Using Psychedelics To Treat Addictions
5 Questions About The DMT Molecule
Jamie Bussin and Timothy Ko
In Episode #162 of THE TONIC Talk Show, the CEO of Entheon Biomedical spoke about the efficacies of treating addictions with stabilized DMT molecules. This is an excerpt from that interview. The full interview can be found at www.thetonic.ca
I think what’s driving this is the faults within the current medical system’s treatment of substance use and abuse. Our work addresses the limitations of the current medicalized treatment model for treating substance disorder. Societally we’re all bearing witness to those failures. In Vancouver alone, we have overdose deaths at a rate of 120 to 180 persons per month. Drug addictions and substance disorders tear at the fabric of society at every imaginable level. Hospital costs and policing is a drain. On a personal level it’s destructive to individuals and their families. All of the conventional models of treatments are extremely low on the efficacy rates, as low as 5 to 10%. Stand-alone treatments for individuals can cost from $5,000 to $30,000; some drug users will have 6 drug treatment stents in their life – often resulting in death.
Your company, Entheon, is taking a different approach. What is that? Trying to stabilize the patient with a variety of things. Whether it’s medication such as antidepressants, antipsychotics and psychedelics, so that they can do some introspective work such as psychotherapy, a 12 step-like therapy, with a view to assessing their internal make up, what their barriers are, what their catchments are so that they can rework that and get to a place of meaningful reformation of their internal characteristics and from there their behaviors will change. But the reality is that for a lot of drug abusers there is this intractable trauma that makes conventional methods difficult. As you delve deeper into their core truths, the trauma patients tend to retreat even further even into dissociation. We understand with psychedelics, that really key component of creating profound introspection, that epiphanic unearthing of core truths can’t just be delivered without context of a psychotherapy environment. We’re creating that network of support that precedes and follows the psychedelic experience to help optimize integration of that experience so the individual can have some consolidation, recontextualizing who they are, their belief systems, what motivates them and breaking through their traumatic barriers so they can have different behaviours, that aren’t driven by pain or fear.
Why are you using the DMT molecule for this purpose? DMT is the active ingredient in Ayahuasca – a psychoactive “jungle brew” employed generally in South American cultures to treat “diseases of despair” – the existential feeling of being lost. The Ayahuasca experience creates this massively profound introspective journey where the individual will have these deeply personal experiences. One of the limitations of Ayahuasca is that it is very difficult to create repeatable, precise doses for medical purposes. We’re taking a purely synthetic version of DMT and administering it in a safe, gradual and precise way that is controllable by a physician. The Ayahuasca experience can take 6-12 hours during which the individual may have an overwhelmingly difficult situation they may not be prepared for – there is no “off switch”. Whereas our approach is via a regulated intravenous pump. If the experience gets too intense, we can modulate the dosing or even stop it altogether, with a return to baseline functions within 15-20 minutes. The patients arrive at that therapeutic place gradually. We’re using the right molecules delivered in the right way so that we can create a very customized, safe experience.
Explain a little bit about the regulatory process you’ve gone through. Even though psychedelics are in a unique space, novel in some regards, the reality is that the population that we’re trying to help are medicalized. They have medical disorders. The traditional drug discovery pathway that exists for other pharmaceutical companies exists for us too. So we’re engaged in all the necessary clinical trial steps and we’re engaging all the necessary regulators like Health Canada, the FDA and the European agency when appropriate. We have signed our clinical trials agreement with our research partner in the Netherlands. We also have our GMP production agreement signed. We anticipate having all the pieces in place for human clinical trials in Q3 or Q4.
I understand that the work Entheon is doing is very personal for you. Everyone has probably been affected by knowing someone with addictions. My story is no different. My brother was a longtime drug user, since the age of 17. He suffered a traumatic event in his teens, and his way of coping was to take up drugs. Initially it started pretty innocently. But over the course of two decades that drug use did escalate to being highly problematic and apparent and involved over 8 treatment attempts. He was medicated. He spent hundreds if not thousands of hours with therapists. For two years I was responsible for overseeing my brother’s care. I saw well intentioned professionals earnestly trying to help my brother, but he slipped further into a state of dissociation and we lost him eventually. I’ve used DMT and have undergone psychotherapy to help me work through my own traumatic issues relating to my family of origin and my relationship with my brother and my father – issues woven into the fabric of who I was. DMT really did help me reformat my understanding of my attachments and resentments, my outlook on life. I was teetering on the edge of something very dark and I’m so lucky that I found out what was on the other side of that.
For more information about Timothy Ko and his work at Entheon Biomedical please visit entheonbiomedical.com