From research to reality: Global summit on psychedelic-assisted therapies and medicine

About the conference

From May 26-29, 2022, an international conference will be held on the topic of research into psychedelic substances for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders, titled From Research to Reality: Global Summit on Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies and Medicine. The conference is being planned by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in collaboration with the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) and the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC). 

The goal of the conference is to bring policymakers, researchers, and clinicians together, in the interest of moving psychedelics research forward into both policy and practice. It will focus on rigorous scientific studies reflecting high-quality scholarship and research, and include panels on pathways to the regulation of psychedelic substances and on the intersection of science and spirituality, among other topics. 

The conference will also have a dedicated track to examine the use of psychedelics in the treatment and management of substance use disorders, including nicotine, cocaine, alcohol, and opioids.

Two key aims of the conference are to encourage collaboration between researchers and knowledge exchange with policy makers to help increase the scale and visibility of research on psychedelics. Thirdly, to overcome emerging hurdles for different communities, the conference will emphasize equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility at all levels of planning in order to stimulate progress.

This conference will be unique from other conferences devoted to psychedelic-assisted therapy because of its: 

  • attention to academic research
  • focus on substance use and addiction
  • engagement of leaders in public policy and regulation
  • interdisciplinary scope
  • prioritization of diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility at all levels.

Webinar series

As the conference has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a webinar series is being hosted by EENet to continue the momentum for this work.

Objectives

  • Enhance knowledge of emerging evidence in the field of psychedelic substances for the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders.
  • Build relationships between stakeholders in the fields of psychedelics research, prescribing, and regulating, to assist in moving research into policy and practice.
  • Highlight the need for investment in psychedelics research.
  • Build interest in the 2022 From Research to Reality conference.

 

The first webinar in the series will be held on April 22, 2021 at 1:00p.m. EST. This webinar will be on The intersection of science and spirit in psychedelics research.

Intended audience

The target audiences for this conference and webinar series are researchers, clinicians, regulators and policy makers in the health sector, as well as individuals trained or in training as therapists for psychedelic-assisted clinical interventions. Members of the public are also welcome to attend the webinar series.

Please note that the webinars will be provided in English only.

Background

The term psychedelics refers to a class of drugs that produce “non-ordinary states of consciousness” and can change our sense of self and the world. Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy aims to harness these effects to address the traumas, beliefs, and neurobiological and behavioural patterns underlying mental health and substance use disorders.

Psychedelics showed great promise as psychotherapeutic catalysts in the 1950s and 60s, but historical and political variables led to these drugs being declared illegal in most countries, despite a lack of evidence for toxicity or addictive potential. This severely limited the continuation of research.

Over the last 20 years, researchers have started to receive new exemptions and funding to obtain and study these drugs, leading to a rise in research outputs, investment in research centres, and research application around scheduling and best practices for therapeutic application.

Results emerging from recent years of psychedelic science have clear therapeutic implications for addiction and mental health. Research is leading the way in examining the effectiveness of different psychedelics in treating conditions such as depression, anxiety (including post-traumatic stress disorder and end-of-life anxiety), and substance use disorders. Given that there are so few reliable treatment options for many people experiencing substance-related and mental health disorders, more investment and research into psychedelic-assisted therapies and medicine could help address current treatment gaps.

Conference planning committee

  • Dr. Brian Rush, Senior Scientist, CAMH
  • Dr. Dominique Morisano, CPsych, Collaborator Scientist, CAMH; Adjunct Professor, University of Toronto; Chief Psychologist, Field Trip Health 
  • Dr. Monnica Williams, CPsych, Canada Research Chair for Mental Health Disparities, University of Ottawa
  • Dr. Doris Payer, Knowledge Broker, CCSA
  • Dr. Sukhpreet Klaire, BC Centre on Substance Use
  • Dr. Mary Bartram, Director, Mental Health and Substance Use, MHCC
  • Dr. Thomas Babor, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, and Professor, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
  • Operations Advisor: Cynthia Trayling, Director, IMHPR Administration, Director IMHPR Administration, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, CAMH
  • Communications Advisor: Lauren Clegg, Manager, Research & Centres Of Innovation Communications, CAMH

Project partners and funders 

CAMH logo         CCSA logo        MHCC logo

Webinar series is co-hosted by Evidence Exchange Network (EENet).

 

Project Contact: 

Project contact

For more information, contact Doris Payer, Knowledge Broker, CCSA at Dpayer [at] ccsa [dot] ca or Brian Rush, Senior Scientist, CAMH at brian [dot] rush [at] camh [dot] ca.    

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