Psychedelics May Be Answer to Chronic Pain Relief

December 1, 2020 15:12:03

The U.S. election results revealed the increasing acceptance of cannabis, as voters in various states confirmed widespread desire to legalize the substance for recreational use. We also saw the authorization of the therapeutic use and psilocybin study in Oregon as well as its decriminalization in the District of Columbia.

A lot of research has been done on the use of psychedelics to treat various mental health disorders. MDMA, which is commonly known as ecstasy and psilocybin, are currently in phase 3 studies for treatment of PTSD and depression. However, little research has been carried out that focuses on the use of psychedelics as a treatment for chronic pain.

Despite clinical evidence showing that using psychedelic substances to treat chronic pain isn’t as broad, case reports and studies carried out in the past five decades show that psychedelic substances have benefits that may help manage cluster headaches, phantom limb pain and cancer pain. One recent study demonstrated that psilocybin, which is a compound found in magic mushrooms, was helpful in alleviating the demoralization that AIDS survivors face. This was conducted as a group therapy study. Demoralization is a psychological state that may be depicted as giving up, helplessness and hopelessness. Researchers associate demoralization with harmful health effects such as chronic pain and stress.

In the ancient times, psychedelics such as MDMA, mescaline and lysergic acid were given as sacraments. They also promote a sense of unity in different religions and cultures, where they played the role of catalysts to help induce mystical experiences. Currently, numerous clinical trials are being conducted to evaluate psychedelics’ effects on religious leaders’ attitudes.

Encouraging study results were also seen in the treatment of addiction and end-of-life distress using these drugs. Psychedelics assisted researchers in studying various psychological disorders having neurobiological bases. Some studies suggest that while the use of nontherapeutic psychedelics brings forth positive mental health results, the substances may also cause some individuals harm.

Research by the University of California San Diego’s Joel P. Castellanos shows that psychedelics can alter the brain’s functional connectivity areas, which play important roles in various central neuropathic states. These adjustments in functional connectivity suggest a way that psychedelics can be used to help undo the changes observed in neural connections in various states of chronic pain. These changes include tinnitus, complex regional pain disorder and cluster headaches.

Castellanos explains that with the limited effectiveness that non-narcotic painkillers offer and the state of the opioid epidemic, it may be time to delve deeper into the use of psychedelics as painkillers. This, he says, will improve the lives of the many patients who are living with chronic pain conditions.

One of the entities looking to take a lead role in the Canadian functional mushroom space is Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL). The firm added a functional mushrooms vertical and is poised to develop medicinal as well functional psychedelic products.

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