Whether it’s a shaman-led ayahuasca retreat or a virtual reality immersive experience, psychedelics are shifting the way we treat PTSD. And it’s opened up a whole new world of possibilities.
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Psychedelics: from ancient rituals to modern medicine
Psychedelics are nothing new in the larger scale of human history. Humans have been using them as long as we’ve been alive—in “shaman and pagan subcultures; African native religions; Bwiti Cult; South American native religions; Amazon Cultures; Central American Culture,” and more.
Psychedelics haven’t reached mainstream status to the point of having their medical uses recognized by the federal government—but they’re well on their way.
“Some of the most prominent universities in the world are studying four substances in particular: psilocybin, ketamine, MDMA and LSD.”New York Times
“MDMA,” for instance, “…is on course to be approved for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) within the next year or two.” And “synthetic forms of psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, were given ‘breakthrough’ designation by the FDA in 2018, allowing for fast-tracking of drug trials.”
With research showing their efficacy in helping with addiction, PTSD, and even anxiety & depression in terminally ill patients—we’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of psychedelics & their possible therapeutic applications.
This information has spread to a mainstream audience, helping practices like microdosing to skyrocket in popularity.
How can we market these practices to a mainstream audience?
As important as it is to educate your audience, the information won’t stick if we haven’t moved hearts and minds.
To see something that is new as ‘normal,’ the consumer needs to feel emotion. People open up to new ideas when they’re presented with human stories, as opposed to an infographic with statistics.
Results from the latest study on psychedelics in psychiatry won’t impact you as deeply as witnessing a Veteran in joyful tears—explaining how it’s helped his PTSD and he can finally live again.
Though still controversial to some, one thing is indisputable; psychedelics have promising scientific evidence and centuries of human history on their side. And this is true of many wellness practices that manage to stick around in that cultural zeitgeist (like plant-based eating and therapy)!
For more on wellness trends like these, see What Wellness Means to Consumers in 2022.
Virtual Reality: applying psychedelic science to technology
How about that segment of your audience that will never be open to trying psychedelics? Or simply can’t due to a health issue unrelated to their mental health?
Many don’t want to venture into something so far out of comfort zones, no matter how much it may help.
And scientists get that. So they’ve found the alternative.
Studies show that group VR experiences “diminish ego identity and increase one’s sense of connectedness” in a way comparable to psychedelics—so scientists and tech experts have come together to design immersive digital experiences based on these studies.
Brands like aNUma offer immersive group experiences that combine psychedelic science and virtual reality technology.
Psychedelics have never-ending potential—and Virtual Reality can bring the psychedelic experience into anyone’s therapeutic process.
Why keep up with psychedelic science & mental health studies?
To help audiences in the mental health industry, it’s imperative to stay in tune with scientific innovation. That way, as healthcare marketers, we can serve our communities with the best possible treatment options.