Reprinted with permission from World in general, a news website on nature, science, health, politics and travel.
In another study on the use of psychedelic compounds as medicine, two doses of psilocybin, the compound that gives “magic mushrooms” their magic, were found to significantly reduce major depressive symptoms in adults when combined with assisted psychotherapy.
Twenty-four adults were included in the small study that consisted of two sessions of psilocybin therapy of five hours and 24 weeks of follow-up, and the results appeared to surprise researchers at the Center for Psychedelic Research and Consciousness (CPCR) at the Faculty of Science. Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“The magnitude of effect that we saw was about four times greater than what clinical trials have shown for traditional antidepressants on the market,” says Alan Davis, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.
According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), tens of millions of adults have suffered a chronic anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. One in six will have depressive symptoms during some period of their life.
In this new trial, researchers looked at whether psilocybin (which has already given ‘Breakthrough Status’ as therapy for intractable depression) could be effective enough to be used as a treatment for standard depressive disorders.
Rather than target the “reactive” types of anxiety or depression, those that result from traumatic experiences, public health officials urged their team to explore the effects of psilocybin in the general population for those with major depressive disorders a long term, persistent and less defined. , due to the greater potential impact on public health.
Depression in remission
“Because there are several types of major depressive disorders that can result in variations in how people respond to treatment, I was surprised that most of the participants in our study found psilocybin treatment effective,” says Roland Griffiths Ph.D., Director of the CPCR, and a pioneer of psychedelic treatment research who published his results this week in JAMA Psychiatry.
In the clinical trial, of the group of 24 participants, 67% showed a reduction of more than 50% in symptoms of depression at the one-week follow-up and 71% at the four-week follow-up. Overall, four weeks after treatment, 54% of the participants were considered in remission, meaning that they no longer rated as depressed.
The researchers say they will follow the participants for a year after the study to see how long the antidepressant effects of psilocybin treatment last and will report their findings in a later publication.
“Because most other treatments for depression take weeks or months to work and can have undesirable effects, this could be a game changer if these findings hold up in future ‘gold standard’ placebo-controlled clinical trials Davis says.
Having worked at Johns Hopkins since 2003, Roland Griffiths’ psychedelic experiments were first viewed with skepticism, but many trials and studies of psychedelic compounds have now been completed at the CPCR, such as:
Their work has resulted in the US Food and Drug Administration awarding ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ designations to other compounds such as a chemical variant of ketamine, that was approved as a nasal spray used to treat depression in veterans in Virginia.
MDMA also gained ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ status from the FDA in 2017, after research demonstrated its “Amazing” success in sending PTSD into referral.
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