Psychedelics in medicine is topic of Dec. 5 Science Café  

Lou Lukas, MD

Lou Lukas, MD

Lou Lukas, MD, an associate professor in the internal medicine division of palliative medicine and the department of neurological sciences at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, will discuss the use of psychedelics in medicine at the next Science Café presentation, to be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 5 at the Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. 

Dr. Lukas spearheads a groundbreaking study using psilocybin, the active component in so-called “magic mushrooms,” to alleviate distress in pancreatic cancer patients. 

“People fighting serious cancers are so consumed with treatment that they can lose track of the sweetness in life,” Dr. Lukas said. “We’ve found that having even a single psychedelic experience under the guidance of skilled professionals can provide new insights, perspectives and resources that help them live more fully without regard to what life throws at them. It gives them more hope, more peace and greater ability to thrive.” 

A distinguished alumna of the UNMC College of Medicine, the Lehigh Valley Hospital’s Family Medicine Residency Program and the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Michigan, Dr. Lukas currently serves as the chief of palliative medicine at the Omaha VA Medical Center. 

Dr. Lukas began her venture into psychedelic research over a decade ago as a volunteer at Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. Now, she’s shaping Omaha’s research landscape by forging a trail toward the therapeutic use of psychedelics in health care. 

“By respecting the history and wisdom of Indigenous people who have used these medicines for centuries and combining it with our growing understanding of the workings of the human mind and brain, we have the ability to help some of the most challenging problems of our times,” she said.  

Psychedelic medicine is not just for cancer patients, either, Dr. Lukas said. 

Addiction, PTSD and depression are just the beginning of the potential for healing, with many more fields ripe for exploration, including things as diverse as ALS and inflammatory bowel disorders, she said. 

“These substances aren’t magic, but they are powerful tools that can help people find resources inside themselves to heal their own bodies and minds,” she said.  

Science Cafés involve a conversation with an expert about current science topics. They are open to everyone. Each meeting is organized around an interesting topic of conversation. Experts give a brief presentation followed by a Q&A period.  

1 comment

  1. Brigette Vaughan says:

    So proud to work with Dr. Lukas. She is an inspiring and passionate clinician and researcher. Very excited to see yet another of her amazing presentations!

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