Heroic Hearts Project

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Heroic Hearts Project
FoundedApril 2017; 7 years ago (2017-04)
Focuspsychedelic therapy
HeadquartersNew Smyrna Beach, Florida, United States
Area served
United States
Jesse Gould (Founder & CEO)
Key people
Zach Riggle (Director of Operations), Jared Rinehart (Head of integration coaching), Dr. Grace Blest-Hopley (Director of research)

Heroic Hearts Project is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization,[1][2] functioning as a support group for US military veterans. The project engages psychedelic therapy to help people suffering a range of psychological maladies, such as PTSD, MST,[3][4] severe depression, anxiety, etс. [5] The organization has also been instrumental in the ongoing movement to change state and federal drug policies and overcome the stigma around them.[6][7]

Heroic Hearts Project was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.[8] Outside the Americas, the HHP is active in the UK and has a treatment center in the Netherlands.[9]


Heroic Hearts Project (also known as HHP) was established in 2017 by Jesse Gould, a former Army Ranger.[1][2] Gould was diagnosed with PTSD and had traumatic brain injury from concussive blasts due to his time as a mortarman with the 75th Ranger Regiment. Gould claims that after completing a course of four indigenous ayahuasca ceremonies in Peru, his mental condition improved, and he decided to help other veterans by organizing and financing their trips for psychedelic treatments abroad.[5][10][11]


The project has already worked with many veterans, and there are hundreds of interested veterans with the PTSD on the waiting list.[12] Applicants who wish to take part in the experience have to be prepped and vetted for months.[13]

Initially, the project raised money to send veterans who have struggled with brain injuries, anxiety, depression, and PTSD to psychedelic retreats in Latin America, where legislation allows the psychedelic therapy.[14] Now HHP helps connect hundreds of veterans with psychedelic-assisted treatments and provides resources for preparation and the after-care phase.[15] It has raised millions of dollars to pay for retreat "scholarships" for military veterans,[6] and sponsored Institutional Review Board approved research with the University of Georgia, the University of Colorado Boulder, and the University of Texas.[16][17]

Legal initiatives[edit]

The project has been active in promoting legislative initiatives in various U.S. states that propose a change in statewide drug policy, increasing access to psychedelic therapies for veterans, as well as providing funding for research in the area.[18] This includes several bills in New York State,[19] a ballot initiative to make certain psychedelic fungi and plants among the lowest local law enforcement priorities in Washington, D.C.,[20] an act increasing access to mental health medication in Connecticut,[21] and another ballot initiative to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic purposes in Oregon.[22] There is also a legalizing psilocybin therapy bill in Pennsylvania.[23]

Since treatment is not legal in the United States, and multi-week trips to Latin America are quite expensive, the HHP has come out in support of a California bill to legalize psychedelic therapy.[14][24] The bill would permit to those aged 21 and older to possess small quantities of psilocyn, psilocybin, DMT, mescaline, LSD, ibogaine, and MDMA for personal use only. However, it wouldn't decriminalize the selling of such substances. The Senate Bill 519 was drafted by Democrat Senator Scott Weiner.[13][25]

Since Governor Greg Abbott signed a bill that requires Texas to study the benefits and risks of ketamine, psilocybin, and MDMA for veterans treatment, the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin announced the start of the Center for Psychedelic Research and Therapy, where Heroic Hearts Project will be among the first program partners.[26][27]

HHP supported the bill allowing terminally ill patients to have access to Schedule I drugs for which a Phase 1 clinical trial has been completed, that was has been introduced by Senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker.[28][29]


According to Dr. Itai Danovitch, the chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, these drugs can have powerful therapeutic effects, however, be harmful, depending on how it is used.[30] Consuming ayahuasca can be dangerous while taking antidepressants or some hypertension drugs. It can also set off psychotic episodes for people with such serious conditions as schizophrenia. Some retreats have strict protocols and rules that have been developed in consultation with medical professionals, but the ayahuasca boom sometimes has been exploited by charlatans and scammers.[6]

Also, Dr. Matthew Johnson, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University, worried that psychedelic retreats may be ill-equipped to screen people for whom trips can be dangerous.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Heroic Hearts Project Inc". Charity Navigator.
  2. ^ a b c "Heroic Hearts Project, Inc". GuideStar.
  3. ^ Martin, Will (9 November 2022). "This Veteran Is Helping Other Soldiers Restore Their Mental Health". Men's Health. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
  4. ^ "A New Perspective on PTSD: The Role of DMT in Trauma Recovery". Blue Honey Media. 13 January 2023. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  5. ^ a b Jacobs, Andrew (11 November 2021). "Veterans Have Become Unlikely Lobbyists in Push to Legalize Psychedelic Drugs". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Londoño, Ernesto (30 August 2020). "'A Hail Mary': Psychedelic Therapy Draws Veterans to Jungle Retreats". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  7. ^ Ielyseieva, Tanya (10 March 2021). "Jesse Gould of Heroic Hearts Project: Psychedelic Therapy for Veterans". Truffle. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  8. ^ Hartman, Shelby (9 August 2019). "Ayahuasca may be incredibly healing—but most people can't afford it". DoubleBlind magazine. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  9. ^ Spicer, Kate; Pavia, Will; Sidhu, Kiran. "Prince Harry and the power of psychedelics". The Times. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  10. ^ "Psychedelic therapy shows great promise. More states should legalise it". The Economist. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  11. ^ "Veteran Affairs". USA Today: 118–119. 2021. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  12. ^ "States Are Embracing Psychedelics, Paving the Way for FDA Approval". DoubleBlind magazine. 17 June 2022. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  13. ^ a b Pascucci, Christina (3 November 2021). "As California mulls bill decriminalizing psychedelics, some SoCal veterans turn to them to treat PTSD". KTLA. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  14. ^ a b Mercer, Juliana (July 2021). "Opinion: I was traumatized by my time in Afghanistan and Iraq. Psychedelic therapy changed my life". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  15. ^ Best, Paul. "US veterans with PTSD turn to psychedelic drugs overseas as VA frustration grows | Fox News". www.foxnews.com. Retrieved 10 November 2022.
  16. ^ Siebert, Amanda. "Holiday Gift Guide 2021: Gifts For The Psychedelic Explorer". Forbes. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  17. ^ Lenamond, Jessica (11 March 2022). "New Dawn of Psychedelic Therapies and Research Take Root in Texas". Reporting Texas. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  18. ^ Ahl, Jonathan (5 January 2023). "The VA looks to psychedelic drugs to help veterans suffering with PTSD and other disorders". STLPR. Retrieved 13 February 2023.
  19. ^ Daly, Noah (23 March 2022). "Three Bills Seek to Shift Psychedelics Policy in New York State". Lucid news. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  20. ^ Jaeger, Kyle (5 February 2020). "Measure To Decriminalize Psychedelics Advances In Washington, D.C." Marijuana Moment. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  21. ^ "Public Health Committee. Joint Favorable Report" (PDF). Connecticut General Assembly. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  22. ^ Jaeger, Kyle (1 October 2020). "Oregon Psilocybin Initiative Gets Boost From New TV Ad But Draws Opposition From Unlikely Source". Marijuana Moment. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  23. ^ Baker, Christina (12 June 2022). "A 'tidal wave' in psychology: Advocates call on lawmakers to approve psilocybin treatment". Pennsylvania Capital-Star. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  24. ^ "Amid Ongoing Debate, State Senate Approves Bill to Decriminalize Psychedelic Drugs in California". 2 June 2021. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  25. ^ Wiener, Scott (26 August 2021). "Senator Wiener's Legislation to Decriminalize Possession of Psychedelics Moves Forward as a Two-Year Bill; Will Be Voted on Next Year". Senator Scott Weiner office. Retrieved 2 August 2022.
  26. ^ Gilman, Greg (29 December 2021). "Texas Further Embraces Psychedelics with Launch of Center for Psychedelic Research and Therapy". Psychedelic spotlight. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  27. ^ Ryan, Patrick (3 February 2022). "Austin Texas Has The Potential To Become A Hotbed For Psychedelic Research". The Dales Report. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  28. ^ McCarthy, Mia. "AOC Finds Unlikely Ally to Back Pentagon Psychedelic Studies". news.bloomberglaw.com. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  29. ^ "Right to Try Clarification Act introduced by Senators Rand Paul and Cory Booker" (PDF). US Senator Cory Brooker's website. Retrieved 6 August 2022.
  30. ^ Pascucci, Christina (3 November 2021). "As California mulls bill decriminalizing psychedelics, some SoCal veterans turn to them to treat PTSD". KTLA. Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  31. ^ Londoño, Ernesto; Ferguson, Adam (30 August 2020). "'A Hail Mary': Psychedelic Therapy Draws Veterans to Jungle Retreats". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 August 2022.