Podcast - Intro To A Toll-Free Psychedelics Information Line, An Educational Tool By Unlimited Sciences

Welcome to a new episode of the Benzinga Psychedelics Podcast where we’re joined by Dr. Matthew X. Lowe, executive director and CSO to Unlimited Sciences, a Colorado-based nonprofit organization conducting and supporting research with psychedelics. Unlimited Sciences recently launched a toll-free "Psychedelic Info Line" to provide pre-psychedelic education and guidance. 

Listen to the podcast here.

The line is already operational, taking calls worldwide . Even though its main focus is on the preparation side, it also provides tools for integration as requested by users. It welcomes those who are new to psychedelics as well as those with past experience. 

Psychedelics info line navigators are not necessarily experts but rather compassionate individuals who follow detailed scripts based on a variety of topics on psychedelics that were developed by numerous experts.

They are not there to opine or encourage the use of psychedelics nor give medical advice. In fact, the team encourages anyone aiming to begin using these substances to speak with their medical providers, healthcare team or physicians to ascertain whether psychedelics are right for them. 

Scripts and materials are built from a thorough review of published papers and other evidence-based sources on psychedelics, including the "largest naturalistic psilocybin study in the world" (8,000+ individuals enrolled) designed jointly with researchers at Johns Hopkins University and other renowned institutions. 

"We do not want this to be an anecdotal or subjective or opinionated point of view. This is based on evidence that is out there in the field that we can utilize and share, and really translate from an academic context into a context that individuals can understand easily," explains Lowe. He added that the info line aims to provide the necessary information for people to make the decision to take psychedelics an informed one.

Calls are confidential and don't require personal information. There's also an email service that works for those who want to further protect their identity, providing in-depth answers, educational resources and peer-reviewed evidence to make more informed decisions.

Rising Destigmatization To Be Matched With Education And Research Funding 

The needs for the coming world where psychedelics will become increasingly available for use include education for providers as well as users.

"There's a lot of education that needs to be completed on administering psychedelics; and because of the 1971 scheduling, rescheduling of these substances, and the subsequent lack of research that was essentially halted over the following decades, there's not a lot of research still," Lowe says. 

Unlimited Sciences' new info line inserts itself in the world of educational and harm reduction tools by providing pre-psychedelic information and education. It's neither a crisis hotline nor a support line for individuals currently taking psychedelics and experiencing challenges -much as Fireside Project or Zendo Project do.

"I think there's an ecosystem developing for both pre-psychedelic and post-psychedelic care that is really going to meld together, and I think it's a fantastic idea that these different resources support each other and provide information for various degrees of the different psychedelic experience," says Lowe.

As much as research is on the rise, there's still a lot to learn about regulations around training, education and administration of psychedelics as well as on the environments that support a successful psychedelic journey.

Lowe says the educational industry will rise to meet this challenge and the sector will grow exponentially. "What we know about psychedelics is changing so rapidly. And I think there is a need for training and certification for these individuals to administer psychedelics."

He also stresses the importance of funding research, which is not keeping up to pace with scientific and societal participation in psychedelics. Research into under-represented communities (see latest published research on the long-term psychological health and wellbeing benefits after ceremonial use of ayahuasca in Middle Eastern and North African immigrants and refugees is particularly lacking.

Listen to the full episode on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts by searching for “Benzinga Interviews.”

Photo courtesy of Unlimited Sciences.

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