Thanks to efforts from popular mainstream businesses like Dr. Bronner’s, psychedelics have found their way into the news more and more often lately, as more studies are being conducted on their effectiveness for treating certain mental health issues, such as PTSD, anxiety, and treatment-resistant depression.
Clinics across the US have been popping up that offer ketamine therapy as a treatment for treatment-resistant depression, and in states like Oregon, another psychedelic, psilocybin, has been legalized for mental health therapy treatment.
With all of this new research coming out, there are some companies that are leading the pack in offering psychedelic treatment in their employees’ healthcare benefits. The soap company, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap is leading that pack by recently announcing that they have partnered with the non-profit healthcare organization Anthea, to offer ketamine-assisted therapy as part of their healthcare benefit expansion for employees.
Ketamine: A Brief History
Ketamine was first developed in the early 1960s by Dr. Calvin Stevens, an organic chemist with Wayne State University. After the anesthetic phencyclidine (PCP) was declared too dangerous for use on humans due to its emergence delirium side effect – despite successful animal trials – Stevens had hoped to find or create another fast-acting anesthetic.
Through synthesizing some phencyclidine derivatives, and merging a ketone with an amine, Dr. Stevens discovered that this compound was incredibly successful for use in animals as a fast-acting anesthetic. The compound was renamed ketamine, and its human trials – on volunteer prisoners at the Jackson State Prison – began.
The first person to conduct human trials with ketamine was Edward Domino, a psychopharmacology professor at Michigan State University. In his research paper on the subject, Taming the Ketamine Tiger,
Domino wrote, “The first human was given ketamine in an intravenous subanesthetic dose on August 3, 1964. Guenter and I gradually increased the dose from no effect, to conscious but ‘spaced out,’ and finally to enough for general anesthesia. Our findings were remarkable! The overall incidence of side effects was about one out of three volunteers. Frank’s emergence delirium was minimal. Most of our subjects described strange experiences like a feeling of floating in outer space and having no feeling in their arms or legs.”
In 1970, the FDA approved ketamine as an anesthetic, and it was shipped off to Vietnam to be administered to injured soldiers awaiting surgery. It was also in this decade that the first uses of ketamine as a treatment for mood disorders began, with Argentina using it for age regression therapy.
Leader Of The Pack
It makes sense that Dr. Bronner would be leading the charge in reforming the way we see healthcare benefits, especially when it comes to psychedelic therapies. The company, as well as CEO, David Bronner himself, have invested heavily in drug policy reform initiatives over the years. One of these initiatives included a hefty financial contribution to the campaign that would ultimately lead Oregon to become the first US state to legalize psilocybin for use in mental health therapies.
In a press release, the president of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Michael Bronner, stated, “The health and well-being of our employees is the primary driver in how we think about benefits and compensation. Offering coverage for Ketamine Assisted Therapy is in the interest of providing tools to our workforce to have the best quality of life and best options for mental health care.”
Related Reading: The Growing Scientific Support for Psychedelic Therapy
This isn’t the first time Dr. Bronner has shown the world that the best way to keep employees and to keep them happy is to ensure that they know they are appreciated and cared for. In fact, not only is their benefits program for employees one of the best in the country, but they also have salary caps for their highest-paid executives and pay all deductibles and premiums for their employees, so that none of them have to pay out of pocket, according to their website.
“Dr. Bronner’s employee benefits are core to how the company models its All-One Mission. The company caps the total compensation of the highest-paid executives at five times that of the lowest-paid fully vested position. There is no difference between the benefits offered to company leadership and those offered to every single benefit-eligible employee. All employees receive 10% of their salary paid annually into a retirement/profit-sharing plan, up to 10% of their salary as a bonus, and a no-deductible PPO health insurance plan for their families—paying the complete health premium and all deductibles so there’s no out-of-pocket cost for employees.”
With such an esteemed company like Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap leading the charge in healthcare reform to include psychedelic therapy, here’s hoping that other companies will soon follow suit. In fact, we challenge other companies to do so: mental healthcare is real healthcare, and all companies should be adding psychedelic therapy to their employee benefits packages. In the end, it will not only benefit your employees, but it will benefit your organizations as well.