UC researcher explains how psychedelics show potential in medical treatments

Neşe Devenot, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati, has spent her career studying the science, history, and culture of psychedelics, including the potential benefits and harms of their uses in medicine.

Devenot was a postdoctoral fellow in bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She founded the Interdisciplinary Psychedelic Conference on Psychedelics. Today, she is a postdoctoral fellow at UC’s Institute for Research in Sensing. Institute director Nathan Morehouse calls Devenot “a leading voice on the ethics of psychedelic therapies.”

“The past five years have seen what people describe as the psychedelic renaissance, with a resurgence of public and medical interest in the use of natural and synthetic psychedelics for everything from smoking cessation to end-of-life care. “, said Morehouse.

“Neşe’s background in literary accounts of altered perceptual states gives him a broad view of this subject, and I find his perspectives on the ground compelling.”

Devenot contributed to a New York University study of anxiety treatments for cancer patients that was featured in a bestselling 2018 book by author Michael Pollan. A documentary series based on his book, titled ‘How to Change Your Mind’, premiered on Netflix in July.

His research also critiques the hype surrounding psychedelics, which has fueled a gold rush as companies seek to capitalize on psychedelic medicine. While acknowledging the positive potentials, she advocates for more rigorous science and for the empowerment of indigenous and countercultural communities who have cultivated methods for working with psychedelics.

Devenot explained why psychedelics are experiencing a research renaissance.