in the US at this point).
AND NOW…. SCIENCE!
We put together a quick overview of new studies and insights, curated by our science editor Thomas Lindemann, Graduate Psychologist, and Journalist.
A ground-breaking study suggests that psilocybin is equal in its effect to widely used antidepressant escitalopram.
Here is more info about the study by Robin Carhart Harris we announced recently.
A small study led by London’s Imperial College tested psilocybin, the psychoactive component of magic mushrooms, against escitalopram, a commonly used antidepressant. In other words: April 2021 brought the first major study to benchmark psychedelics and conventional depression treatment. Escitalopram is a popular SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) that is often used against depression and anxiety disorder. The study’s author Robin Carhart-Harris of the Centre for Psychedelic Research was quoted saying, subjects given psilocybin felt "recalibrated, reset like they haven't for years", "enjoying life" and getting “more at the root cause of suffering [rather than] muting their symptoms". The trial’s 59 participants were divided into two groups, 30 were given psilocybin, the other 29 escitalopram. A questionnaire survey after the treatment found similar results for both the SSRI and the psilocybin group, meaning that psilocybin was not inferior to the traditionally used medicine. Escitalopram is considered the worldwide gold standard in the treatment of depression; but also has considerable side effects (some very common, meaning more than 10 percent of subjects report them) such as headache, nausea, insomnia, loss of libido, and ejaculation dysfunction.
Antidepressant-like synaptic actions of psilocybin might happen even when the consciousness-altering effects are blocked (at least in mice)
A study led by the University of Maryland followed the idea that the consciousness-altering effects of psilocybin may be unwanted - and asked, if it is possible to block them. They suggest that altering perception might not be necessary for the therapeutic effect. In the study, the pro-hallucinatory 5-HT2A receptors in mice were blocked, but brain regions potentially responsible for processing rewards and emotions were strengthened anyway. Conclusions for humans are yet to be discussed.
Study Source: PNAS April 27, 2021 118 (17) e2022489118
An insight into Ayahuasca use in spiritual contexts in the UK
The London-based psychotherapist Adam Kowles published a research report analyzing conversations with four activists who used Ayahuasca in healing contexts in the UK, where the use of the psychedelic brew is illegal. The report in the magazine Contemporary Psychology does not claim to be part of the scientific discussion but gives insights into the spiritual scene that mainly uses Ayahuasca.
Ketamine, LSD, psilocybin, and others as psychedelic compounds, and their effect on the brain
It’s been out since January, but is still a great read: This almost 80-page overview might be important for everyone who wants an overview of the discourse on the subject.