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In union with the month of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, Torrey Holistics is hosting a Cannabis & Mental Health campaign to educate on the different ways that cannabis can serve as a gateway to wellness. We will be diving into current scientific research, as well as collaborate with individuals and brands who focus on the connection between healing and plant medicine. 

We’ve had the honor to speak directly with Connie Glenn, a licensed psychotherapist, on the current climate of research regarding the emerging use of plant medicine in conjunction with therapy. Connie Glenn is an experienced EMDR therapist with training in Energy Psychology, Emotionally Focused Therapy, Expressive Arts Therapy and Mindfulness.

Linda: What led you towards your current professional venture to plant medicine research?

Connie Glenn

Connie Glenn

Connie Glenn: I am a licensed psychotherapist specializing in a type of therapy called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) which is a well documented treatment for trauma. As an EMDR therapist, I’ve worked with many people who suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, addictions, and other mental health issues. Sometimes the healing journey can be a slow one, especially when there has been a lot of trauma, and healing can take a lot of time, effort, and patience. However, over the last few years, I have had clients seek me out for psychotherapy as an adjunct to their psychedelic medicine sessions, and the healing I witnessed was impressive. It got me excited and curious about Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy. I found a training center in California which trains psychotherapists to work in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (the only legal psychedelic outside of clinical trials) and connected with companies doing clinical trials of other substances where I have received specialized training. Some of the greats of modern mental health practice and research have also taken an interest in the healing potential of psychedelics and plant medicine, including Dr. Gabor Mate (his new documentary The Wisdom of Trauma talks about his work with Ayahuasca) and Bessel van der Kolk (trauma expert and researcher studying MDMA for treatment of PTSD).

Linda: Can you walk us through the basis of your research?

Connie Glenn: I have had the privilege of connecting with those at work on clinical trials of psychedelics, and am working on the trial for 5MeO-DMT for Treatment Resistant Depression, but because these studies are still in their research phases, there is not much I can share about them unfortunately!  These clinical trials are being conducted by seasoned and reputable organizations who want to be sure we get it right this time. There is a concern that this amazing progress could get shut down again, like it was during the first wave with Timothy Leary, so there is a lot of effort to maintain the highest levels of credibility of this work. Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind does a great job of explaining the past, present, and future of psychedelics and mental health.

Linda: What is the connection between psychedelics and mental health?

Connie Glenn: The great opportunity that psychedelics seem to offer is a refresh of a person’s neural circuitry. Besides the actual experience of being on the medicine, which can be quite profound, for a day or two after taking a psychedelic such as ketamine, brains seem to have increased neural plasticity. Dormant areas of the brain “wake up”, new neural connections can be made, and new healthy templates can be created, getting people out of old negative patterns into new healthier ones. What I found from my work with those clients as well as reading the research was that people can get better faster from serious mental health issues such as treatment resistant depression, suicidality, PTSD, and addictions.. It is important to note that it isn’t just the medicines by themselves that seem to have the best effect. The adjunctive psychotherapy, which happens before, sometimes during, and especially after, helps the client make sense of and integrate their experience for real, lasting change.

Linda: In your opinion, what is the future of plant medicine as therapy? How would you like to see the practice grow?

Connie Glenn: The future is here and more psychedelics will likely be getting FDA approval in the next few years, including psilocybin and MDMA. However, the price points for these therapies are going to prohibit many people who need them from actually getting them. This is an area of opportunity for the field, how to keep it accessible and not just for the privileged few.

You can find out more about plant medicine and current clinical trials at https://clinicaltrials.gov/.

  These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. Nothing said, done, typed, printed or reproduced by Torrey Holistics is intended to diagnose, prescribe, treat or take the place of a licensed physician.

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Linda Morachis (she/her) is a Social Media Coordinator under Hall & Gans Marketing LLC. Her specialities include blending passion for language and experience in Digital Marketing.

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