Treating Pain and Functional Neurologic Disorders with Psychedelics

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Watch The EXCLUSIVE Panel Discussion For Members Of The Psychedelic Medicine Association:

Treating Pain and Functional Neurologic Disorders with Psychedelics

Panel Moderator:

Lynn Marie Morski, MD, JD

President - Psychedelic Medicine Association


Joel Castellanos, MD

Associate Medical Director of Psychedelics and Health Research Initiative UC San Diego

Joel Castellanos MD, is a board-certified Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) and pain management physician.

As a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) physician and the Medical Director of Inpatient Rehabilitation, Dr. Castellanos’ prime focus is improving function through an individualized approach. This background along with his expertise in interventional pain techniques allows for a truly integrative approach to not acute and chronic pain but preserving and restoring function. Dr. Castellanos evaluates, diagnoses and treats all forms of functional disability and pain in a multi-disciplinary team-based approach.

He is particularly interested in neuromodulation at various different levels including spinal cord stimulation and peripheral nerve stimulation, interventional spine procedures, regenerative medicine (PRP, Stem Cells, Tenex), radiofrequency neurotomy, ultrasound-guided, and fluoroscopically-guided procedures.

While Dr. Castellanos welcomes and treats all patients with different types of functional impairments and pain, he has specific clinical interests in pelvic pain, complex regional pain syndrome, phantom limb pain, and post-spinal cord injury pain syndromes. His research interests include altering nutrition as a means of treating chronic pain, neuromodulation for chronic painful conditions as well as the potential use of psychedelics for these conditions.

An associate professor in the Department of Anesthesiology at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Dr. Castellanos instructs pain medicine fellows, as well as medical students, residents in their pain rotations. Dr. Castellanos completed his fellowship in pain medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine and his residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at University of Michigan. While at University of Michigan, he completed a 2 year program in Healthcare Administration. Dr. Castellanos earned his medical degree from University of Toledo College of Medicine. He is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation and pain medicine. He also recently completed the University of Arizona Integrative Medicine Fellowship to further his ability to provide a holistic, individualized, and comprehensive approach to his care.

Dr. Castellanos is a member of numerous medical organizations, and currently active in the American Academy of Pain Medicine, the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the International Association for the Study of Pain, and North American Neuromodulation Society.

Michelle Weiner, MD, MPH

Director of Integrative Pain Management at Spine and Wellness Centers of America

Dr. Michelle Weiner is Double-Board Certified in Interventional Pain Medicine and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She completed her residency and fellowship training at the University of Miami. She is a member of Florida’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Committee.

Dr. Weiner’s unique approach of personalized and preventative medicine focuses on empowering her patients to cultivate health using lifestyle and plant medicine. Her research focuses on using cannabis as a substitute for opioids in chronic pain patients and cannabis’s effect on seniors with chronic pain. She just completed a study approved by the University of Miami reviewing psychedelic v psycholytic doses of ketamine for chronic pain and depression.

She is faculty and a preceptor at Nova Southeastern University in which she educates the medical students through shadowing opportunities in her office. Dr. Weiner is the Vice President of Mr. Psychedelic Law, a not-for-profit with the mission of responsible legal reform of psilocybin mushrooms in Florida and a clinical advisor for Iter Investment fund. She uses cannabis and ketamine-assisted psychotherapy as a catalyst to identify the root cause of one’s suffering optimizing their quality of life.

Evan Cole Lewis, MD

Neurologist, Medical Director of NCT & VP Neurology, Numinus

Dr. Evan Cole Lewis is a Pediatric Neurologist and Clinical Neurophysiologist with expertise in epilepsy. He is the founder & medical director of the Neurology Centre of Toronto (NCT) and VP Psychedelic Neurology Clinical Services at Numinus – a Canadian company focused on psychedelic research and therapeutics. He is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Pediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto.

Education, Training & Work
Dr. Lewis attained his MD from the University of Ottawa and trained as a Pediatric Neurologist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). He completed fellowships in both clinical neurophysiology and epilepsy at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (formerly known as Miami Children’s Hospital) and the Hospital for Sick Children. Dr. Lewis held staff positions at SickKids and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital between 2016 and 2018.
He joined the Numinus team as VP Psychedelic Neurology Clinical Services in September 2021 with an intention to explore the utility of psychedelics in the field of neurology.

Link to Publications: https://goo.gl/yLhvN1

In this month’s webinar, we started delving into some of the physical conditions that psychedelics may be able to address. Two such conditions are pain and functional neurologic disorders. 

Pain is a condition we’re well familiar with – and we’ve all seen how chronic pain can affect the lives of patients when treatments are ineffective. Often, the source of the pain is a physical condition, like a herniated disk, but many times the pain no longer has a physical source and it may be a function of a malfunction of the nervous system.

Similarly, functional neurologic disorders (FND) occur when a patient experiences neurologic symptoms, ranging from numbness to inability to walk to seizures, with no discoverable neurologic disease or medical condition. 

As both of these are notoriously challenging to treat, the question arises: can psychedelic therapies play a role in addressing pain and the symptoms of FND?

To help answer this question, we gathered experts well-versed in treating pain and FND who have also delved into the use of psychedelics for these patients.

We were honored to have expert panelists on this webinar to cover:

  • What functional neurologic disorders are and how psychedelics may be able to address symptoms where other therapies have failed
  • Sources of chronic pain and how psychedelic therapies may be effective in alleviating suffering in these patients
  • How psychedelics may be effective in addressing conditions like phantom limb pain and fibromyalgia

…and much more!

As always, there was ample time for audience Q & A, so make sure you watch to the end!

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