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Highlights From the Heroic Dose Event: A Psychedelic salute to Our Veterans

The post Highlights From the Heroic Dose Event: A Psychedelic salute to Our Veterans appeared first on Microdose Psychedelic Insights.



Microdose is pleased to extend a gracious thank you to all the speakers, sponsors, veterans, servicemen, and servicewomen that contributed to our engaging “Heroic Dose” event that took place on April 22nd. This fascinating virtual event explored the clinical promise of psychedelic medicine for the military, veterans, first responders and servicemen, and servicewomen. From former NAVY Seals to leading clinicians in the psychedelic space, today’s event was brimming with great insights and deep ideas about psychedelic medicine for veterans. Here’s a brief recap of the day’s highlights.

“Heroic Dose” Event Kicks Off with High Energy, All-Veteran Panel Sharing Their Own Psychedelic Journeys

Following a warm welcome from Microdose CEO, Patrick Moher, the “Heroic Dose” kicked off with a high-energy talk about altered states of combat. Moderator Brian Nichols, the host of the Brian Nichols show, helped facilitate a riveting discussion where the panelists shared deeply personal stories of their encounters with psychedelics for healing. The firsthand accounts of their experiences with compounds like ibogaine, ketamine, and cannabis were powerful testaments to the healing potential of these medicines for veterans. Not only was the first talk of the day engaging and exciting, but it also was relatable to anyone and everyone, not just veterans or active military.

By divulging their personal experiences using psychedelics for healing, this panel of veterans opened the space for much more powerful conversations to come. This panel featured Adam Wright, Director of Field Trip Basecamp at Field Trip Health, Arron Victory, Strategic Advisor to The Newly Institute, Marcus & Amber Capone, Founders of VETS, Inc., Sarah Stenuf, Founder & Executive Director of Veteran’s Ananda Inc. & Ananda Farms.

From Policy to Practice: MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy in Veteran Healthcare Panel Explores New Healing Paradigm

The clinical progress MDMA has made in the treatment of PTSD, largely through the efforts of MAPS, is one of the hallmarks of the modern psychedelic renaissance. Indeed, its therapeutic potential to help veterans not just manage, but potentially cure PTSD is nothing short of remarkable. This panel explored what this new paradigm of MDMA-assisted healing for veterans with PTSD looks like and the promising findings from the recent studies showing almost ⅔ of patients don’t even qualify as having PTSD anymore after treatment.

Moderated by Microdose’s clinical biologist and Content Editor, Gaurav Dubey, this panel featured several impressive speakers. Dr. Devon Christie, the Medical Director for Numinus, was one of the experts on this panel and the Principal Investigator on a MAPS-sponsored open-label MDMA assisted psychotherapy Compassionate Access Clinical trial, in which she is also a therapist. Her commentary and insights into the rapidly unfolding psychedelic research landscape when it comes to MAPS and MDMA were incredibly interesting. Also on this panel was David Wood, Partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, one of Canada’s leading law firms. His unique experience working with scheduled substances like cannabis and psychedelics offered the audience an informed perspective on how the regulatory landscape is evolving. Finally, Dr. Will Siu, a Psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, had deep insights into how psychedelic therapy affects human behavior.

The interplay between these brilliant minds was certainly rewarding to watch and the engaging audience Q&A that followed made for another amazing panel. If you weren’t able to catch it live, we highly recommend checking out the recording.

PTSD Treatment & Suicide Prevention: Research and Clinical Practice Panel Delivers

The next Heroic Dose panel explored the state of research and clinical practice around PTSD treatment and suicide prevention. This powerfully engaging panel was moderated by Bexson Biomedical’s CEO, Gregg Peterson, and also featured their brilliant Chief Scientific Officer, Dr. Jeffrey Becker. With ketamine rapidly emerging as a safe, fast-acting, and efficacious treatment for acute suicidality and severe depression, the Bexson team (experts in ketamine and NMDAR therapeutics) certainly had much insight to share. Also on this panel were Dr. Mark Braunstein, Founder & CEO of Reconcscious Medical, Dr. Robert Tanguay, Cheif Medical Officer at The Newly Institute, and Rebecca B. Price, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. This rockstar roster of dignified speakers provided special insights into PTSD treatment and suicide prevention in veterans.

Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy in Veteran Healthcare: Expanding the Psychedelic Toolkit for Veterans

The compelling conversations about psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in veteran healthcare opened up several avenues for important discussions. From the importance of intention setting and integration to long-term follow-up care, this engaging panel explored various topics related to psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in veteran healthcare. It also featured another dynamic panel of speakers, including Nadia Van der Heyden, Director of Sales and Marketing for Psygen Labs, Luc van Poelje, Founder of Psychedelic Insights, and Dr. Bri Sebastian, Director of Laboratory Operations for Psygen Labs Inc.

One of the highlights from this panel was definitely Dr. Bri’s quote: “It’s cool to ask for help now”. Indeed, not only is it becoming more acceptable to utilize psychedelics for therapy and healing, but the entire structures of stigma around asking for help are collapsing as well, opening avenues for deeper and more sustainable healing.

Psychedelic Medicine and Entheogenic Healing: Innovations in Addressing Trauma

Following the panel on psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, Dr. Kenneth Tupper, Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia, offered an incredibly insightful keynote presentation on entheogenic healing and innovations in trauma treatment. Having done over twenty years of academic research on psychedelics and entheogens, Dr. Tupper has been published in several peer-reviewed journals, presented at international health and drug policy conferences, and has twice been appointed to Canadian delegations to high-level UN drug policy meetings. He provided engrossing commentary at the intersection of clinical care and innovative therapies in the treatment of trauma–the root cause of many mental illnesses.

Ethical issues were a focal point of Dr. Tupper’s talk—an important conversation to be had in this emerging space. Another interesting point was his discussing the use of psychedelics in “positive psychology” applications to achieve thriving in their lives. From public policy and best practices to deep discussions about ethics, innovation, and more, Dr. Tupper’s keynote was surely one of the highlights of this event.

Heroic Hearts: Working to Provide Psychedelic Therapy & Support for Veterans

Few things in life are quite as inspiring as a group of individuals with some shared trauma, getting together to collectively heal and improve their lives. Yet that is exactly what the Heroic Hearts project works tirelessly to do, leading the way in the fight against PTSD. As a 501(c)(3) non-profit that connects military vets struggling with mental trauma to psychedelic therapy options, including ayahuasca, psilocybin, and ketamine. Indeed, some of the esteemed panelists even shared their experiences using medicines like ayahuasca to heal deep and difficult traumas resulting from combat. Tim Laidler, a board member for HAVN Life, shared an incredibly interesting and personal story about his experience engaging with the Amazonian psychedelic brew, ayahuasca.

Other topics discussed included other elements of mental health that can be improved and optimized in veteran healthcare, of which, psychedelics are a major (but not the only) one. “Maybe mental health shouldn’t be treated like a broken bone” was an insightful quote by Jesse Gould, President of the Heroic Hearts project, that spotlighted the need for holistic, personalized therapy to work with deep traumas, like the ones that result in PTSD. This engaging panel certainly shined a necessary light on a group working relentlessly to help the underserved veteran population. Other esteemed speakers on this panel included Grace-Best Hopley, Director of Research at Heroic Hearts UK, and Keith Abraham, CEO of Heroic Hearts UK.

The Role of Ibogaine in Veteran Healthcare: Plant Medicine Powerfully Transforming Lives

The last panel discussion of the day was a riveting discussion about the incredibly unique hallucinogen ibogaine and its role in veteran healthcare. Native to West Africa, the iboga plant is part of a long-standing tradition of the Bwiti tribe who utilizes iboga as a sacrament and medicine as a coming-of-age sacrament. Today, this plant medicine is being used around the world, either legally or underground, to help treat substance abuse disorders, particularly opioids. Ibogaine also has psychospiritual applications and various therapeutic properties that are physiological, such as its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties (now being used to treat conditions like Parkinson’s Disease).

Perhaps the most compelling portion of the panel was Chris Kimbrell’s firsthand experience of going from depression and suicidal thoughts to finding new meaning in life through ibogaine. A few of the glowing things he had to say about his life now include: “I have more empathy for people…I’m able to perform at a very high level…My value on success has absolutely changed…”

His candid disclosure about how he was finally able to see his wife for who she is was emotional and powerful. Kimbrell described the entire experience as “such a beautiful thing.” His message was highly encouraging and optimistic about our ability to create our reality. Another memorable quote from Chris was, “you can live your life in heaven, not in hell” meaning, suffering is a choice just like healing is. A profound share by Chris Kimbrell really established a powerful precedent for the role of ibogaine in veteran healthcare.

Other luminaries on this panel included the renowned ibogaine researcher and clinician, Dr. Alberto Sola, who spoke of the complexity of the molecule that is ibogaine. He stated that it’s referred to as a “dirty” molecule since it affects various receptor systems in the brain, from being a partial agonist at the mu-opioid receptor (MOR) to being referred to as “sticky Prozac” because it blocks the serotonin channels in the brain for a while and increases levels of serotonin, causing its antidepressant effects. Its 5HT2a action results in its hallucinatory action and goes on and on to include things like NMDA and sigma receptor action.

Dr. Rami Batal, CEO of Universal Ibogaine, was another dignified guest that mentioned something particularly important about the modern renaissance. He stated, “I feel we are turning the chapter here and going from palliative agents to healing agents…it’s the most exciting change I’ve seen in my career thus far,” about this exciting paradigm shift taking place in healthcare.

Dr. Ravinder Bains, Psychotherapist from ATMA Journey Centers, and Anne Philippi, Founder & CEO of The New Health Club, were also dynamic speakers during this panel. If you’re interested in the powerfully healing capabilities of ibogaine, we highly recommend checking out the “Heroic Dose” recording.

Final Keynote: Ayahuasca and Group Therapy – The Fellowship Model at Veterans of War

The final session for the day was a deeply personal and powerfully insightful keynote presentation by Wyly Gray, a United States Marine and the Executive Director for Veterans of War. He offered unique insights into the benefits of group psychedelic therapy sessions with other veterans, primarily through ayahuasca ceremonies. He dives deep into the work necessary to heal long term and states candidly that veterans have a lot of work to do.

“Currently, the veteran landscape is something like 18.6 million. There are stories of pain, hardship, grit, resilience, pain, and loss under every rock…”

~Wyly Gray, Executive Director for Veterans of War

While Wyly aptly spotlights the struggles that veterans face when trying to reintegrate themselves back into society, he also offers hope by discussing the clinical promise of psychedelic medicine.

“Psychedelics offer a unique path towards long-term recovery,” he states. And while he believes the medicine has immense potential for healing in its own right, it is the element of camaraderie that comes from group therapy that Wyly appreciates and advocates for.

“Access to the medicine is critically important…however, integration of the lessons learned in a community built to support those lessons are equally important.”

~Wyly Gray, Executive Director for Veterans of War

Closing Thoughts and a Huge Shout Out to Our “Heroic Dose” Sponsors & Speakers

Microdose would like to give a huge shout-out to everyone that made this event possible and so special today. Thank you to our sponsors: Entheon Biomedical, Bexson Biomedical, and HAVN Life. We’d also like to thank our media partners and social sponsors, The Newly Institution and Halucenex, for helping get the word out about this curious undertaking. Of course, we would like to extend our gratitude and deepest thanks to the entire veteran community and special thanks to the ones who joined us here.

If you missed the live event, you can still catch recordings here and catch up on all the great insights and information shared.

The post Highlights From the Heroic Dose Event: A Psychedelic salute to Our Veterans appeared first on Microdose Psychedelic Insights.

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