Imperial College and Heroic Hearts Launch Psychedelic Research Retreat for Veterans with Head Trauma
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A U.K. nonprofit wants to give military veterans with a history of traumatic brain injury (TBI) the opportunity to experience the healing power of psychedelics. And the organization is inviting the Imperial College to conduct observational studies of the effects of the medicine on the participants. 

The Heroic Hearts Project (HHP), founded on providing hope and healing to military veterans left hopeless by the current Veteran Affairs system, provides veterans with the opportunity to be treated with psychedelic therapy options including ayahuasca, psilocybin, and ketamine, at legal psychedelic retreats. The organization’s secondary mission is to contribute to the growing research on psychedelics and their potential to treat mental and neurological conditions, especially those that affect military veterans such as TBIs and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

HHP’s observation study is being held in partnership with The Center for Psychedelic Research at the Imperial College London, and led by researcher Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris. The research team recently published a study that found that the antidepressant effects of psilocybin, the primary psychoactive ingredient magic mushrooms, was just as effective if not more effective, than the commonly prescribed antidepressant Lexapro (escitalopram). 

HHP psychedelic retreats will be held beginning in Fall 2021 in the Netherlands for U.K. participants and in Jamaica for U.S. participants. Participants will include military veterans suffering from psychological issues who may also have sustained head trauma during their service. Each will be treated with psilocybin, a natural compound found to be effective at treating depression, anxiety, and substance abuse—symptoms also associated with head trauma. 

Researchers from the Imperial College will study not only the psychological impact of psilocybin on veterans, but also the physiological effects for TBI using measurable outcomes. 

“The potential of psychedelics as healing agents for veterans is becoming ever more apparent,” says Heroic Hearts Research Director Dr. Grace Blest-Hopley. “With these retreats, we hope to not only achieve the goal of helping our participants but also provide further evidence of psilocybin’s medicinal properties; particularly in the context of head traumas. We hope this will then act as groundwork for further research that ultimately could improve the lives of many in the veteran and non-veteran population who are currently suffering.”

Veterans interested in participant in one of these retreats and individuals interested in sponsoring veterans in need should visit the Heroic Hearts website for more information. 

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