Press Release: The Future of the Field

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Needs Innovation

  • Psychedelic-assisted therapy is a promising new treatment paradigm, but it is costly and resource-intensive
  • Innovation is needed to lower the expected cost and enhance the quality of psychedelic-assisted therapy
  • The field must find ways to improve access to these groundbreaking treatments

Psychedelic-assisted therapy shows promise in research settings for addressing a range of mental health concerns, but its short-term cost and complexity may restrict access in the real world, according to a new report by BrainFutures. In their white paper, The Future of the Field: Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy, BrainFutures highlights areas where future innovation and research could reduce costs, expand access, bolster patient safety, and allow providers to customize every patient’s treatment plan.

Mental health advocates and patients are eagerly anticipating access to psychedelic-assisted therapy in clinical settings, though access is dependent on FDA approval of drugs such as MDMA or psilocybin. Research shows that psychedelic-assisted therapy, which combines intensive psychotherapy with a multi-hour psychedelic medication session, has tremendous potential to treat certain mental health and substance use disorders. For some indications, it may even be more effective than many of the treatment options available today.

Carlene MacMillan, MD, a psychiatrist and the VP of Clinical Innovation at Osmind, notes that “the model of psychedelic-assisted therapy practiced in research trials shows impressive efficacy for indications like PTSD, but it’s cost and complexity may mean that major insurers won’t immediately offer coverage after psychedelic medications are approved by the FDA. This is a critical moment to explore ways to expand access while also promoting optimal patient outcomes.”

With clinical access likely coming in the next few years, it has never been more important to consider how psychedelic-assisted therapy will be applied in real-world settings. In The Future of the Field, BrainFutures explores four areas where research and innovation are needed to build on this promising model:

  • Precision and customization
  • Cost reduction
  • Access
  • Safety

The Future of the Field builds on BrainFutures’ latest full-length report, An Expert Informed Introduction to the Elements of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy.