Carbondale hosts ‘non-hallucinogenic’ psychedelic seminar |

Carbondale hosts ‘non-hallucinogenic’ psychedelic seminar

Hallucinogenic mushrooms, or psilocybin, are being tested as treatment for a number of mental conditions.

Psychedelic Workshop series

What: Promise of Psychedelic Healing and the Future of Medicine clinic; a survey of the state of scientific research into use of psychedelics in medical treatments.

When: 5:45 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31

Where: Helios Center, 601 Sopris Ave., Carbondale

Cost: $20-$40

Also: The Journey Within – Inner Adventures to New Frontiers; a “non-hallucinogenic” guided journey to the inner landscape of personal discovery.

When: 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2

Cost: $75-$150

For tickets, contact Lux Wellness Center, (970) 510-5394

A naturopathic health clinic in Carbondale will be hosting a seminar on psychedelic drugs next week, but there won’t be any actual illicit drugs.

Jade Wimberley, co-owner of Lux Wellness Center in Carbondale, said she became interested in the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics several years ago when she lived in California, but was moved to pursue educating the Roaring Fork Valley after Michael Pollan spoke to a sold-out audience at the Aspen Institute last year.

Pollan is the author of “Omnivore’s Dilemma” and, more recently, “How to Change Your Mind,” a testimonial about psychedelics.

“It was a full audience, and there were probably 20 to 50 people who couldn’t get in,” Wimberley said of the Pollan’s July 2018 talk.

“Essentially, material that we otherwise might find overwhelming or scary is allowed to come up and be processed in a supported way.” — Natalie Metz, California Institute of Integral Studies, seminar leader

Wimberley said she realized “there are a lot of people who want to learn more about this, some for exploration probably, but also medically.”

Psychedelic treatment for depression and mental disorders has been an area of focus around the country, though the legality of such drugs has not kept pace with development of treatments, or the demand for research, Wimberley said.

A search of the National Library of Medicine, the federal government’s database of clinical trials, reveals a number of studies into the effectiveness of psilocybin — the psychotropic chemical in psychedelic mushrooms — on a number of disorders.

The studies seek to test the drug on a number of issues, from migraine headaches and nicotine addiction to obsessive-compulsive disorder and grief.

One New York University School of Medicine study is in the recruiting stage to study how religious leaders’ “psychological functioning, spirituality, health, well-being, prosocial attitudes and behavior” changes when they take psilocybin in supportive environments.

But most of the studies into ’shrooms, ketamine and MDMA are focused on treating post-traumatic stress, severe depression and anxiety.

According to Wimberley, at least one doctor in the Roaring Fork Valley is currently using ketamine, which is legal in limited settings, to treat severe depression in patients.

“It’s integrative and cutting edge. They’re not going to be doing it at the hospital, but it is happening all over the country, and people are getting pretty good results,” Wimberley said.

Leading the two sessions will be Natalie Metz, a licensed naturopathic physician with the Integrative Health Studies department at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco.

Metz volunteers with the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which backs research into clinical benefits of MDMA. Federally funded studies are out of the question, as MDMA and psilocybin are schedule I drugs. The Heffter Research Institute funds many studies on psilocybin.

Some patients with chronic PTSD have experienced long-lasting relief from their symptoms, Metz said.

Metz is not certain why MDMA has such a positive effect on PTSD, but psychedelics do inhibit regions of the brain that suppress painful memories.

“Essentially, material that we otherwise might find overwhelming or scary is allowed to come up and be processed in a supported way,” Metz said.

Wimberley said that society should be open to all safe and effective ways to treat severe cases of depression and anxiety, PTSD and other life-halting mental conditions.

“If something as simple as ketamine can help you, then I think as a culture we need to be open to it,” she said.

Metz will give a presentation Jan. 31 on the what’s being billed as “the promise of psychedelic healing and what it means for the future of medicine.” Then, on Feb. 2, she will lead an experiential workshop, in which participants will be guided on a “deep inquiry to the inner landscape of personal discovery.”

“We won’t be ingesting any psychedelics,” Metz said. But, because there are places in the world where people can legally take psychedelics, Metz believes it’s important to understand how to do so beneficially.

Both events are to take place at the Helios Center, 601 Sopris Ave., Carbondale.

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