Why psychedelics for addiction?
Addiction treatment requires an
integrated approach and new tools
- Many existing treatments for substance use disorders provide quality behavioral therapies and pharmacotherapies, but patients are starting from a fundamental disadvantage
- In addition, individually, behavioral therapies and pharmacotherapies provide limited improvement for SUDs; often, a multi-disciplinary approach is needed
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder, and even the very best contemporary treatments show limited effectiveness. The treatments being developed by Journey Colab could very well be game-changers, boosting the effectiveness of existing treatments and providing an important tool in addressing the addiction epidemic, the leading public health problem of our time.”
The promise of psychedelics
What are psychedelics?
Psychedelics are a category of psychoactive substances that create changes in perception, cognition, and mood, and induce non-ordinary states of consciousness.
Over the last decade, psychedelics have been increasingly studied through clinical trials as a potential treatment for a variety of mental and behavioral health conditions when used in combination with therapy.
Types of psychedelics
Generally, psychedelics are divided into two categories:
Potential to support re-learning
Psychedelics are thought to have pharmacological effects which promote neuroplasticity during a window of time, or a re-learning period.
These re-learning periods can extend well beyond the inital dose. For example, psilocybin's initial effects typically last 4-5 hours after a dosing; however, the re-learning period produced can have a duration of nearly three weeks.
Why is that important?
Think about trying to learn a new language when you're young versus as an adult - it gets a LOT harder. But imagine that, as an adult, you could create an opportunity for your brain to learn a new language just like a child would - it would be powerful! This is the power of the re-learning period.
These effects could help disrupt addiction behavior and promote long-term behavioral and psychological changes.
We believe an integrated solution to psychedelics is the best way to unlock the power of this new tool
- The brain plasticity that psychedelics can offer has to be reinforced with a structure that supports learning and growth.
- Therapy and community support provide structure and direction for the re-learning period - helping individuals retain the insights they gain during this critical time. We know from 5,000 years of tradition, decades of scientific research, and recent clinical studies that this structure and direction produces dramatically better outcomes for patients.
- Effective psychedelic treatments require a thoughtful, integrated approach - one that includes psychotherapy and community as essential components.
- Psychedelics may be a promising new tool, but they are not a silver bullet.
We're close to a world with psychedelics in clinical treatment
Suggested research for reading:
Bogenschutz et al. 2022 - Psilocybin for Alcohol Use Disorder (Phase 2)*
Mitchell et al. 2021 -MDMA for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (Phase 3)
*Dr. Bogenschutz is an advisor to Journey Colab. See full list of advisors here.