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UCL To Lead First-Ever Brain Imaging Study Among Psychedelic Retreat Participants

Despite naysayers and prevailing attitudes echoing into the present day, it’s clear today that psychedelic medicine at the very least carries potential in treating mental health conditions and symptoms that have otherwise been difficult to treat or entirely resistant to treatment.

Research on psychedelics and mental health treatment is largely based around psychedelic centers. This model provides the basis for legal psychedelictherapy. In states where psychedelic substances have been legalized, such as psilocybin or any of the ketamine clinics that are already in operation in the U.S.A., it is common to use a combination therapy with a controlled dosage of psychedelics and guidance from licensed professionals.

What about psychedelic getaways? This tailor-made getaway to psychedelic destinations is often in countries that allow psychedelic drugs. It helps patients seek symptom relief or a mental reset in luxurious settings. 

F.I.V.E., a training program that trains public psychedelics professionals, has launched. Tandava Retreats announced that it will collaborate with University College London (UCL), in order to conduct the first ever EEG brain imaging study on 5-MeO–DMT among retreat centre participants. Benzinga reports. 

Study collaborators are generally looking to uncover more information on 5-MeO-DMT’s mechanism of action and specifically within naturalistic settings over medical/clinical settings, along with how retreat participants could be better served as they use the substance in this setting.

The study’s principal investigator Jeremy Skipper said it’s important to look at the actual contexts these psychedelics are used in order to best understand the effects of such substances. 

“We hope to contribute not only to a better scientific understanding of how 5-MeO-DMT works in the brain, but also to enabling individualized approaches that maximize the efficacy of 5-MeO-DMT therapies and retreats,” Skipper told Benzinga.

Joel Brierre from Tandava, also CEO at F.I.V.E. will be co-ordinating the study. President Victoria Wueschner. The study will collect both quantitative and qualitative data on Tandava participants. It will assess changes in well being, beliefs, personality, and lifestyle. The study will use spontaneous neural imagery electroencephalography (EEG) on participants both before and during the psychoactive experience.

“These retreats allow you to explore the deepest realms of your innermost being, address behavioral habits that no longer serve you, and give you the freedom of life that you seek,” the Tandava website states. “We believe that no one should be a victim of their own mental patterning.”

Tandava, located in Tepoztlan Mexico, has all the facilities you would expect for a vacation. It includes a sauna, hot jacuzzi and communal areas. There is also plenty to eat and drink. With practitioners and integration specialists with varying backgrounds, Tandava offers a number of options, including a “transcultural” framework, an Indigenous/Shamanic approach, even a journey grounded by yoga. 

Site also states that every Tandava guide was on his or her own psychedelic adventure. 

Research has already affirmed that 5-MeO-DMT used in a naturalistic group setting can improve depression and anxiety, though of course there’s still a lot of catching up to do to fully understand its impacts, and the impacts of other psychedelic substances. It is generally derived from the Sonoran Desert Toad. Bufo alvariusTandava Retreats, however, uses synthetic 5-MeO -DMT in order to help species conservation as well as sourcing sustainability.

“We have found the experience of synthetic 5-MeO-DMT to be identical in nature to the toad secretion, which is important to note during the rise in popularity of this medicine,” Brierre told Benzinga. “Not only is synthetic safer and more effective to use with participants, but it has the repeatable consistency and precision dosage needed for proper research to be done.”

While the cost of the study will be approximately $108,437. A U.K.-based charity donated already $40,898. Tandava will match all funds and donate retreat and integration expenses for 15 participants. For those who are interested, there’s a Crowdfund.