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New Startup Plans Guided Psychedelic Therapy Sessions With a Therapist in the Metaverse

New Startup Plans Guided Psychedelic Therapy Sessions With a Therapist in the Metaverse

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New Startup Plans Guided Psychedelic Therapy Sessions With a Therapist in the Metaverse

Nearly a billion people worldwide struggle with mental illness. Of these, 284 million suffer from an anxiety disorder. It’s perhaps the greatest unspoken crisis of our time.

The costs of this global crisis are enormous, yet modern-day psychiatric drugs are missing the mark. Big Pharma’s mental health solutions are outdated and in many cases, they’re just not working.

According to a recent report from 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 last couple of decades the pharmaceutical industry has released a plethora of depressions and anxiety medications, but over that same time period the mental health crisis has only grown.

Moreover, a study by the National Center for Health Statistics show from 1999 through 2018, the suicide rate increased 35% among United States citizens.

Psychedelic Therapy Potential for change - Graph of suicides in the United States by year and gender between 1981-2016. Data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports
Graph of suicides in the United States by year and gender between 1981-2016. Data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports

The Psychedelic Therapy Shift

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

There is a shift happening amongst governments, scientist, and patients around the world on how carefully curated psychedelics could dramatically disrupt the way we treat mental health disorders.

There is growing scientific research that reveals psychedelic medicine may have the potential to reverse serious impacts of mental illness impacting our world.

In a major boost to the psychedelic field, the Johns Hopkins’s Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research is exploring the use of psychedelics—primarily psilocybin—for problems ranging from smoking addiction to anorexia and Alzheimer’s disease.

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

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

The researchers published a foundational study in 2006 showing a single dose was safe and could cause sustained positive effects and even “mystical experiences.”

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

As the research continues to come in, a new paradigm of startups are arising as well, looking to create cutting edge botanicals and modern applications using psilocybin.

Psychedelic Therapy Startup

Emotional Intelligence Ventures(Ei.Ventures) is one of those startups diving deep into the space to provide accessibility to this breakthrough treatment. EI.Ventures uses the whole plant and fungi in their Botanical formulations, which has the potential to create something called the “Entourage Effect”.

Researchers suggest the Entourage Effect could be key to Psilocybin’s healing properties. There potentially could be greater benefits and results from this approach, as compared to creating a single molecule synthetic Psilocybin drug in the lab.

This is what virtually all other companies in the space are doing. It’s also a philosophical thing. The founders at Ei.Ventures are inspired by Hawaiian traditions, among them having reverence for the land and the medicinal plants which grow on it.

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

Psychedelic Therapy in the Virtual World

Ei.Ventures is also looking into the future of the Metaverse and how it can scale access to psychedelics, with psychedelic therapy sessions with physicians.

The company recently purchased virtual land in the Metaverse via The Sandbox. The purchase of the 12-by-12 estate in the Sandbox by Ei.Ventures and it’s parent company Orthogonal Thinker represents the third-largest land sale in the network of 3D lands known as the metaverse and is valued at $2.22 million.

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

Q: How does using the new enhancements within the virtual world help with your plan to scale access to psychedelic therapy and psychedelic medicines?

Psychedelic enhanced psychotherapy needs to be delivered to patients where they are—expecting patients who are living with mental health challenges to visit a clinic or go to a retreat is expecting too much.

The metaverse and virtual reality allow psychedelic enhanced psychotherapy to be delivered for people are in a controlled, supportive, and nurturing environment that is rich in experience. 

Q: In the last couple of years, we have seen more and more people use TeleHealth(virtual doctors) more normally within person health. As psychedelic therapy becomes legalized in more states and areas around the world, do you foresee psychedelic therapy sessions becoming more virtual?

Yes, we expect that technology will continue to advance, allowing a greater range of options for people to access mental health services. We predict that increasingly integrated and hybrid models supporting people on their mental health journeys will improve access and outcomes across the board, particularly 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 guided Zoom like experience with a psychedelic therapist and professional or will users need some type of VR headset?

Psychedelic enhanced psychotherapy will need to be adapted to the medium and optimized for the technologies being utilized. Current standards and practices may be the starting point, but not necessarily the destination as innovation and data-informed practices shape how and by what medium care is ultimately delivered during periods of acute, long-term, and indefinite supportive care. 

Q: A huge question that any new industry has, is dealing with safety. Is this safe? What are some of the things you are thinking about when it comes to safety and proper use of these sessions?

Psychedelics, in general, are quite safe. The risks are primarily related to tolerability and having a safe environment and a safe container for people to feel comfortable with the vulnerability, openness to what can be an overwhelming experience emotionally, mentally, and physically. Change can be challenging, and it’s essential to feel safe to make the changes necessary to overcome mental health challenges. 

Q: Over the next 3-5 years what does success look like for you and the company?

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

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