The PSYRES Foundation for the support of research and study of psychedelic substances and their use in pharmacology, psychology, addictology and psychiatry. The fund was established by Společnost pro podporu neurovědního výzkumu s.r.o. (company for the support of neurological research). Currently, doctors from the National Institute of Mental Health are members of the Board of Directors.
The main aim of the endowment foundation is to support research teams and workplaces focussing on the study of psychedelic substances. Primarily, the fund is dedicated to support studies in the areas of pharmacology, neurobiology, primary and secondary prevention of their hazardous use, psychology, addictology and psychiatry, which focus on the mechanisms of the psychotropic effects of these substances. In a wider context, the fund also supports social science projects directed at the cultural consequences and history of the use of psychedelics. The National Institute of Mental Health must figure at least as a co-research participant.
Why Support Psychedelic Research?
Research of How Our Brain Works
Psychedelics are a crucial tool allowing us to study the neurobiology of mental processes and certain pathologic states, especially psychosis. In the short-term, psychedelics dramatically affect human perception, experience, thinking and behaviour. The use of modern imaging methods (e.g. functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI, electroencephalography, EEG, positron emission tomography, PET etc.) help directly study the processes occurring in our brain on different levels. Thanks to the well-known pharmacologic mechanism of action we can also study the role of various neurochemical systems in these processes. Psychedelics now allow us to understand the causes mental illness and reveal new possibilities of treatment.
Use in the Treatment of Mental Illnesses and Addiction
Recently, evidence has been mounting in support of the direct use of some psychedelics such as ketamine, psilocybin, LSD and MDMA in the treatment of depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Psychedelic-assisted therapy appears to be effective where regular methods fail, especially in treatment of so-called pharmacoresistant states (not responding to commonly used medication). Also, new evidence has also come to light on the use of psychedelic psychotherapy in addiction treatment, as well as for some neurological disorders such as cluster headaches.
The growing interest in the use of psychedelics in treatment is documented by several completed or ongoing clinical evaluations of patients with various diagnoses (as monitored by www.clinnicaltrials.gov).
Use in Palliative Care and Treatment of Existentional Crisis
The use of psychedelics during our departure from this world has been a topic since the early studies in the 1950s. In the last ten years, studies have focusing on the use of psychedelics in palliative care, diminishing anxious and depressive symptoms and coping with the coming end. The first studies have shown that psilocybin and LSD can observably improve the quality of life in patients confronted with cancer and serious prognoses. Research in this area is spreading rapidly.
The repeated use of very small, psychologically inactive doses of psychedelics, approximately every 2 or 3 days, so-called micro-dosing, is currently highly popular amongst the lay population. Users have described a number of positive effects, such as improvements in creativity, anxiety diminishment and even anti-depressive effects. On the other hand, in some cases, anxiety can be magnified or there is no effect at all. Sadly, no quality-controlled study, which would confirm or disprove this effect, has been performed. Consequently, we are unsure about the real risks that may be associated with micro-dosing and whether the whole phenomenon may be an example of the so-called placebo effect. In order to answer these questions, pre-clinical studies on animals will first be needed.