In our latest talkBD podcast episode, psychologist Dr. David Gard speaks on the use of psilocybin to treat bipolar disorder and depression, breaks down the latest research on the role of psychedelics and psilocybin in supporting mental health, and discusses the potential benefits and risks of using these substances.
Dr. David Gard
Dr. David Gard is a Professor of Psychology, Director of the Motivation and Emotion Research Lab, and the Coordinator of the Clinical Psychology Master’s Program at San Francisco State University. He received his Master’s degree in clinical psychology from SFSU in 1996 and his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California at Berkeley in 2005. He has been lecturing at San Fransisco State University since 1997 and was hired full-time as an assistant professor at SFSU in the fall of 2005. His research interests are broadly in the area of emotion and motivation dysfunction in various mental health disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. He also researches novel treatments for severe mental illness.
Dr. Emma Morton
Emma is a CIHR Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at UBC Psychiatry. She completed her Ph.D. and training as a psychologist in 2018 at Swinburne University, Australia, and moved to Canada to join the CREST.BD team as an Institute of Mental Health Marshall Fellow in 2019. Emma’s research interests include quality of life, self-management strategies, and digital mental health tools for people living with mood disorders. She has clinical experience working in community mental health, early intervention, and hospital settings.
Your Most Requested Questions & Topics
- Psychedelics like psilocybin-containing mushrooms have a long history of use, from indigenous medicines and traditions to countercultural movements in the 1960s. Why does it feel like we are only recently hearing about its potential to treat mental health symptoms?
- Do we know how psilocybin works?
- Although we are starting to see more research on psilocybin, there hasn’t been much specifically looking into bipolar disorder. Can you tell me more about why that is?
- How is Psilocybin helpful for people with bipolar disorder? What have studies found?
- Is there research to tell us what the safest and most beneficial dose and usage frequency of psilocybin for people with bipolar disorder?
- What are the biggest risks of taking psilocybin for bipolar disorder?
- What role might psychotherapy play in psilocybin and psychedelic treatments for bipolar disorder?
- What about microdosing? Is there any research on whether it might help people with bipolar disorder, or share any of the risks you described?
- What do you think clinical applications of psychedelics will look like in the future?