It was once considered fringe psychological medicine but psychedelic therapy has become increasingly more mainstream in the last five years.
“Psychedelics have become big business and there are a number of large scale studies going on now looking at psychedelics for potential treatments on a number of conditions. The conditions that I think most people are focusing on are depression and substance abuse disorders. So, people who are struggling with alcoholism, cigarette smoking, people that really have lives crippled by depression,” said Raison.
This kind of treatment might not be for everyone. But there are high profile people who are bringing attention to the unconventional therapy.
In August, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers spoke out about his experience using ayahauasca in the off-season.
Ayahauasca is a psychoactive plant-based tea frequently used by a shaman or healer in Central and South America.
Rodgers shared his life-changing experience with podcast host Aubrey Marcus.
“That’s when it finally broke. I laid there on that mat and I made peace with the possibility that all of these lies I was telling myself could possibly be true,” Rodgers said.
Like Rodgers, comedian Ron White has also credited getting sober by doing psychedelic therapy.
In 2015, Andrew Isham participated in the psilocybin PK (pharmacokinetics) study at U-W Madison.
He decided to take part in the study out of sheer curiosity.
Isham describes a deep personal discovery in his second therapy session.
“The collateral benefit that I received is almost indescribable but a lot of the benefit I feel to this day, stems from several sessions of preparation before the dose was administered and several more sessions for integration after. It was once a month, three sessions, escalating doses and the whole thing, including the integration sessions probably lasted 6 months,” Isham described.
Dr. Raison says as more large companies invest big bucks into research, this therapy will become more mainstream.
He says psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is a fad that’s not going away.
“I’ve lived through a number of fads in my life but I’ve never seen anything like this. Psychedelics in the last five or six years have gone from being seen as maybe a little bit hippie, to being by far the most powerfully focused thing going on in mental health development. Every major university, Harvard, Yale, Stanford; if they have a medical center, they have a new center for the study for psychedelics. Everybody is studying this.”