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Thursday, February 22, 2024

Virtual Reality and Psychedelics for the Treatment of Psychiatric Disease

This innovative VR and psychedelic therapy might lead to a revolution in mental health. Psychologists are investigating the potential of mixing virtual reality with psychedelics to treat mental health conditions.

Attending a Psychedelics Conference

What steps would you take to alter your reality? The contemporary human has access to a wide range of possibilities, each with differing levels of permanency and legality. The easiest approach, though, could just be to choose a location where reality differs from your experience and visit it.

In November 2022, I attended the Wonderland International Psychedelics conference and expo in Miami, to give this choice a try.

It was, to put it nicely, beyond my typical comfort zone to investigate an international conference dedicated to class-A medicines in the midst of a steamy US metropolis as a Welsh neuroscientist from the Cardiff suburbs with no engagement with or experience with them.

Psychedelics include a large market. I was excited to attend the seminar because, to be honest, I was already aware of the mounting research supporting psychedelics’ huge potential to cure a variety of mental health disorders.

The Growing Psychedelics Industry

I was unaware, though, of the entire business that has developed around them as a result, which has caused many individuals to take psychedelics in a variety of fascinating, if occasionally perplexing, ways.

Enosis Therapeutics’ exhibit at Wonderland drew my attention, and they kindly let me check out their AnchoringVR setup. At first sight, the creation of researcher Agnieszka Sekula, seemed to be a virtual reality (VR) simulation of a wonderfully realistic and enjoyable moonlit beach setting.

Essentially, anything. Because integrating psychedelics with virtual reality is only one example of an intriguing and novel new method to addressing mental health issues.

The History of Psychedelic Use

Psychedelic use by humans dates back 9,000 years. Since psychedelics and virtual reality differ greatly from one another in many aspects, combining the two may seem like an odd idea.

To start with, psychedelics are somewhat “old school.” You might be forgiven for thinking that the “Psychedelic era” of the 1960s and 1970s was when psychedelics had the greatest influence on our society. However, the history of psychedelic use by humans is actually far older.

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Psilocybin, a psychoactive substance found in some mushroom species that can cause psychedelic experiences, is a photo credit to Alamy.

In the outdoors, psychedelics are naturally occurring. The majority of human history was spent consuming plants that grew in the wild, including mushrooms, cactus, leaves, stems, and more. Consequently, psychedelic use by humans dates back a very long way.

Psychedelics were used in tribal rites dating back 9,000 years. Therefore, psychedelic use by humans dates back to thousands of years. That explains why they have become so deeply entwined with religious, metaphysical, and spiritual rituals and customs.

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How Virtual Reality Differs from Psychedelics

But since virtual reality is a wholly new phenomena, none of this holds true. It has, of course, existed in one form or another since the 1970s, if not before.

This is due to the fact that VR is limited to the utilization of contemporary technologies. Additionally, as technology has advanced, so too has interest in virtual reality and its potential uses.

VR has always had more useful uses than spirituality and mysticism. Virtual reality has been utilized for training by NASA and other armed forces for many years. It also poses a continual danger to become the newest and greatest thing in video games.

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Participating in an experiment where she tries to manipulate a robotic arm with virtual reality controls is NASA astronaut Megan McArthur. – NASA is credited with the photo.

How VR and Psychedelics Can Benefit Mental Health

But despite what most people may think based on the fear mongering around them, the characteristics of both VR and psychedelics suggest that they have a great deal of potential to improve mental health.

Psychedelics increase brain elasticity… It seems probable that most psychedelic aficionados are more interested in the “recreational” features of a “trip.” However, researchers are curious in how they may improve the brain’s internal architecture, elasticity, and connectivity.

Blending Psychedelics with Virtual Reality

I was told by Agnieszka Sekula at the Wonderland conference that patients who are finishing up psychedelic-assisted treatment sessions are the target audience for the Enosis AnchoringVR setup.

In this scenario, a patient administers a psychedelic dosage in front of a licensed therapist (often psilocybin or MDMA). Increased cognitive flexibility and good emotions are possible during the psychedelic state, which amplifies the effects of introspection, discoveries, insights, and other such experiences. all of which have long-lasting good effects and can be highly effective for mental health disorders.

One worry, though, is that the psychedelic experience is transient, and any advancements made during it could not last afterwards. Virtual reality (VR) may help patients anchor their insights for the long term.

Conclusion: A Promising Combination

This unique mix of therapeutic approaches is still in its very early stages. There are still concerns to be resolved, such as the fact that psychedelics are extremely potent therapeutic tools that must be taken cautiously and under the guidance of a professional.

In the end, the majority of mental health illnesses are caused by the things we encounter, including the sights, sounds, and internal thoughts that our brains are forced to deal with. Treatment for mental health disorders may be much simpler if therapists could make the affected brains perceive and experience things that counteracted the factors that caused the problems in the first place.

VR and psychedelics have the ability to do just that. And who can predict what will happen if we continue to combine the two?

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Theblendrman
Theblendrmanhttps://infoblendr.com
I’m Olafare Michael Oluwabukola, a young enthusiast with an insatiable curiosity for the mysteries of science and technology. As a passionate explorer of knowledge, I envisioned a platform that could not only keep us all informed about the latest breakthroughs but also inspire us to marvel at the wonders that surround us.
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