New Startup Plans Hold Guided Psychedelic Therapy Sessions With A Therapist In The Metaverse

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Nearly one billion people around the world struggle with mental illness. Among them, 284 million suffer from an anxiety disorder. This is perhaps the greatest unspoken crisis of our time.

The costs of this global crisis are enormous, but modern psychiatric drugs are missing the mark. Big Pharma’s mental health solutions are outdated, and in many cases they just don’t work.

According to a recent report According to the Lancet Commission, the global economic costs of this mental health crisis could reach $16 trillion by 2030. In addition, an estimated 12 billion working days will be lost each year as a result.

Over the past two decades, the pharmaceutical industry has released a plethora of drugs for depression and anxiety, but over the same period, the mental health crisis has only grown.

Moreover, a study by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that from 1999 to 2018, the suicide rate increased by 35% among American citizens.

Chart of suicides in the United States by year and sex between 1981-2016. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports

The change in psychedelic therapy

Citizens need help, patients need help, something has to change.

There is a shift happening among governments, scientists and patients around the world about how carefully selected psychedelics could significantly disrupt the way we treat mental health disorders.

A growing body of scientific research reveals that psychedelic medicine may have the potential to reverse the severe effects of mental illness on our world.

In a major boost to the psychedelic realm, the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research explores the use of psychedelics – primarily psilocybin – for conditions ranging from tobacco addiction to anorexia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“One of the remarkably exciting features of working with psychedelics is that they’re likely to have transdiagnostic applicability,” says Roland Griffiths, who leads the new facility and has led some of the most promising studies evaluating psilocybin to treat depression and alcoholism.

Griffiths and some of his colleagues helped revive the field around 2000, when they won government approval to give high doses of psilocybin to healthy volunteers.

The researchers published a fundamental study in 2006 show that a single dose was safe and could cause lasting positive effects and even “mystical experiences”.

A decade later, they published a randomized, double-blind study showing that psilocybin significantly decreased depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer.

As research continues to arrive, a new paradigm of startups is also emerging, seeking to create cutting-edge plants and modern applications using psilocybin.

Starting psychedelic therapy

Emotional Intelligence Companies(Ei.Ventures) is one of those startups diving deep into space to provide accessibility to this revolutionary treatment. EI.Ventures uses the whole plant and mushrooms in its botanical formulations, which has the potential to create what is known as the “entourage effect”.

Researchers suggest that the entourage effect may be the key to psilocybin’s healing properties. There could potentially be greater benefits and results from this approach, compared to creating a single-molecule synthetic psilocybin drug in the lab.

This is what virtually every other company in the industry does. It is also a philosophical thing. The founders of Ei.Ventures are inspired by Hawaiian traditions, including respect for the land and the medicinal plants that grow there.

Honoring the wisdom found in nature is part of Ei.Ventures’ mission. They are fully committed to the development of their Botanical Psychedelic API. Their vision is fueled by a belief in the healing power inherent in the whole plant. Research is beginning to suggest that this is true.

Psychedelic therapy in the virtual world

Ei.Ventures is also looking at the future of the Metaverse and how it can expand access to psychedelics, with psychedelic therapy sessions with doctors.

The company recently purchased virtual land in the Metaverse through The Sandbox. The purchase of the 12 by 12 domain in the Sandbox by Ei.Ventures and its parent company Orthogonal Thinker represents the third largest land sale in the 3D earth network known as the Metaverse and is valued at $2.22 million.

Below is an interview with Tyler StrauseVP Product Development at Ei.Ventures, on how the virtual world can bring psychedelic therapy to millions in need.

Q: How does using the new virtual world enhancements help you in your plan to expand access to psychedelic therapy and psychedelic drugs?

Psychedelic-enhanced psychotherapy must be delivered to patients where they are – to expect patients living with mental health issues to visit a clinic or go on a retreat is too much to expect.

The metaverse and virtual reality make it possible to offer enhanced psychedelic psychotherapy to people in a controlled, supportive and stimulating environment rich in experiences.

Q: Over the past couple of years we have seen more and more people using TeleHealth (virtual doctors) more normally as part of personal health. As psychedelic therapy becomes legalized in more states and parts of the world, do you foresee psychedelic therapy sessions becoming more virtual?

Yes, we expect technology to continue to advance, providing a greater range of options for people to access mental health services. We anticipate that increasingly integrated and hybrid models supporting people in their mental health journeys will improve access and outcomes at all levels, especially for people with limited access or means to afford it.

Q: How will psychedelic therapy sessions work in a virtual world? Will it be a Zoom-like guided experience with a psychedelic therapist and a professional or will users need some type of VR headset?

Enhanced psychedelic psychotherapy will need to be tailored to the medium and optimized for the technologies used. Current standards and practices can be the starting point, but not necessarily the destination, as innovation and evidence-driven practices determine how and by what means care is ultimately delivered during periods of acute supportive care, long term and indefinite.

Q: A big question for any new industry is security. Is it safe? What are some of the things you think about when it comes to the safety and proper use of these sessions?

Psychedelics, in general, are quite safe. The risks are mostly about tolerability and having a safe environment and a safe container for people to feel comfortable with vulnerability, openness to what can be an overwhelming experience emotionally, mentally and physically. Change can be difficult, and feeling safe is key to making the changes needed to overcome mental health issues.

Q: In the next 3-5 years, what will success look like for you and the company?

Over the next 3-5 years, we will bring to market a new psychedelic delivery system and psychotherapy platform in the metaverse to bring enhanced psychedelic therapy to millions of people around the world. We will advance the use of next-generation metrics to monitor patient outcomes and success using more objective measures.

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