Psychedelic Medicine in Primary Care
Psychedelic medicine is a growing area of research, as recent clinical trials have had encouraging results on the safety and efficacy of psychedelic medications to treat a range of conditions. Therefore, understanding the impact that this area of medicine will have on primary care is crucial for primary care providers.
This was the topic of discussion presented at this afternoon’s session at Practical Updates in Primary Care 2021. Speaker Lynn Marie Morski, MD, JD, is the president of the Psychedelic Medicine Association in Austin, Texas.
Current Research and Uses
She began her session with a discussion on the psychedelic substances currently being studied by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), including MDMA, psilocybin, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). The use of these substances is being explored for the treatment of various mental health issues, many of which are centered around trauma.
Currently, the use of ketamine is legalized and widely utilized for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression. Studies have shown that ketamine, with the FDA-approved esketamine, significantly and rapidly reduces or eliminates suicidal ideation and depressive effects.
Next, Dr Morski walked participants through some of the clinical trials on the efficacy of various psychedelic medications for the treatment of mental health conditions.
Among the studies Dr Morski mentioned:
- MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder
- Psilocybin for the treatment of depression and anxiety in individuals with life-threatening cancer
- Psilocybin-assisted therapy for the treatment of major depressive disorder
- Psilocybin-assisted cognitive behavioral therapy for smoking cessation
She touched briefly on the legalization of psilocybin for therapeutic use in Oregon, as well as the increase in use of psychedelic medications in Canada.
“Finally, it’s crucial to establish a base of knowledge so that patients can come in if they have questions about psychedelics [and] you feel comfortable having that conversation. Or if they don’t know about psychedelics but they come in with a condition that psychedelics would be more effective at addressing than perhaps other therapies, it’s great to be able to present them with a full range of options,” Dr Morski concluded.
Morski LM. Psychedelic medicine: what is it and how will it impact primary care? Talk presented at: Practical Updates in Primary Care 2021 Virtual Series; September 23-25, 2021. Virtual.