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Psychedelic Medicine

Association

Psychedelics and Seizure Disorders with Evan Lewis, MD, FRCPC

Summary

In this episode of the Psychedelic Medicine Podcast, Dr. Evan Cole Lewis joins to explore the topic of psychedelics and seizure disorders. Dr. Lewis is a Canadian Neurologist and holds an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto. He has special interest in the treatment of neurologic disorders, including functional seizures, with psychedelic therapies.

In this conversation, Dr. Lewis shares his expertise on a number of topics at the intersection of psychedelics and seizure disorders. He discusses the neurology behind psychedelics and functional neurological disorders more broadly, explaining why he thinks this is a very promising area of research. He explains that currently very little is known about the topic of psychedelics and seizure disorders, as almost all studies have had epilepsy as an absolute contraindication, leaving researchers with only case reports. However, there are some promising indications in the preclinical data which warrant further investigation. In closing, Dr. Lewis sheds light on potential seizure risks resulting from interactions between psychedelics and other medications.

In This Episode

• The different between epileptic seizures and functional seizures
• How Dr. Lewis started exploring the topic of psychedelics and functional seizures
• Why Dr. Lewis thinks psychedelic science has the potential to rebuild bridges between neurology and psychiatry
• Dr. Lewis’ experiences treating epileptic patients with ketamine
• The potential for co-administered lithium and psychedelics to cause seizures

Quotes

“I tell people psychedelics are brain network medicine—they kind of dissolve those networks. If the thinking is that FND [Functional Neurological Disorder] is due to dysfunctional connection or hyperconnectivity in certain networks, what we have to do is we have to repair those networks, but first we have to take them apart and build them back up.” [11:03]

“Regardless, even if there isn’t even a condition in which psychedelics are utilized in neurology, we need the neurologists to be able to indicate that these patients are safe—or at least do the work and be involved in the clinical team.” [21:05]

“Things like drug interactions we pick up with psychedelics again are going to be a big piece of the puzzle that needs to be answered going forward.” [29:17]

Links

* 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.