New psychedelic science group forms at Yale

A newly formed group will allow clinicians and scholars from across Yale to learn about and discuss the re-emerging field of psychedelic science and therapeutics.

The Yale Psychiatry and Psychedelics Group (YPPG) was organized so residents, fellows, graduate students, mental health practitioners, and faculty members can learn about the use of alternative medicines such as psychedelic substances.

Psychedelic science is enjoying revival after nearly 50 years of dormancy in clinical research settings and clinical practice. Most psychedelic substances have been classified as “drugs of abuse” with no recognized medical value since the early 1970s, when research into their use was terminated.

However, controlled clinical studies have recently been performed to assess the basic psychopharmacological properties and therapeutic efficacy of these drugs as adjuncts to existing psychotherapeutic approaches.

For instance, investigations are taking place on the use of psychedelic substances for treating illnesses such as addiction, depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Members of YPPG will meet January 19 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in The Beaumont Room at the Yale School of Medicine for an introductory presentation on historical perspectives of psychedelic research in psychiatry, and an overview of recent seminal research in the field.

The speaker will be Peter H. Addy, PhD, associate research scientist in anesthesiology, and one of three faculty organizers of YPPG. Other faculty organizers are Gerald Valentine, MD, clinician in psychiatry; and Robert Krause, MSN, APRN-BC, lecturer at the Yale School of Nursing.

Resident and fellow organizers of YPPG are Ben Kelmendi, psychiatry fellow, and Jordan Sloshower and Ryan Wallace, psychiatry residents.

The group plans to meet the third Tuesday of the month to examine the intersection of mental illness, psychopharmacology, and psychedelic substances from a historically-informed and critical perspective, and mold new trends of thought in the field. It will seek to answer the questions:

  • What are psychedelic substances?
  • How do they affect the brain?
  • What is the evidence to guide clinical use?

Reading will focus on historical literature as well as new texts. Prominent researchers and psychiatrists from other institutions will be invited to speak.

YPPG will also be a forum for its members to discuss their research work and ideas.

This article was submitted by Christopher S Gardner on January 4, 2016.