About five years ago, researchers started a trial looking into the therapeutic effects of psilocybin. This compound is the active ingredient found in hallucinogenic mushrooms, and it induces a high when ingested. The trial involved patients suffering from cancer-related depression.
Each of the patients in the trial received a dose of this psychedelic, which was accompanied with a session led by certified and trained therapists. Several months later, 80% of the study’s participants were found to be considerably less depressed. Since then, other trials have discovered similar long-lasting benefits in patients with depression. Different anecdotal reports suggest that psychedelics may be useful in the treatment of substance abuse, obsessive compulsive disorder, migraines and anxiety.
Now, a research group led by Dr. Bryan Roth has developed a synthetic psychedelic compound that may be effective in treating depression, as observed in mice models.
For their study, the researchers administered the compound to the lab mice, observing no signs that the mice were experiencing hallucinations. Normally, when mice receive psychedelics, their heads twitch, indicating that they are hallucinating.
In this case, no twitches were observed even after the compound made its way to the mice’s brains. This led to the realization that the researchers had developed a new drug that provided all the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs without the trip. The compound was generated using a computational program that assesses millions of chemical structures.
In the report, Roth stated that the small study had produced unprecedented results for a psychiatric treatment, noting that drugs that were usually prescribed to treat depression such as Celexa and Prozac worked roughly 50% of the time, despite patients ingesting them every day. If clinical trials confirm that the drug is effective in humans, it may make psychedelic therapies palatable to a bigger audience that would prefer not to trip while undergoing medical treatment.
Roth’s laboratory isn’t the first to develop a non-hallucinogenic psychedelic compound. In the last two years, Sheng Wang and a UC Davis research group have also published articles detailing similar molecules. The primary difference between their compound and Roth’s is that both their substances were developed from already-existing drugs.
The study was funded by DARPA and NIH grants, with researchers reporting their findings in “Nature,” in collaboration with scientists at Yale and UC-San Francisco. UNC-Chapel Hill plans to begin clinical trials for Roth’s compound soon, in partnership with Onsero Therapeutics. UNC-Chapel Hill holds a patent on the compound, together with Yale and UCSF.
Other entities such as Silo Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: SILO) are also conducting their own psychedelic R&D programs. The coming years could see a variety of approved psychedelic treatments on the market for different psychiatric and physiological indications.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Silo Pharma Inc. (NASDAQ: SILO) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/SILO
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