Published at The Dales Report
By Shadd Dales
Mydecine Innovations Group (NEO: MYCO) is a company we’ve been watching closely over the past several months. The company was just recently listed on the NEO stock exchange, and we had CSO Rob Roscow by to speak with us recently on about Mydecine’s phase 2 clinical trials on PTSD. To learn more, we’ve also invited Dr. Rakesh Jetley, Mydecine Chief Medical Officer, to discuss how in his perspective, a psychedelic experience may not just be key for treating PTSD but may teach us a great deal about how psychedelics make the brain open to new ideas.
Here’s a few of the highlights:
“Something unique” about veterans and combat veterans
Dr. Jetley “came to the trauma world naturally,” he says. He served for 31 years in the military, and in that time, he was deployed to Rwanda, the middle east, and Kandahar. He experienced firsthand the feeling of helplessness that even missions of peacekeeping can bring in the face of atrocities. “All of those kinds of operational experiences take a toll in different ways on people,” Jetley says.
Around 2000, the Canadian armed forces began PTSD clinics, and Dr. Jetley worked closely with them as Director and psychiatrist. He began with all the best evidence-based treatments and practices to treat PTSD. However, after a number of years, Jetley says “you become the second opinion guy.” The failure to treat some cases of PTSD made him open to exploring treatment combined with a psychedelic experience.
Jetley emphasizes he’s not trying to diminish the suffering of victims of sexual trauma, physical violence, or motor accidents. But the reality is that combat veterans in particular responded less well to evidence-based treatments currently available – as many as half of the veteran patients responded poorly or not at all.
What makes them so different?
PTSD in combat veterans is complicated, and there is no one reason to blame as the cause for current modes of PTSD treatment being ineffective. Jetley says that the nature of the trauma could be a factor, that there are multiple traumas over a time as opposed a single episode. It could be that it’s coupled with traumatic grief if they have lost colleagues while serving. Or it could be a newer concept that Dr. Jetley says he and some of his peers have been exploring, which they call “moral injury” – guilt and shame coming from transgressions witnessed or things they haven’t done.
There’s also complications that arise due to ethos and conditioning. A soldier’s ethos, Jetley says, is mission first, family second, ‘me’ third. And when you become ill or injured, you have to reverse that pyramid, put yourself even ahead of your family.
How a psychedelic experience might help veterans suffering from PTSD
That ethos is why Dr. Jetley says “… we have trouble accessing the emotions, the feelings, just partly based on the psyche, based on the conditioning, based on how they’re trained.” So Jetley thought a psychedelic might cause necessary changes in brain and perspective. Veterans with PTSD are being given one to three psychedelic experiences over a few weeks or months coupled with psychotherapy.
The results so far? “We’ve never seen something like this before,” Jetley says. The psychedelic experience combined with psychotherapy and more traditional psychotherapeutic techniques seems to hold better and make lasting changes.