America’s longevity movement, a growing community of people committed to reversing aging, is the latest group to take notice of psychedelics. A recent surge of psychedelic-related studies has revealed that hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, ayahuasca and psilocybin (magic mushrooms) have the potential to treat several mental disorders.
These initial studies have found that psychedelics can be especially effective when paired with traditional talk therapy, offering long-term relief against hard-to-treat conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), eating disorders and treatment-resistant depression, with few side effects and at minimal doses. The findings have been so promising that researchers and mental-health experts are now working to complete clinical research efforts, secure FDA approval and develop psychedelic-based mental health treatments for the public.
While psychedelics can be instrumental in treating mental anguish and end-of-life anxiety in patients with terminal cancer, the longevity movement is looking to leverage hallucinogens in a completely novel manner. Entrepreneur Bryan Johnson, a tech mogul who says he has limited his speed of aging by around 31 years, is a member of this movement.
This year’s Wonderland conference incorporated psychedelics and longevity into its agenda for 2023 and edited its tagline to read “Psychedelics. Longevity. Mental Health.” The conference included sessions covering different medical approaches to longevity as well as related research and the longevity market.
Biomedical gerontologist and reverse aging proponent Aubrey de Grey, who has also served as Sense Research Foundation’s chief science officer, noted that there was “clear enthusiasm” in the groups’ intersection. De Grey held a talk on rejuvenation interventions for middle-aged mice by the Longevity Escape Velocity Foundation.
The conference also featured advertisements for synthetic immune system technology and longevity clinics for healthspan extension. De Grey says that he saw a proposed plan titled “How to make everyone live to 120 by 2050.”
Inventor and author Dave Asprey talked about living to at least age 180 and promoted a neurofeedback program that produces audio or visual cues of electrical activity in the brain.
Many longevity proponents say that psychedelics could extend lifespans by alleviating mental-health symptoms, increasing brain chemicals and connections, and even reducing inflammation in the brain. However, researching the connection between psychedelics and longevity has and will continue to prove challenging. Psychedelics are still illegal across most of the country, and the FDA would not approve clinical trials for something it doesn’t consider to be a disease (aging). Drug research and development in this segment will face significant hurdles and will likely take time.
Nonetheless, psychedelic industry players such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) will continue to push the boundaries of how psychedelics can be leveraged to enhance human life and wellness.
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