Psychedelic Therapy: Exploring Potential Benefits, Concerns, and Limitations

Psychedelic Therapy: Exploring Potential Benefits, Concerns, and Limitations

In recent years, there has been a notable surge in the research and use of psychedelics as a therapeutic tool aimed to help treat conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and in some cases, even chronic pain. While there have been demonstrated benefits, as shown through some studies and testimonials from psychedelic-assisted therapist treatments, it is important to exercise caution and also weigh the concerns and limitations of their use before readily adopting them into a treatment protocol.

This article will provide a look at the therapeutic use of legal psychedelics, consider their possible contextual utility, and propose the crucial component that is missing in most discussions of how to address the root causes of mental health and chronic pain challenges. 

Keep reading to find out what it is and how you can leverage this knowledge to improve your health and well-being for the long haul.


Psychedelic-Assisted Therapist Treatment

Psychedelic-assisted therapist treatment is an emerging field that utilizes psychedelic substances, often in conjunction with psychotherapy, to facilitate therapeutic experiences. These substances include psilocybin (found in certain mushrooms), MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy), LSD, and others, to assist with helping someone to find relief from conditions such as:

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Addiction
  • Existential Distress in Terminal Illness
  • Chronic Pain

  • While there is growing interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, the field is still evolving, and more rigorous scientific studies are needed to establish safety, efficacy, and appropriate treatment protocols for these conditions. 


    Legal Psychedelics: Potential Benefits and Varying Regulations

    Studies of the therapeutic effects of psychedelics on the brain name several potential benefits, a few of which include:

      • Neuroplasticity: Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to reorganize itself and form new connections. This may have therapeutic implications for conditions involving rigid thought patterns and maladaptive neural pathways

      • Increased Connectivity: Psychedelics have been associated with increased connectivity between regions of the brain

      • Enhanced Emotional Processing: Psychedelics, particularly MDMA, have been studied for their ability to enhance emotional processing. This can be beneficial in therapeutic settings, such as in the treatment of PTSD, where individuals may need assistance in processing and integrating challenging emotions. Among some of the benefits of MDMA, it is thought that it may help increase the release of neurotransmitters, particularly serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine which is associated with feelings of empathy, compassion, and emotional connectedness. MDMA has also been shown to dampen activity in the amygdala, a brain region involved in the processing of fear and emotional responses. This reduction in fear and anxiety may create a more conducive environment for individuals to approach and engage with traumatic memories or emotionally charged experiences without being overwhelmed.

    While there are many studies and testimonials of people experiencing significant relief from psychedelics, it is important to exercise caution and do your research before taking part. Not only are there instances of many individuals experiencing negative side effects, but there are also legal and ethical considerations surrounding their use.
      • Legal psychedelics considerations: Federal, state, and international laws can vary significantly and change rapidly with ongoing research and clinical trials. These factors will also impact important components such as the clinical, billing, and insurance infrastructure approved for psychedelic-assisted therapist treatments.

      • Ethical considerations: In many cases there are not yet set standards for drugs procured outside the medical establishment nor clear licensure criteria for prescribers and therapists. This can be seen, for example, with the rapidly growing ketamine economy (another commonly used psychedelic drug), described by some as a “Wild West” with the proliferation of for-profit ketamine clinics across the U.S. Ketamine, though legal for doctors to prescribe, is not FDA approved, which means that individual practitioners develop their own treatment protocols. What can result are highly varied doses and experiences for people receiving these treatments. While certainly life-saving for some, there are also potentials for adverse reactions such as increased anxiety, panic, or psychosis. This is a reason why it is encouraged to seek out a trained medical professional to assist in any potentially physically or emotionally difficult experiences during or after the treatment. There are also questions of appropriate uses for these drugs in populations such as minors, older adults, or people who are pregnant.

    Mechanotransduction: Considering the Bigger Picture

    In certain contexts, especially in circumstances in which someone is needing critical mental health or physical pain relief, the careful and temporary use of psychedelics can have its utility. However, it’s not the ultimate answer nor do we believe it should be the go-to answer for most people in the majority of circumstances. 

    According to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for individuals age 15-44, and around 26% of adults experience a diagnosable mental disorder in any given year. We know that statistics for anxiety, chronic pain, PTSD, and other mental health issues aren’t looking good either.

    Consider those statistics in light of this: Market analysis of the U.S. ketamine industry shows revenues are projected to more than double from $3.1 billion in 2022 to $6.9 billion by 2030.

    There is a lot of money to be made off of a booming drug market. 

    But psychedelics are not going to solve our widespread mental health and pain issues. We know entire industries are crafted to profit off of symptoms instead of seeking solutions as to why we have, for example, such high levels of depression, anxiety, and pain in the first place.

    What will help you solve your problems? Improving mechanotransduction.

    Mechanotransduction refers to the process by which cells sense mechanical forces or physical changes in their environment and convert these mechanical signals into biochemical responses or changes within the cell. It's like the cell's way of "feeling" and responding to the physical world around it, allowing cells to adapt to their mechanical surroundings, respond to external forces, and regulate functions such as growth, movement, and gene expression based on mechanical cues. 

    We know these are big words but here’s what’s important to know:

    Mechanical signals influence critical cellular processes throughout the body impacting neuroplasticity, neurotransmitter release, cognitive function, hormonal function, integrity of the blood-brain barrier, and a vast array of additional processes which are directly related to experiences of mental and physical health.

    Many of these key processes in the brain are what people are looking to improve with psychedelics but by improving mechanical signaling, your body has the ability to heal on its own. 

    How do you improve your mechanical signaling? You need to improve your movement. 



    The Results of Improved Mechanotransduction

    Among key ways for improving mechanotransduction include maintaining hydrated tissue function, stimulating the muscles, fascia, and bones with appropriate mechanical loads, and getting entire chains of muscles working together to improve fundamental human functions of standing, walking, running, and throwing. 

    By improving mechanotransduction you won’t be chasing symptoms, rather you’ll be addressing your body as a system so it can take care of the rest. 

    Here are three examples of clients putting in the work of improving their mechanotransduction which resulted in major improvements to their physical and mental health:

    Barbara’s results addressing severe PTSD, chronic pain, and anxiety


    Kevin’s results eliminating pain, extreme anxiety, and achieving sobriety


    Chelsea’s results eliminating pain, reducing anxiety, and improving mental health


    Psychedelics are a tool which in some contexts can have their utility when used as safely and judiciously as possible. If you’re going to partake it seems that using legal psychedelics in the context of a psychedelic-assisted therapist treatment is likely the more optimal option. However, not only are there risks of adverse side effects, there are also more fundamental issues needing attention. By supporting mechanotransduction through improving your body’s posture and fundamental human movements, you will better allow for your body’s own healing mechanisms to promote regeneration versus needing to rely on outside substances. This is the path to promoting a cascade of health benefits extending far beyond symptoms management. To help take the guesswork out of the process, check out this step-by-step guide to assist you on your quest for long-term solutions so you can move and feel your best.

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