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A Psychedelic Year in Review: What Made the Most Impact in 2022?

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A Psychedelic Year in Review: What Made the Most Impact in 2022?

Looking back at the last twelve months, it’s apparent that the psychedelic world has changed – matured, evolved, expanded. To help put these developments into perspective, Lucid News reached out to some experts in the field to share their perspectives by answering the question: What do you consider to be the most significant thing to happen in psychedelics in 2022? 

Ingmar Gorman, co-founder and chief executive officer of Fluence

In 2022 the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies completed the second Phase 3 study of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD, which is known as MAPP2. This enormous accomplishment represents a psychedelic treatment that is farthest along in clinical development and closest to its potential to become a perscribable psychedelic medicine.

Lia Mix, licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in multicultural populations

Most significant? The back-to-back announcements on Saturday’s stage at Horizons NYC of the proposed federal initiative on psychedelics and the launch of the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association. Two retired military generals followed by a Black doctor, a Latinx doctor, an Indian doctor and an Elder female psychedelic therapist. Both projects are specifically designed for diverse, inclusive stakeholder representation and collaboration in creating safe access to psychedelics. These projects remind us that not one of us has “the answer”. We absolutely need each other in this great unfolding. 

Ronan Levy, co-founder and chief executive officer of Field Trip

The most important thing that has happened over the last year with respect to the acceptance of psychedelics is actually what hasn’t happened. Mainstream psychedelic adoption has continued in earnest – from celebrities like Aaron Rodgers and Megan Fox coming out of the psychedelic closet to Colorado becoming the second US state to approve legal access — and there has been no pushback. No resistance. No fears. No crackdowns. Nothing. Instead, the White House is preparing for the impending broad-based access to MDMA and psilocybin. This is not a repeat of the 1960s. It’s going to be way better. 

Julie Holland, author of “Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics”

This year’s big news was two new protocols in development, one at UCLA and one at Zucker Hillside hospital in New York, to see if MDMA-assisted therapy may be helpful in people with schizophrenia. Also related and important: the idea that psychedelics may be helpful in the treatment of brain injuries. I’m happy that more people are talking about psychedelics enabling neuroplasticity, and I’m thrilled that more people are going to be able to access psychedelic-assisted therapies in more cities and states legally in the U.S. 

Michael Cotton, chief executive officer at Caidan Management

It is obviously quite historic for our Congress to form a caucus around psychedelic therapy. I’m hopeful it will help catalyze policy changes for funding research and developing infrastructure for care delivery. 

Zoe Helene, founder of Cosmic Sister

I see more people addressing our individual and collective responsibility for the Age of Extinction. The time is now. And while it may be too late, it is heartwarming and hopeful to witness more and more people joining this current of the greater movement. This includes more people taking keen interest in protecting and promoting earth-based sacred psychoactives as opposed to patented synthetic pharmaceuticals, and I see good buzz around essential ethical concepts such as sacred reciprocity, access and accessibility, and divine diversity (well beyond tokenism).

Ethan Nadelmann, host of the Psychoactive podcast

Colorado’s psychedelics reform ballot initiative, Proposition 122, which voters approved in November 2022. That victory proved that the victory of Measure 109 in Oregon two years earlier was no fluke, and thereby increased the momentum for reform of both psychedelics laws in other states as well as federal law and policy. It is, in many respects, bolder and more substantial than Oregon’s law. And it provides an opportunity for the two states to learn from one another and provide models for others to come.

Payton Nyquvest, co-founder and chief executive officer of Numinus

In 2022, Health Canada reinstated psychedelic-assisted therapy as part of the Special Access Program, meaning Canadians in severe need of innovative, evidence-based treatments could apply for access. Through Numinus, we supported a handful of successful applications and are proud that we are part of the solution for people struggling with deep mental health challenges. I also believe the federal change in Canada helped pave the way for Oregon, Colorado, and Alberta to instigate changes at the local level in 2022. In 2023, access will hopefully be further expanded, and more clients will be approved for psilocybin- and MDMA-assisted therapy.

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Bia Labate, co-founder and executive director of Chacruna

Colorado’s Prop 122 has been an incredible achievement. It allows for liberalized access to psychedelic healing for adults 21 and older and stakeholder engagement in development of the regulations around that. The bill starts with creating access to psilocybin, and beginning in June 2026, the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) could expand the policy change to include three other natural medicines – DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline (excluding peyote). It is a great irony that a so-called Western and ‘civilized nation’ still perpetuates a drug policy system rooted in colonialism – after all, sacred plants were outlawed due to religious and moral dogma, and stigma towards Indigenous people, their knowledge and practices. 

Jesse Gould, founder and president of the Heroic Hearts Project

2022 was a sobering year for the psychedelic space. After a few years of limitless excitement, positive news reports and research, and huge investor cash inflows, 2022 signaled a coming back to reality. Many psychedelic businesses closed or downsized, funding sources dried up, and many had to come to the realization that this next phase will be complicated. But this is good; this is necessary. The industry is maturing and we need to have realistic expectations before forging ahead. 

Sandor Iron Rope, chairman of the Native American Church of South Dakota

This year saw the formation of the Indigenous Medicine Conservation fund to support the sovereign protection of the medicines, ecologies and traditional knowledges indigenous communities have honored for thousands of years. Indigenous keystone medicines, traditional cultures and territories are at risk of cultural and physical extermination. Generational healing for Indigenous people is what medicine conservation is about. Because by ensuring that you have supply of healthy medicine, you are ensuring that every child has healthy medicine, and in turn, that is a chance at a healthy life.

Chris Kilham, author, educator, and founder of Medicine Hunter, Inc. 

The single most important thing that happened in psychedelics in 2022 was the continued expansion of whole plant knowledge, in media, herbalism and in psychedelics specifically. A deep appreciation for the constellation of compounds that have evolved in plants and fungi over billions of years keeps at bay the reductionist notion that a single molecule delivers the goods. Those who hew close to the true nature of psychedelics know well that there is splendor and greater healing in their naturally evolved complexity.

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