COVID-19 Likely to Give Psychedelics a Boost

July 8, 2020 13:05:30

Pharmacists are proposing psychedelics therapy as a measure to deal with the mental health issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous experience with 2003’s SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) revealed the overwhelming trauma that such a pandemic can cause.

It’s projected that the COVID-19 pandemic will have similar or worse cases of post-traumatic stress disorder. Considering many have lost loved ones, jobs, homes, disruption of learning, separation, and so much more, it is likely to take a huge toll on people. Cases of suicides, addiction, stress, and depression may be on the rise.

Dr. Morgan Campbell, a psychiatrist from Wisconsin, has gone as far as suggesting that psychedelics are approved purposely for patients with mental illnesses associated with the current pandemic. So far, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) hasn’t yet commented on his request.

While giving his opinion to a local media outlet, the doctor laments how psychedelic medicine has been under review for years and hasn’t received approval despite positive results from many types of research.

“Twenty years of trials for psilocybin and twenty years of MDMA studies show that they outperform currently approved medications for PTSD,” he wrote in the piece.

There seems to hope at the end of the tunnel after recent actions by the FDA to ‘fast-track’ the status of approval of both psilocybin and MDMA. There is a growing demand for antidepressants as a result of COVID-19.

However, the obstacles before these new drugs hit the market are not something that can go away overnight. Federal approvals sometimes take years, and time will tell if indeed psychedelics pass the test and makes it onto pharmaceuticals shelves.

Scientists have been researching psychedelic drugs for decades, and trying to link its effectiveness in aiding mental functioning. It began in the 1940s when Albert Hoffman discovered Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, LSD. It was the go-to drug for treating alcoholism as well as other psychiatric disorders.

In the 1960s, the U.S. government changed its stance when psychedelics became associated with conflicting ideas against authority. This conflict led the U.S. together with the UK to claim that the drug was harmful. This led to its ban.

Over the years, researchers continued to study and experiment with the drug, with more promising results. Ben Sassa, a psychiatrist from the UK, renamed this phase the “psychedelic renaissance” in reference to its new treatment methods, different from traditional therapy methods.

The political and social stigma surrounding psychedelic therapy still exists. Even though some states are slowly re-embracing the medicine, it will take a lot to restore it. That’s why activists, scientists, journalists, and NGOs are joining forces to showcase how it is a much-needed treatment for the COVID-19 impacts. Analysts say this is a cause that sector players like Psy Bio Therapeutics Inc. are willing to fully participate in until patients can access psychedelics for their mental health conditions.

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