PRISM’s medicinal psychedelic research program seeks to develop evidence-based treatments that reduce suffering, enhance our understanding of disease mechanisms, and illuminate the study of consciousness itself. PRISM is globally connected and provides scientific expertise for clinical trial and technology development for medicinal psychedelics and consciousness research.
Psilocybin-assisted therapy has been found to enhance insight, personal meaning and facilitate emotional breakthroughs (Roseman et al, 2019). As part of the therapeutic process, psilocybin-assisted therapy facilitates a shift in psychology from experiential avoidance to acceptance and approach (Wolff et al, 2020).
From January 2018, PRISM has engaged with several stakeholders to initiate Australia’s first clinical trial of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, for anxiety and depression associated with terminal illness, at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne (CT-2018-CTN-04702-1).
PRISM is also engaging with a research team based across several universities in Melbourne to initiate a clinical trial of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for Treatment-Resistant Depression (CT-2020-CTN-02260-1). This proof-of-concept study is in the latter stages of development and is planned to commence recruiting in January 2021.
MDMA's psychological effects are described as empathogenic, as MDMA enhances empathy, and entactogenic since it heightens the intensity of physical and emotional sensations such as touch and safety (Mithoefer, 2016). These psychoactive properties of MDMA make it attractive as a therapeutic agent (Thal & Lommen, 2018).
As of September 2020, with the assistance of MAPS, PRISM has engaged with several stakeholders to initiate an Australian clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD in collaboration with Edith Cowan University (CT-2020-CTN-02367-1).
5-MeO-DMT is an under researched psychedelic with great potential. The altered state it produces exerts a profound and short-acting effect on consciousness and has led to improvements in wellbeing in naturalistic settings (Uthaug, 2019). PRISM seeks to pioneer research into this promising and fascinating compound alongside Usona Institute.
PRISM is planning to initiate research into this promising and fascinating compound alongside the Usona Institute. Previous research has indicated that 5-MeO-DMT has a relatively safe profile of use, but there is still much to learn about the neurological effects and benefits of the experience on wellbeing.
Meditation is an ancient contemplative practice which hones awareness and navigation of conscious phenomena. The term mindfulness has been used to describe the changes that meditation can facilitate through practice. These traits include presence, non-judgement, non-reactivity, interception and metacognition (Baer, 2006). By training mindful states we can come to embody mindful traits. Meditation or mindfulness training has been proposed to be synergistic with the beneficial effects of psychedelics and may reduce anxiety and other adverse experiences (Smigielski, 2019).
PRISM is interested in studying the combined effect of a meditation training program alongside the psychedelic assisted therapy model. Please reach out you have the capacity to contribute or support this project.
Tailored virtual environments work synergistically with psychedelic-assisted therapy to accelerate the therapeutic process with a personalised approach (Carhart-Harris & Moroz, 2018). Psychedelic VR is expected to significantly improve treatment outcomes for all patients and may be of particular use for at-risk or treatment-resistant patients. This pioneering work will be a unique asset to the psychedelic science landscape in Australia, and globally.
PRISM is supporting the development of an experience that aims to enhance mindfulness and provide a scaffold for preparation and integration of psychedelic experience through immersive interactive guided audio and imagery in VR.
PRISM’s Psychedelic Research Network was established to foster collaboration and connections with academic partners throughout Australia and internationally. Our research network provides support to scientists and organisations in the psychedelic research field to coordinate and develop key study proposals, collaborations, funding opportunities, and peer-to-peer education. This vision is supported by PRISM's established working collaborations with leading international advocacy organisations and research teams.
PRISM’s research network brings academics, clinicians, and students together to foster a network of engaged changemakers.
If you are currently researching or planning to engage in psychedelic research, please reach out to join the network.
Current and future Australian research in this space will offer a crucial pathway for the provision of psychedelic-assisted therapy and to develop our understanding of consciousness itself. Notably, none of the current research into psychedelic-assisted treatments for mental illness in Australia is receiving government funding. With your support, our research paves the way for establishing evidence-informed psychedelic-assisted treatments