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HeffterResearch17 karma

Heffter was not created to advocate for changes to federal drug policy but rather to explore unanswered scientific questions and to help determine how medicines like psilocybin can alleviate suffering among patients who are not benefitting from available treatments.

Heffter scientists believe psilocybin research has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people, and that potential is best achieved when psilocybin is administered by a doctor with special training and used in a therapeutic setting.

HeffterResearch16 karma

I can't answer personal questions, but I can say that we are inspired to do this work because we believe there is unexplored potential in these substances and there is a chance to improve the lives of millions of people who are suffering from conditions that are not currently being treated adequately.

HeffterResearch8 karma

The recent studies at NYU and Johns Hopkins suggest that a smaller dose is probably insufficient to address anxiety. That's because researchers have found psychospiritual effects shift patients' general life perspectives as a result of a peak/mystical experience with the higher doses.

The biological effect (activation of the serotonin 2A receptor) of a small, psychologically inactive dose alone probably would not achieve the results researchers have seen so far, but it's not possible to know for sure yet because there's no way to experiment with psilocybin in a way that isolates the biological effects from the psychospiritual effects.

The psilocybin experience can indeed be very intense and can create short-term anxiety even in study participants. That's why we emphasize the importance of the preparatory and integration sessions, and why we believe it's critical that psilocybin be administered in a clinical setting under the supervision of a trained therapist.

HeffterResearch8 karma

In all of the recent psilocybin studies, the laboratory is set up to feel like a living room. After preparatory sessions to build a rapport between the patient and the therapist and to establish expectations for the session, the patient takes a psilocybin pill and reclines on a couch with eyeshades on and headphones on with relaxing music.

Trained clinicians are on hand to answer questions and provide support during the session, but depression symptoms and death are not discussed in depth during the psilocybin session. Afterwards, follow-up talk therapy is conducted to integrate what is often a mystical, meaningful experience for the patient.

That's why we think the therapeutic setting and preparatory and integration sessions are so critical, and why we envision psilocybin always being administered by doctors in a safe place and never prescribed for take-home use.

HeffterResearch7 karma

There are probably both biological effects, through activation of the serotonin 2A receptor, as well as psychospiritual effects through the shift in the person's general life perspective as a result of the peak/mystical experience.