The queen of new age therapies, Gwyneth Paltrow, has a great idea to treat all kinds of mental disorders, from depression to anxiety and has shared it with all Netflix. What do experts think about using mushrooms and MDMA as psychological therapy?
The first episode of the documentary series dedicated to the universe of new-age therapies by Gwyneth Paltrow came with controversy: Gwyneth, with the approval of Netflix, checks the use of psychedelic substances (specifically psilocybin and MDMA ) to treat mental disorders, from stress post-traumatic depression and anxiety.
Is it a new eccentricity of the woman who sells candles on her web that smells her genitals? Or do the testimonies that appear in The Goop Lab have any scientific validity? Part of these testimonies is carried out by representatives of an organization that knows a lot about these drugs: MAPS. “This organization has been funded for some time to test the application of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy (“ ecstasy ”) in Post-traumatic Stress Disorders resistant to other treatments – explains Dr. Luis Caballero Martínez. Head of the Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology Service of the HM Hospitals Group-. But as far as I know, no approval has been derived in this regard. Being drugs of abuse and with a potential risk, their eventual approval by the regulatory agencies (if it were finally produced) would be subject to rigorous requirements and controls ”.
The therapeutic use of psychotropics is not a novelty
As much as it may surprise us, neither Gwyneth Paltrow has found a strange and hidden therapy nor the use of these substances is a subject that science has eluded and kept secret. In fact, in the twentieth century, there was a great interest in the use of psychedelic drugs for psychiatric treatment, but the poor results and the subsequent approval of the Substance Act of 1970 in the US significantly limited the progress of these investigations. and, consequently, its results.
Psychotropics are agonists of different brain neurotransmission systems, that is, they affect our central nervous system and produce a release of the glutamate neurotransmitter (among other actions). The result? He who consumes them perceives temporary changes in perception, mood, state of consciousness and behavior.
“The potential of these substances to treat certain mental ailments has led the US FDA to approve the study of some psychedelics in therapeutic means but, to date, no authorization has been derived from these studies,” says Dr. Luis Caballero Martínez.
Now, interest in therapeutic psychedelic research has been reborn. An example of this is the review of studies conducted by researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the Washington School of Medicine that analyzes the use of psychedelic medications such as psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, and ayahuasca, in the treatment of various psychiatric diseases, including treatment-resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and substance use disorders.
His conclusion? That the research accumulated to date suggests that there is a possibility that psychedelics may arise that can be used in therapies for psychiatric conditions that do not respond to conventional treatments. However, for now, given the high potential for misuse, it also recommended caution and further investigation. “It should be clarified that there is talk of short psychotherapies assisted by psychedelics, not the regular, prolonged or indiscriminate taking of psychedelics as drugs.”, Says the expert.
Not everything goes as psychotropic therapy
It is in the form and not in the data that the Gwyneth Paltrow documentary fails. With the premise (certain) that there is a renewed interest in the investigation of these substances to combat mental illnesses resistant to everything else, the screen of our television parades situations that we could define as exotic.
Like when he sends his assistant and a group of volunteers from the Goop team to Jamaica to have a therapeutic experience drinking a tea of psychotropic mushrooms in a “therapeutic environment” in which therapists also drink a tea of psychotropic mushrooms. “When talking about the ” therapeutic environment “you have to ask who offers it and how it guarantees because under that heading it is not uncommon to offer unconventional practices, without guarantees and even illegal, ” says Dr. Luis Caballero Martínez.
Let us not fool ourselves, therefore, from what we see on Netflix: if the use of psychotropics for the treatment of depression or anxiety is ever approved, it will not be to consume them on our own in a cabin in the rainforest lying on A carpet on the floor. That is not a therapy, it is a television show.