As part of our Innovator Series, Intertrust hosted Dr. Paul Abramson, physician and founder at My Doctor Medical Group for an evening tech talk on psychedelics and healthcare technology. Moderated by Talal Shamoon, CEO of Intertrust, the talk discussed the rapidly changing healthcare industry, the rise in the use of psychedelics for the treatment of psychiatric disorders and other medical applications, and the political climate around the use of these drugs.
Dr. Abramson discussed the medical benefits of psychedelics by portraying the various uses of these drugs. He noted that psychedelics were originally used in Buddhism in various meditation styles and also by indigenous people around the world. However, the widespread use of psychedelics in modern times was brought about when Westerners began to experiment with these drugs for either research or recreation. The talk was focused primarily on ketamine.
According to Dr. Abramson, ketamine’s use range from being used as an anesthetic during pet surgeries to treating depression. Another application is tackling extreme cases of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). As discussed in the talk, the most promising modern application of ketamine is in what is called “psychedelic therapy.” The use of these drug in conjunction with therapy sessions has proven to be very effective—approximately 60% of the people were not depressed after three days of psychedelic therapy. Psychedelic therapy is widely practiced in the US and Europe and is said to be more effective than traditional psychotherapy.
The topic of psychedelics is controversial. Dr. Abramson’s point is that when used in the right amounts in a controlled setting and with adequate supervision, they can prove to be very helpful.
Dr. Abramson also went over the political implications of the potential extensive and open use of psychedelic drugs should they be legalized. The use of these drugs for nearly anything has many negative connotations and is looked at with a lot of skepticism, so coming up with appropriate policies is not an easy process. However, Dr. Abramson discussed the example of Portugal where all drugs were decriminalized. After an initial phase of turmoil, the economy benefited and the crime rate went down.
About Tanay Gupta
Tanay Gupta is a senior studying Economics and Data Science at University of California, Berkeley. He is currently interning with Intertrust as a Market Research Associate - Intern in the Marketing Team.