In this episode, Joe invites Court Wing to co-host, interviewing two members of UC San Diego’s Psychedelics and Health Research Initiative (PHRI): Joel Castellanos, MD (Associate Medical Director of PHRI and board-certified physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine physician), and Timothy Furnish, MD (Medical Director of PHRI and Associate Clinical Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine).
As one of the early participants of a psilocybin-for-depression trial in NYC, Court Wing (of REMAP Therapeutics) discovered that immediately after the session, his chronic pain had miraculously gone away. He began researching how psychedelics could be used (with or without other therapies) to continue the alleviation of pain psychedelics had brought him. Through the Psychedelics and Health Research Initiative, Drs. Castellanos and Furnish are following that that same road, and are currently recruiting for a randomized controlled trial on psilocybin for phantom limb pain.
They talk about the relationship between the mind and chronic pain: how people confuse pain with the simple act of nerves firing, but how it’s so much more. And they discuss how pain can become part of one’s identity (and how the Default Mode Network could be contributing); how physical therapy is related to neuroplasticity; mirror box therapy; microdosing for chronic pain; the unusual nature of phantom limb pain; and where the mystical psychedelic experience may come into play. If this topic is as fascinating to you as it is to us, stay tuned – we will be featuring much more on chronic pain and psychedelics, including a blog series from Court Wing coming soon.
“One of the things that may be unique about or interesting about chronic pain is that the longer it goes on, the more people start seeing pain as a part of their identity and that Default Mode Network is probably playing a role in that. And it’s possible that something like psychedelics could open up the possibility of changing that internal story so that pain is no longer so much a part of one’s identity.” -Tim
“I think that people oftentimes confuse pain with simply nerves firing. …[But] there is this rich interplay between the way we think about pain, the way we perceive pain, and how we feel about it.” -Tim
“When you’re not really dealing with chronic or severe pain on a daily basis, it’s really hard to think about how life-changing that is or can be.” -Joel
“When we hear things like ‘It’s only just in your head,’ I don’t think people quite get [that] the head can be a scary place to be trapped sometimes.” -Court
PHRI.ucsd.edu: Psychedelics and Health Research Initiative at UC San Diego
Psychedelics Today: Court Wing – Pain and Its Relationship to the Mind
Pubmed: Chronic pain and psychedelics: a review and proposed mechanism of action
Sciencedirect.com: Mirror Visual Feedback Therapy. A Practical Approach
Sinobiological.com: What is tumor necrosis factor (TNF)
Neuropathycure.org: Cryoneurolysis: A Freezing Cold Way To Treat Chronic Nerve Pain
Journals.lww.com: Microdosing psilocybin for chronic pain: a case series
Healthgrades.com: Diagnosing and Treating Anhedonia: Loss of Pleasure Explained