Exploratory research

The need for mental health and substance use health services has never been greater. As diagnoses and mental health conditions become increasingly more complex, researchers and clinicians must look to novel approaches and that can help us better understand and treat mental illness and addictions. HRI is continuing to work with leading scientists, clinicians and others to explore emerging treatment modalities that may hold promise.

Psychedelics as medicine

Psychedelics are psychoactive substances that affect all of the senses, altering a person’s mood, cognition, and perception. Sometimes known as hallucinogens, psychedelics have been used by many cultures throughout history and have been thought to carry spiritual, mystical, and healing properties. Scientific studies of psychedelics as medicine erupted in the 1950s but were halted in the early 1970s, when new drug safety regulations came into effect and drugs like LSD were designated as experimental.

Psychedelic-assisted therapy has re-emerged in clinical research settings in recent years, as scientists and clinicians seek to understand the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for treating addictions, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

HRI published a comprehensive review of recent studies on “Psychedelics as Medicine” in collaboration with Queen’s University. The review examines a range of themes, including Indigenous perspectives, treatment outcomes, health and safety, and implications for public health and policy. The review is co-authored by:

Dr. Brian Rush, PhD
Senior Scientist, Homewood Research Institute

Dr. Olivia Marcus, MPH, PhD
Post-doctoral Fellow, New York University
Rory Meyers College of Nursing

Dr. Ron Shore, MPA, PhD
Research Scientist, Queen’s Health Sciences
Post-doctoral Fellow, Public Health Sciences,
Queen’s University