Tripping the Switch on PLP 

Jennifer Latham Robinson

If you experience phantom limb pain and want to help test a possible treatment, the University of California at San Diego’s Psychedelic Health and Research Initiative (PHRI) is actively recruiting participants for a groundbreaking research project.

PHRI has launched a $1.3 million study to test the safety and effectiveness of psilocybin—the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms—in treating PLP. It’s the largest study to rigorously assess psilocybin’s potential to mitigate PLP, and it belongs to the growing wave of serious research about psychedelic medicines.

Who’s eligible?  

Amputees, ages 18 to 75, who suffer from chronic PLP.

What will I be asked to do?

You’ll receive either a therapeutic dose of psilocybin or a placebo (chosen at random), then provide periodic follow-up data about your pain levels, mood, and other health indicators. You’ll also have MRI brain scans before and after your dose, enabling researchers to see whether the medicine alters brain signals related to PLP. 

What’s the dosing session like?

You’ll establish a rapport with the clinical team before your dosing session, so you’ll be surrounded by people you know and trust. Each session is overseen by specialized monitors who have extensive experience with psychedelic medicines. Doctors, nurses, and “rescue medications” are also available, should you wish to halt the experience. 

The session itself takes place in a comfortable, informal setting. You’ll be encouraged to focus your attention inward, but monitors will be present throughout the session, and you can interact with them as much (or as little) as you want. The psychedelic effects last about five or six hours. 

How can I get more info?

Learn more at To contact the research team, call PHRI at (619) 432-5278 or email For more details, see “Want to Help Test a New Solution for PLP?” 

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