Psychedelics have entered the mainstream, informing a multimillion dollar industry – but the majority of healthcare providers working directly with patients are unaware of the growing field of psychedelic therapy. The newly formed Psychedelic Medicine Association (PMA) remedies this with a collaborative platform created for medical professionals, organizations, and drug developers to educate and guide each other over emerging science, ethics and cultural issues in this rapidly developing field.
PMA President Dr. Lynn Marie Morski says her mission is not to preach to the choir. According to her, the organization “is primarily aimed at those on the front lines of primary care. Those are the providers who need to learn about the psychedelic medicines that are currently or soon-to-be available so that patients can be made aware of their full range of options.”
When the PMA officially kicked off on September 29th with an hour-long webinar, Dr. Morski gave a sneak peek at the sorts of issues which will occupy the Association going forward.
At the conference, Numinus medical director Dr. Devon Christie spoke to her own background as a primary care physician, suggesting crucial opportunities of exposing primary care providers to psychedelic medicine, such as including it in their “rotations” during their final year in med school. Sean McAllister, executive officer of the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Review Policy Board, spoke to extra-clinical settings such as the Decriminalize movement, and discussed the legal implications of off-label uses of psychedelics for “psychospiritual” purposes. Morski intends for these seemingly disparate agendas to co-exist within her organization while the PMA itself remains neutral.
“We believe that the first step is to create a framework for the conversation between key industry stakeholders, including many who will have opposing stances from each other. Therefore we will not be taking official positions on psychedelic use, we will solely be educating on the science behind their therapeutic uses,” Morski explains.
That said, the PMA is a signatory to the North Star Pledge, a guide of principles for the psychedelic industry, and Morski recently declared in the Psychedelic Therapy Podcast her intent to influence incoming psychedelic businesses by requiring they sign the pledge as a prerequisite for membership.
Since launching, Morski says she has several hundred members who are currently being processed and 30 organizations, including Fluence, Numinus, Maya Health, Field Trip and Heroic Hearts Foundation, amongst its members. Member dues comprise the bulk of funding for the PMA, which is organized as a social benefit corporation.
The PMA’s structure is designed for health care professionals to give direct feedback towards the companies making the medicines, rather than interfacing through sales representatives.
“Industry professionals will be offered the same fundamentals and a chance to speak with medical providers in an online community that will foster dialogue and help providers learn more about new psychedelic-based treatment options directly from those who are creating them,” says Morski. Her vision is that “organizational members will be able to recruit providers for clinical trials, gather data from providers on how therapeutic offerings are working, and offer training courses and workshops.”
In the coming months, Morski plans to extend her advisory board, which already includes Henri Saint-Cassia and Richard Skaife from the Conscious Fund and Dr. Kwasi Adusei, and bring new industry stakeholders into the fold, as well as to perform crucial outreach towards the primary care providers that are the Association’s strategic focus.
Maya Health CEO David Champion feels they’re off to a strong start. “In such a nascent industry it is essential to establish legitimacy, and I see the work Lynn Marie and her team are doing here as critical to that effort.I hope our Maya team can not only participate as fellow learners and community members, but also one day contribute what we’re learning, through our own research and data, to this group of pioneers in the field,” says Champion.