The Biggest Psychedelic News Stories of the Week – June 23
The Biggest Psychedelic News Stories of the Week – June 23

It’s been another eventful week in the world of psychedelics, with the largest-ever psychedelic convention taking place from Monday until Friday. High-profile athletes, artists, and businessmen have spoken at Psychedelic Science 2023, including New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

In the realm of psychedelic research, a new study designed to help cancer patients struggling with depression using psilocybin has shown promising results. A recent report has identified a new challenge in prescribing ketamine to patients with treatment-resistant depression.

Psychedelics have also been linked with one of this month’s most moving stories. A member of the rescue team who found the four missing Colombian children claims ayahuasca played a crucial role in locating them.

Psilocybin-assisted group therapy shows improvement in depressive symptoms in cancer patients

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All participants showed a significant decrease in depression symptom scores at both the 2-week and 26-week follow-up interviews.

A new study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management provides evidence of psilocybin-assisted group therapy’s efficiency in aiding cancer patients dealing with depressive symptoms. It was a small trial that involved 12 participants who averaged 48.2 years of age, and it yielded promising results.

There were three preparatory sessions where the participants were briefed on psilocybin’s effects and had one-on-one sessions with a therapist before a psilocybin administration session where the participants were given 25 mg in a group setting. Afterward, there were three 120-minute group integration sessions. Each participant had an assigned therapist, and another therapist acted as the group leader.

All participants showed a significant decrease in depression symptom scores at both the 2-week and 26-week follow-up interviews, and six out of the 12 participants met the criteria for remission at two weeks. Six participants had a complete mystical experience during their trip and reported more significant decreases in depression scores due to this.

This study wasn’t meant to provide definitive results, as its goal was to establish this treatment’s safety and feasibility, but it had an overwhelmingly positive outcome on its participants.

Commission meeting reveals conflicts regarding Kentucky’s plan to fund research on ibogaine to treat opioid addiction

KYOAAC head Bryan Hubbard announced the plan on May 31st. Source: Attorney General Daniel Cameron Twitter

Late last month, Bryan Hubbard, head of the Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission (KYOAAC), announced the launch of a state-funded program that would study the use of ibogaine, a potent entheogen, to combat opioid dependence. However, new developments after a virtual KYOAAC meeting suggest this program is not a done deal yet, and that there is not consensus about it among the commission’s members.

The State’s Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander claimed the commission was blindsided by the announcement because there was no previous discussion. Sharon Walsh of the University of Kentucky, who oversees a program researching how to treat opioid addiction, is concerned that funding may go to a drug that lacks FDA approval and has caused deaths.

She’s also complained about Hubbard allying with the CEO of a pharmaceutical company that’s investigating ibogaine’s efficiency in treating opioid addiction, as it creates a conflict of interest, as she may give an unbiased opinion or present skewed data of this entheogen to secure funding.

The commission has voted to hold two public hearings on July 17 and August 16 to discuss if the program should be funded and consider other alternatives, although Hubbard pushes a hard line regarding ibogaine’s effectiveness and rejects including other psychedelic drugs in the research plan.

Report reveals more than half of at-home ketamine users misuse the treatment

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64% of patients reported positive outcomes from the ketamine treatment, but 55% admitted to intentionally or accidentally exceeding the recommended dosage.

All Points North, a company that offers rehabilitative services, mental health retreats, and psychedelic therapy, released a report that examines the opinions and experiences of 2000 patients who had undergone ketamine treatment for mental health issues. Out of the surveyed patients, 64% reported positive outcomes from the ketamine treatment, but 55% admitted to intentionally or accidentally exceeding the recommended dosage. The organization suggests that telehealth therapists who incorporate psychedelics into the treatment may be responsible for the problem, as some of them don’t monitor their patients’ ketamine use closely enough, which can result in accidental or intentional overconsumption. For this reason, APN recommends ketamine therapy only under the supervision of a clinician. Ketamine use can lead to serious adverse events such as dissociation and high blood pressure and has a high potential for abuse. 21% of the participants were self-medicating with ketamine, which can increase the risk. While this substance can help with treatment-resistant depression, its correct administration is crucial to ensure the effectiveness of the treatment.

Member of rescue team claims ayahuasca helped find missing children in the Amazonian jungle

Missing children in Colombia found thanks to ayahuasca
The four children with the rescue team. (HANDOUT/AFP)

Four Colombian children were left stranded in the Amazonian jungle after the plane they were traveling in crashed, killing both pilots and their mother shortly after due to injuries. They survived for 40 days among poisonous plants, snakes, jaguars, and mosquitoes thanks to the eldest sister’s survival skills and experience caring for her brothers until a rescue team found them on June 9th.

The rescue team was comprised of 150 soldiers from the Colombian army and indigenous volunteers. One of the volunteers, José Rubio, claims ayahuasca played a significant role in finding the children. After participating in a communal ayahuasca session on the 39th day, he emerged with certainty that the children would be found the following day.

Shortly after, one of the soldiers heard through his radio that a rescue dog had spotted the children in a small clearing close to the crash site. The children, Lesly, Soleiny, Tien, and Cristin, between 11 months and 13 years old, were starved but otherwise unharmed and are now recovering in a hospital in Bogota.

While most praise should go toward the eldest sister, this case showcases psychedelics’ ability to induce higher states of consciousness and allow users to contact the spiritual world.

Read also: Ayahuasca May Have Aided In The Rescue of Children Lost in The Amazon Forest

Aaron Rodgers sings praise about ayahuasca at Psychedelic Science Convention

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Aaron Rodgers talks with entrepreneur Aubrey Marcus during a program at the Psychedelic Science conference in the Colorado Convention Center Wednesday, June 21, 2023 about the benefits he derived from ayahuasca. Photo: David Zalubowski/AP

New York Jets quarterback, one-time Super Bowl champion, and four-time NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers spoke about the benefits of ayahuasca at the Psychedelic Science convention. He recounted his experience taking this entheogen, which was “radically life-changing,” helping him develop self-love and feel deeper connections to his teammates and his fans.

He claims psychedelic use also improved his mental fortitude, which helped him win back-to-back MVP awards in 2020 and 2021. His first contact with these substances followed his 2011 Superbowl win, as he wanted to figure out what came after such a significant triumph.

The accomplished footballer is just one of the conference’s many famous speakers, as rapper and actor Jaden Smith, comedian and musician Eric Andre, and former NHL player Daniel Carcillo are also expected to discuss the benefits of psychedelics. 

Signing up high-profile celebrities was intentional and part of founder Rick Doblin’s PR strategy. His goal is to turn the conference into the “SXSW for psychedelics,” in tune with the increasing interest of the general public.

You may also like: Aaron Rodgers talks Ayahuasca on NFL Sunday


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