Psilocybin has been used for millennia around the globe for many uses, including for spiritual connections as well as a remedy in some Indigenous communities. Research has shown that this hallucinogenic compound found in “magic mushrooms” can be used to treat severe depression.
However, since it was banned in 1970, psilocybin remains classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Substances under this classification are considered to have a high potential for abuse with no accepted medical use. This isn’t the case for most substances under this classification, and as more research on psychedelics surfaces, this may change.
Roland Griffiths of the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University stated that psilocybin worked differently than other current treatments for depression. The institution where Griffiths is a neuroscience and psychiatry professor has been conducting research on psilocybin for at least two decades. Its latest study examined how two psilocybin sessions coupled with psychotherapy could help treat individuals suffering from moderate to severe depression.
The researchers found that more than 70% of the participants reported a reduction in their symptoms of depression a month after the sessions. Additionally, another 54% could no longer qualify as depressed. The researchers then conducted a follow-up a few months later, which led to the discovery that remission and the treatment response rate remained stable for a year after treatment.
There are other studies carried out by reputable institutions with similar findings, some of which are looking into how psilocybin changes the brain. For instance, a lab at the University of Minnesota run by Dr. Jessica Nielson is carrying out a study focused on discovering psilocybin’s window of therapeutic opportunity. The multiyear study will also investigate why and how the drug changes an individual’s visual system. Thus far, almost 100 individuals have applied to take part in this research.
Researchers hope that the psychedelic will be legalized for medicinal use given that the FDA already gave it breakthrough therapy status, which is usually given to drugs that have demonstrated a clear advantage over current therapies. Most companies also hope that the drug will soon be rescheduled for medical use. This also goes for psychedelics such as MDMA and ketamine.
A St. Paul clinic, Integrative Therapies, provides ketamine therapy to treat individuals with various indications including anxiety, depression and different forms of trauma. Ketamine was approved in 2019 by the FDA and is a dissociative anesthetic that can induce psychedelic experiences. Companies such as Delic Holdings Corp. (CSE: DELC) (OTCQB: DELCF) have found success operating clinics where patients can receive ketamine infusions in a clinical setting.
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