Psychedelic Medicine


Optimal Delivery of Psychedelic Experiences with Paul Thambi, MD


In this episode of the Psychedelic Medicine Podcast, Paul Thambi, MD joins to discuss insights on the optimal delivery of psychedelic experiences stemming from his recent trial on psilocybin therapy for cancer patients suffering from major depressive disorder. Dr. Thambi is a medical oncologist with nearly 20 years of experience treating patients in a private practice. He now serves as CMO Sunstone Therapies, a company focused on how to best deliver psychedelic therapies.

In this conversation, Dr. Thambi shares the details of the design of his recent study, which involved two preparatory sessions, a treatment session, and two integration sessions. He also discusses the efficiency of delivering psychedelic therapy to a group rather than to individuals, allowing the therapist to help more patients at once while still providing focused one-on-one guidance during the psychedelic experience. Additionally, Dr. Thambi discusses the importance of music and space design to provide an optimal state of mind going into the therapy and while under the influence of the psychedelic.

Dr. Thambi is happy to report very positive data from this initial trial, with both patients with active cancers and those with no current signs of disease showing great improvement in depression scores. He looks forward to continuing to work to better optimize the delivery of psychedelic therapies, not only for the patients but also for the therapists. Currently, he is pursuing a new “diad trial” of psychedelic therapy for cancer patients and a loved one which may have the potential to ease the suffering caused to a family system by these diseases.

In This Episode

• The design of Dr. Thambi’s study of psychedelic therapy for cancer patients struggling with depression
• Group versus individual forms of psychedelic therapy
• Crafting an ideal setting for psychedelic therapy with music, artwork, etc.
• Changes in depression scores, anxiety, and pain amongst the participants in Dr. Thambi’s trial
• Optimizing the experience for psychedelic therapists as well as patients
• Dr. Thambi’s on-going “diad trial” for cancer patients and a loved one


“What we were trying to do was create something that… could be used when it needed to be for a lot of people—something that was scalable. So something that was efficient, but still had compassion to it. And that’s how we came up with the [study design].” [22:16]

“80% of [participants] had their MADRS score cut in half or greater within one week of the treatment. And half of those people had what we called a sustained remission, which means a MADRS score of less than or equal to ten on each of the measurements we took, including the last one, which was done at week eight.” [23:54]


* The Psychedelic Medicine Podcast has allowed the Psychedelic Medicine Association to post episodes as an educational resource, and in return the PMA is hosting the podcast show notes.