CALGARY, October 24, 2023 – ATMA Journey Centers Inc. (“ATMA”), a Canadian company with a primary focus on advancing psychedelic-assisted therapy, is pleased to announce its collaboration with Dr. Scott Shannon to prepare practitioners in training for the eagerly anticipated legalization of MDMA for MDMA-assisted therapy (MaT). Dr. Shannon will join Dr. Ben Sessa (psychiatrist and Bristol Imperial MDMA Study Academic), Mark Haden (Previous Executive Directors of MAPS Canada) and Ben Malcolm (Psychiatric Pharmacists, Spirit Pharmacists) to lead ATMA’s MaT training. Dr. Scott Shannon will also advise ATMA on its MDMA clinical trial design and conduct.
On September 14, 2023, Nature Medicine published the results of the MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) Phase 3 of MDMA for post traumatic stress disorder, MAPP2, which demonstrated overwhelmingly positive results for the treatment of PTSD. This trial has met the rigorous standards of regulatory proof under clinical trial protocols and is now eligible for a New Drug Application to the FDA in the United States. Approval for the legal therapeutic use of MDMA could potentially come as early as next year. Once MDMA reaches FDA approval, it will soon be widely available in the US. Colorado and Oregon have legalized psilocybin and other states may soon follow suit, paving the way for wide accessibility of psychedelic-assisted therapy in the US. However, there has been limited effort to prepare the industry for MaT, especially in Canada. ATMA supports efforts to advance access to above ground evidence-based protocols for care.
ATMA is taking proactive steps to enhance its existing MDMA therapy training and education to a clinical protocol level, in anticipation of the growing demand and the necessary requirements for delivering MaT. As MAPS shifts its full attention and focus to operations in the United States, MAPS training may not be readily available to Canadian practitioners for some time. The significance of collaborating with Dr. Shannon, who possesses extensive experience with MAPS protocols, cannot be overstated in adequately training practitioners and facilitating the preparation for MaT in Canada.
Dr. Shannon practiced MDMA-assisted psychotherapy before the substance was scheduled in 1985. He completed his Psychiatry residency in a Columbia program in New York and has authored four books on holistic and integrative mental health, including the inaugural textbook in this field in 2001. Dr. Shannon has previously served as the president of two national medical organizations. He currently serves as a site Principal Investigator and therapist for the Phase III trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD sponsored by MAPS and a Phase II trial exploring LSD for anxiety. Additionally, he has published numerous articles on his research related to cannabidiol (CBD) in mental health. Dr. Shannon founded the Psychedelic Research and Training Institute (PRATI) to train professionals in ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and conduct clinically relevant studies. In 2021, he co-founded the Board of Psychedelic Medicine and Therapies, a non-profit public benefit corporation. He delivers lectures worldwide to professional groups interested in gaining a deeper understanding of mental health issues and a transformative care perspective.
In 2010, Dr. Shannon founded the Wholeness Center, the largest integrative mental health center in the United States, with a group of like-minded professionals committed to innovation in collaborative mental health care. He is presently preparing the center to offer MaT upon FDA approval and will contribute valuable insights to assist ATMA in preparing its community and clinic network for MaT readiness.
Vu Tran, CEO of ATMA, states, “We consider ourselves exceptionally fortunate to have Dr. Shannon collaborate with ATMA in the preparation of practitioners and clinics to deliver MaT in Canada, in alignment with MAPS’ vision for MaT.” He adds, “We express our deep appreciation for the extensive and unwavering work carried out by Rick Doblin and MAPS over the past 30+ years to bring this medicine to its current status, now closer than ever to becoming more than just a dream.”
Dr. Shannon adds “We are currently mired in a pervasive mental health crisis. Our current model of care is failing us badly. Psychedelic medicine represents movement into a new transformative paradigm of mental health care that has the potential to alleviate enormous suffering.”
Practitioners interested in hearing more about MDMA-assisted therapy and associated training can register for a live info session and Q&A with Dr. Shannon HERE.
ABOUT ATMA JOURNEY CENTERS INC.
We care about improving the lives and practices of mental healthcare professionals.
ATMA is pioneering a healthcare practitioners-centered business model for the psychedelic industry. Through education, training, clinical trials, support services and developing a network of clinics, we are building and supporting the largest community of psychedelic practitioners in adopting psychedelic- assisted therapy. Our philosophy to begin with the healthcare provider, will lay a foundation for higher participation, increased accessibility, advanced clinical care, and safe effective delivery of psychedelic assisted therapy.