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Business provides psychedelic services to help with trauma, grief, depression

<i>WJZ via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Psilocybin is only legal in Colorado and Oregon
WJZ via CNN Newsource
Psilocybin is only legal in Colorado and Oregon

By Paul Gessler

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    BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Many Americans are turning to psychedelics to manage trauma, stress or depression.

A business in North Baltimore specializes in shepherding people through the process while Maryland lawmakers consider legalizing some of the substances.

State lawmakers recently passed a bill to study psychedelics.

White noise fills the halls of Inner Path Wellness in North Baltimore. Every patient room is filled.

“We have an EMDR,” said microdosing coach Eleanor Bramwell, co-founder of Inner Path Baltimore. “In another room, we have acupuncture, a virtual psychotherapy session, and a somatic psychotherapy session. We have a psychotherapy session, a KAP session.”

“KAP” sessions—are ketamine-assisted therapy.

Jessica Knott doesn’t go a day without thinking of her brother Jeff, who struggled with addiction.

“There is no living right through an experience like that,” Knott said.

Jeff relapsed and took his life, Knott told WJZ.

“It has forever changed me. It’s very, very traumatic,” Knott said. “I will never be the person I was before I got that call.”

Knott had been on anti-depressants. However, they weren’t enough to guide her through this type of grief.

She started microdosing.

“When I started this, it had been seven months since he passed and it was really hard for me to concentrate at work,” Knott said. “It was just incredible brain fog.”

She started with the lowest dose of psilocybin, mushrooms, each night.

“The relief that I experienced from such tremendous grief has been pretty profound,” Knott said.

“Of course, psychedelics are not for everyone,” Bramwell said. “That’s why we do really rigorous medical screening for people.”

Bramwell, who is a microdosing coach, said people pursue the treatment for a variety of reasons.

“The inability to sleep, anxiety, depression, brain fog, feeling stuck in life,” Bramwell said.

Rob Lenfestey went through his first KAP session.

“It’s actually good for me to take a moment to check into that,” Lenfestey said.

Lenfestey admits he was skeptical, at first, of ketamine’s benefits based on seeing its recreational use.

He is seeking clarity with work stress and anxiety.

“I don’t know what my relationship to this medicine will be,” Lenfestey said. “This is one of those moments where I’m very curious.”

“A lot of people do have these stigmas,” said Lauren Going, a psychotherapist specializing in ketamine-assisted therapy at Inner Path Wellness. “They think of raves or ‘k-holes’ or this kind of thing. When used in the right settings, those effects are super therapeutic for mental health.”

Ketamine is a controlled substance. It’s not FDA-approved for mental health treatment, but it is prescribed often when other treatment methods don’t work.

“They’re looking for something to get them unstuck and create movement in their lives around depression, anxiety, traumatic symptoms,” Going said.

Lenfestey requested that WJZ not record his session but said afterward he had a positive experience.

Going advocates that psychedelics work in concert with other changes.

“If you don’t combine that with lifestyle changes, behavioral changes, thought shifts, the changes won’t last,” Going said.

“These practices, they’re not a magic pill,” Bramwell said. “You have to do the inner work, which can be challenging. But, this is a pathway.”

Psilocybin is only legal in Colorado and Oregon, but largely decriminalized.

“They saved my life and it’s made me a better husband, a better father, and a better person,” said Tim Hamilton, at the Maryland General Assembly Hearing in March. “It can help millions of people.”

Now, Maryland lawmakers are studying psychedelics after a bill was recently passed.

“We’re at the forefront of the wave here in Maryland, but we are surfing a wave many other places in our country are already cresting,” Bramwell said.

Bramwell coaches patients who acquire psilocybin on their own.

“They’ve helped with setting habits—health habits,” Knott said.

Knott: says the dose she is taking is almost unperceivable. She acknowledges a lot of people, including her parents, have opinions about what taking mushrooms means.

“And, it meant something very different in the public eye when they were my age,” Knott said. “That’s an ongoing conversation. I am nervous about them seeing this.”

Knott tells WJZ she came to mushrooms fully aware of her family’s history of addiction.

She will take a break when she hits the 10-week mark, but anticipates microdosing will be a part of her grief management moving forward.

“I knew I would get there, but I didn’t know how or when,” Knott said. “And, this has helped me see the path.”

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