Dr. Mike Hart on How the Psychedelic Industry Can Help Mental Health

Last month we had Dr. Mike Hart for an interview with The Dales Report. Dr. Hart is the Host of Heart to Hart Podcast and a medical doctor at the Ready To Go Clinic, offering treatments to patients that involve cannabis and ketamine. We’re thrilled to have Hart back with us again to discuss the different psychedelic compounds and how they can impact mental health, plus how the industry is benefitting from cannabis’ legalization.

Here’s some highlights from the interview.

The psychedelic molecule psilocybin affects mental health in part by breaking up your default mode network

Dr. Hart was quick to point out that LSD particularly was a little bit different than other psychedelic compounds because of the number of different analogues. But, he says, for the most part psilocybin and other psychedelic molecules impact what he says is the 5-HT2A receptor, and that’s what causes profound effects.

The psychedelic compound of psilocybin in particular, Hart says, is good for “breaking up your DMN – what we call your default mode network.” He goes on to explain that that means it is good for people who repeatedly make the same kinds of mistakes, and also for people who ruminate a lot, because ruminating involves repetitive thoughts that need to be interrupted.

Psychedelics’ perception benefitting from cannabis’ legalization

Dr. Hart believes that generally, legal and public approval will move much quicker for psychedelics because of the success that has been had with cannabis. There has not, he says, been much in the way of pushback; people are happy that it has been legalized and benefits are becoming clear, helping open-mindedness.

Interest in cannabis, he adds, has increased in older patients, particularly those who are using a lot of different pharmaceuticals and may be suffering from interactions due to polypharmacy. Cannabis can’t cure everything, Hart says, but it can help with things like aches and joint pain, epilepsy, nausea, nightmares and sleeplessness, and for some, that may be all that they need for healing. Some patients have more severe trauma and require something a little more potent for their mental health, however, and that’s where a psychedelic like psylocibin could come in.

Both cannabis and psychedelic compounds have an impact on empathy and improved mental health

Empathy can cause some feelings of guilt with regards to one’s behavior, and a little bit of guilt can significantly impact future behavior patterns, Hart says. Even cannabis “brings down your ego a little bit” so that you can think about things differently. While shaming is not something he wants to specifically advocate, he does admit that sometimes shame works. If they feel guilty about something they’ve done and feel remorse, Hart says, “that may make them a nicer person so to speak, and that lends to deep healing.”

COVID and financial worry is taking a toll

Dr. Hart says that in the neighborhood of 80-90% of his patients have said that COVID has taken a hit on their mental health. He admits that one thing doctors don’t talk about as much and are educated on is how sometimes medicine negates the impact of finances on overall mental health. People who aren’t working, who aren’t bringing in income, are going to have a low overall well-being because they don’t have the same sense of purpose.

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