Welcome to The Brave New World of Psychedelic Medicine, written by Erica Rex. I write for the New York Times, Scientific American and many other publications. I’m a recipient of a National Magazine Award for Fiction. My newsletter explores psychedelic drugs, the scientific basis for their clinical use and their benefits to psychotherapy. I report on their potential impact on the fields of medicine, mental health and spirituality. As of this writing, dozens of clinical trials have shown the efficacy of psilocybin, MDMA and LSD in treating depression, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorders, smoking cessation and alcohol abuse. Clinical studies with members of the clergy yielded across-the-board increases in openness, and self-described spiritual awareness.
Psychedelic therapy replaces years- or decades- long psychiatric treatment and pharmaceutical drugs like SSRIs with a short sequence of two to eight guided psychedelic sessions.
I myself was a subject in one of the first evidence-based studies using psilocybin to treat cancer-related depression in the modern era at Johns Hopkins University in 2012. I’ve written extensively about the experience, and how it has changed me, and my outlook on mental health and medicine. I am working on a book, The Hero’s Journey.
I explore how the mental health field will evolve toward evidence-based therapy rooted in neuroscience, and away from the hegemony of Freudianism and behavioral psychology. Most importantly, the new field of psychedelic medicine responds to the need to move mental and emotional health back to where they belong, as part of a universe of humanistic care, provided within a context of cultural, community and spiritual well-being.
The information I present in these newsletters is based on science, data driven evidence, and interviews and conversations with experts in psychopharmacology, neuroscience, psychiatry, as well civil servants from within the FDA, NIH, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA).