It’s a safe bet to say that virtual reality hasn’t fulfilled its promise. The prospect of a virtual environment for recreational purposes was a hot ticket back when it was first envisioned, sparking imaginations with the prospect of new fully-rendered, powerfully imagined environments to experience new vistas and unlock experiences previously unavailable because of the way our lives are structured.
A few companies have tried to bring VR to the mainstream, but they can’t get enough traction to bring prices down so the average person can enjoy. But there is another avenue as yet unexplored beyond the purely recreational aspects of the market, and that’s its potential for various therapeutic applications.
With that in mind, Eleusian Biosciences, a subsidiary of Greenstar Biosciences (GSTR.C), added another psychedelic therapeutics and devices patent application to their intellectual property portfolio today.
The new application is called “Facial Worn Device for Administration of Pharmaceutical Agents in Combination with Virtual and Augmented Reality Simulations” and it deals with using virtual reality glasses to delivery programmed virtual and augmented reality simulations. It also includes a nasal delivery system for chemicals and fragrances, using both preselected dosages and times.
“We continue to build our IP portfolio and this latest patent application further strengthens our overall IP position as we continue to develop our technologies such as virtual reality to enhance our therapies, Virtual reality has previously been shown to have therapeutic effects, and with the addition of carefully dosed pharmaceutical agents at specific times, it is expected that these effects can be taken to a more positive and lasting level,” said Maghsoud Dariani, chief science officer of Greenstar.
Most of memory is sense memory, which means that certain scents experienced during a traumatic event can bring back the experience and trigger a post-traumatic stress episode in PTSD patents. These methods use a form of aversion therapy by re-introducing the stimulus in a controlled environment.
The device accomplishes this by allowing patients to completely immerse in a multi-sensory, three-dimensional environment where their senses can be stimulated to assist with the guidance and enhancement of the therapeutic effects of one or more pharmaceutical ingredients. Basically, doctors working behind screens can control the setting, tweaking it as they see fit for the best needs of the patient.
The device can be used in a clinical setting or controlled remotely. The company gives the example of using wifi, where dosing and VR content can be monitored and controlled via wireless connectivity and access to a shared database. The device also has applications in group settings, where a therapist or clinician can join the patient in the simulation, or watch the VR content with the user or group.
“We are very pleased with how quickly Eleusian has been building its IP portfolio and executing its overall patent strategy of not only developing effective therapeutics, but also effective delivery methods. The Company believes this new device will be extremely useful in a variety of applications including, but in no way limited to, the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries and in the alleviation of stress, fears and/or phobias,” said Tom Baird, CEO of Greenstar.
While more studies are required to determine the efficacy of this particular type of therapy, the possibilities for this technology are from exhausted.
The VR glasses and VR delivery system would also allow for the use of psilocybin-derived agents, or perhaps agents such as N-acetylcysteine (NAC) in combination with the therapy. Beyond drug administration and guided therapeutic psychedelic therapies, there’s also room for experiences like guided medications, visual and audio simulations of therapeutic journeys, guided virtual trips to different places and times where past traumatic experiences may have occurred.
Combining this technology with nasal administration of psilocybin or NAC, a user of the device could theoretically be guided towards combinations of altered states of consciousness, including meditation as we’ve stated above, but also trance and dreamlike states, all with safety and therapeutic process in mind, and the best possible outcomes for the patient.