Maastricht, Netherlands

Psychedelic Medicine 2.0: The Past, Present and Future of Mind-altering Substances in Therapy

when 1 July 2020 - 3 July 2020
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 EC
fee EUR 598

Long before Western people in the sixties and seventies tried out psychedelics for recreational and therapeutic purposes, other cultures had already been using them for ages because of their therapeutic potential. This ‘psychedelic wave’ in the sixties and seventies in the West scared off politicians leading to a scheduling of these substances and a halt to scientific research into the effects of those substances.

In the nineties placebo-controlled studies emerged looking into the negative effects of these drugs due to reports that these users might be cognitively impaired after abundant use of a number of these substances. Two decades later however, after the negative effects had been demonstrated to be limited, when used in moderate amounts, and after the substances appeared to be relatively safe, research into the positive effects started rising and it is blossoming today.

While previously only a handful of labs investigated these effects, new research labs in other countries are emerging. The therapeutic potential of psychedelics is now being widely investigated and two companies are now setting up trials in psychiatric patients in order to demonstrate the therapeutic potential of these compounds. Their aim is to have those substances approved as a psychiatric medicine within a few years.

While psychedelic research is experiencing a renaissance, it is still treated as the ‘bad daughter’ in psychiatric settings and frowned upon by the general public. From the patient side however there is a large demand for effective and alternative treatments since treatment is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ thing and a lot of those patients fail to benefit from current treatments, leaving them in distress and despair with a pessimistic view on their future.

I think that we, psychedelic researchers, have the obligation to educate psychology students about the positive and negative effects of these substances since they will encounter this in their future work. When you have this knowledge you will be able to communicate to the lay audience and to patients in an objective manner about the current state of affairs regarding psychedelic medicine.

Course Duration and Dates
This is a three day course running from the 1st of July until the 3rd of July, 2020

The course will exist of keynotes, smaller lectures, discussion sessions, and writing a reflection report (half A4).

A typical day will look like this:
- 9:00- 11:30 Morning academic session
- 11:30-13:30 Lunch on your own in the city
- 13:30-15:30 Afternoon academic session
- 16:00-18:00 Discussion groups (small groups) and presentation of the group discussions
- 18:00: Closing of the day

Psychedelic Medicine 2.0 (PM 2.0) is designed around the four large classes of psychedelics and will provide an update about the field of psychedelic medicine based on preclinical and clinical work conducted by researchers worldwide.
Participants will be stimulated to think about the pros and cons of psychedelics in the treatment of disorders (such as depression, addiction and PTSD) and they will be able to discuss this with the experts at various moments during the workshop.
Keynotes will focus around general topics linked to PM 2.0 like neuro-ethics, legal position of psychedelics and show the perspective from the drug development side.
Key objectives of Psychedelic Medicine are:

• To learn about the terminology in psychedelic research: classifications (the 4 large classes and prototypical examples: psilocybin, MDMA, ketamine, cannabis), set and setting, micro- and regular doses, legal perspective
• To learn about the methodology of historical psychedelic research, its findings, its limitations in light of current gold standard and its merits
• To learn about the acute biological and psychological effects of prototypical psychedelic substances belonging to the 4 main classes in healthy volunteers and animals, tested in placebo-controlled experimental studies and naturalistic settings
• To learn about the therapeutic potential of psychedelics in the treatment of psychiatric disorders, their efficacy and safety and its putative underlying mechanism of action
• To discuss the future and pros and cons of psychedelic medicine

Instruction language

Having finished a Master of Science

Recommend literature
Per lecture, a number of recommended journal articles will be put online.

Teaching methods
Group discussions

Assessment methods
• Attendance
• Participation
• Presentation
• Assignment
During one of the discussion sessions you will present the conclusion of your group discussion for your group. At the end of the course you will be asked to write a reflection about the insights you have gained during this course

Course leader

Dr. Kim Kuypers

Target group

PhD & Post Doc - motivated MSc students may also apply

Fee info

EUR 598: €598 per programme