Denver is playing host to what’s being dubbed the largest psychedelic conference in history.
The Psychedelic Science Conference comes less than one year after Colorado voters legalized three different psychedelic drugs.
In November of 2022, Coloradans voted to decriminalize possession of psilocybin mushrooms and three other psychedelic drugs for personal use.
That is good news for organizations like R&B Counseling that are using psychedelics to help Refugee and BIPOC communities with treatment-resistant depression.
“There’s just so much trauma,” said Sabrina Albert the CEO of R&B Counseling.
As a licensed counselor and Palestinian American, Malak Hamdan knows refugee and BIPOC communities have a lot of intergenerational traumas that can affect their mental health, but she also knows they are often reluctant to seek help
“I feel like with minority communities in general there’s a stigma with mental health,” she said.
Costs can be a barrier for people seeking treatment, among many other factors.
“These are people who have tried multiple types of prescription medications, and nothing works,” Hamad said.
One of those people is Sabrina Albert herself. In 2017 out of other options, she tried ketamine therapy to treat her depression. Albert says it worked.
“It completely changed my life. It allowed me to go back to some traumatic events in my life and to view them differently. But I would say the most important thing it did, it lifted the block. There was something that was stopping me from taking chances and believing in myself or opening a company and like over time it just started to lift,” Albert said. “I just had to figure out how I was going to pay for it.”
Now, she is the CEO and founder of R&B Therapy. The company came to the Psychedelic Science Conference looking for funding to provide refugees and people of color access to ketamine therapy.
“They’re usually the last people to receive these types of treatment because they’re not privileged enough to have access to these kinds of things,” Hamad said.
Sabrina and Malak say they see patients all the time, who are leery about taking a psychedelic drug, but they want all people to know ketamine therapy can save lives and isn’t just an excuse to use drugs.
“This is treatment, and this is OK,” Albert said.
The Psychedelic Science Conference started on Wednesday and will be held for three days culminating on Friday.