Study Finds Psilocybin-Assisted Psychotherapy Effective in Treating Suicidal Ideation in Cancer Patients

January 5, 2022 13:46:20

Patients with cancer have a high risk of suicidal ideation and suicide, in particular patients in the advanced stages. These individuals often experience a loss of meaning in life and existential distress, which isn’t easily remedied through the use of pharmacological treatments. However, a new study has found that psilocybin when used together with psychotherapy may alleviate suicidal ideation in patients with life-threatening cancers.

The improvements observed in patient mental health were maintained months and even years after treatment had been administered. The study’s findings were reported in the “ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science” journal.

The researchers, led by Stephen Ross, conducted an analysis of a prior crossover study that had patients with advanced cancer receive doses of niacin and psilocybin while undergoing psychotherapy. The patients were divided into two groups, one-half of whom received psilocybin first while the others received niacin first. Niacin was used as an active control.

For their study, Ross and his colleagues recruited 11 participants who presented with suicidality, with the average age being 60. At baseline, each participant was asked to complete assessments of spiritual well-being, hopelessness, loss of meaning and suicidal ideation. This was in addition to follow-up assessments that were administered during their psychotherapy treatment.

From their analysis, the researchers discovered that loss of meaning and suicidal ideation scores for patients who had received psilocybin first declined considerably in comparison to baseline levels. They also discovered that, on average, members of the group that had received psilocybin first had lower scores of loss of meaning in comparison to members of the group that received niacin first.

The researchers maintained that these changes observed were relatively long term, noting that declines in loss of meaning and suicidal ideation, when compared to baseline, were still apparent when they were evaluated about 6 months later. In their report, the researchers explained that declines in suicidal ideation corresponded with reductions in demoralization, hopelessness and loss of meaning. They also suggested that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy, comprised of existential components, could help lower suicidal thinking by improving meaning-making.

In addition, the researchers observed that their results suggest that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy may be a new psychosocial-pharmacological treatment modality for suicidality associated with advanced cancer. They add that more empirical research is required to conclusively establish the treatment’s potential mechanisms of action and effectiveness. They believe that the treatment will have extensive implications once its effectiveness is proven, including its use in treating suicidality among individuals with major depressive disorder.

Other researchers involved in the study include Sarah E. Mennenga, Anthony Bossis, Jeffrey Guss, Christian Bjerre Real, Silvia Franco Corso, Julia Benville, Leila Ghazal, Richard J. Zeifman, Sharon Lo and Gabrielle Agin-Liebes.

There is a more psychedelic medicine development being done by sector actors such as Mydecine Innovations Group Inc. (NEO: MYCO) (OTC: MYCOF). The years ahead look promising with regard to the availability of novel treatments that are more effective against mental health disorders.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Mydecine Innovations Group Inc. (NEO: MYCO) (OTC: MYCOF) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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