As the number of psychedelic clinical trials increases at a steep pace, it can be difficult for prospective volunteers to find one that’s best suited for them. Psychedelic Support, an online global network of healthcare providers working with psychedelic-assisted therapies, has been developing a solution to address this challenge. In 2018, they began publishing an extensive directory of clinical trials conducted by institutions like the Beckley Foundation, The Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and Heffter Research Institute.
Today it has grown to include over 60 studies for the medical use of MDMA, Psilocybin, LSD, Ibogaine, and Salvinorin. It also directs users to a government directory for studies involving cannabis and ketamine, which they say are “too many to list.”
Last updated in March, the studies are actively enrolling. Some are already underway while others will begin in the near future. They seek both healthy volunteers and those suffering from specific mental health conditions.
“It was exciting to see the growing number of psychedelic clinical trials,” says Ali Feduccia, neuropharmacologist and co-founder/director of Psychedelic Support. “We want our audience to be able to see the full research landscape.”
The directory was also created in response to a clear need. “We got a lot of inquiries at Psychedelic Support about how to legally access psychedelic therapy,” she says.
The list is manually updated about every 6 months. “We search trial registry sites like clinicaltrials.gov,” says Feduccia, adding that “research in the US that involves investigational treatments or devices must register on this site.”
Clinical trials involving psychedelics have been criticized for lacking diversity. Feduccia says the key to attracting a wider range of participants is a diverse therapist and research staff. She also says that providing education into minority populations about the trials is important, as well as offering compensation to attract people from a range of economic backgrounds. Feduccia says it will take a more concerted effort and dedicated funding for psychedelic trial participants to be truly diverse.
According to Feduccia, some organizations are already taking steps to remedy this problem by “offering training specifically for therapists of color to address this point.”
More diversity among therapists and researchers may ultimately be the critical factor going forward. Berra Yazar-Klosinski, Ph.D., MAPS’s Deputy Director and Head of Research Development and Regulatory Affairs recently said that financial support only resulted in “incremental change” when it came to increasing diversity in their MDMA clinical trials, and that MAPS is currently working on inviting more therapists of color into their MDMA program.