A Comprehensive Review of Psilocybin’s Therapeutic Benefits
Psilocybin and other 5-hydroxytryptamine2A agonist classic psychedelics have long been used as ceremonies in indigenous societies. In the middle of the 20th century, they were a major topic of study in psychiatry as both experimental drugs and instruments for understanding brain function. These scientific studies fell out of favour because by the late 1960s and early 1970s, traditional psychedelics were being used for purposes other than medical study and in association with the developing counterculture.
- A Comprehensive Review of Psilocybin’s Therapeutic BenefitsHowever, interest in conventional psychedelics has increased among scientists in the twenty-first century as a result of several favourable investigations that have supported prior research.
An Overview of Psychedelic Research
The conventional hallucinogenic psilocybin, which has attracted the majority of recent attention, is the subject of today’s study. In at least six months following a single acute therapy for mood and anxiety disorders, psilocybin may improve feelings of despair and anxiety in the context of psychological distress due to cancer, according to three controlled studies.
Traditional psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin, mescaline, and dimethyltryptamine, have been utilised by numerous indigenous societies for ages, usually in sacramental contexts. Mescaline, the main psychoactive component of the peyote cactus, was first isolated by Arthur Heffter in 1897, but it wasn’t until the 1943 synthesis and discovery of the psychoactivity of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) that these compounds began to receive significant attention from the scientific community.
Between 1950 and the middle of the 1960s, over 1000 clinical articles involving over 40,000 patients were published on traditional psychedelics. Aside from fundamental research investigations, this time period produced intriguing preliminary evidence that traditional psychedelics, when used in psychotherapy, held particular potential for 2 disorders: addiction and end-of-life psychological anguish related to cancer. Although some preliminary findings were encouraging, the majority of studies lacked robust designs by today’s standards.
- Non-medical use of classic psychedelics and the link between them and the burgeoning counterculture sparked a political backlash that led to the marginalization of human classic psychedelic research, the cessation of government funding for classic psychedelic research, and regulations that made such research challenging, effectively ending all human classic psychedelic research.
The Promising Therapeutic Benefits of Psilocybin
Cancer-Related Mental Distress
A new study looked at the use of a higher dose of psilocybin to alleviate anxiety and sadness in cancer patients. Patients were 51 people who had been given a life-threatening cancer diagnosis and were also diagnosed with one of many potential DSM-IV mood or anxiety-related disorders.
- The study found that, at 5 weeks, patients receiving a high psilocybin dose had far more favourable clinical outcomes than those receiving a very low amount. Furthermore, during a 6-month follow-up, the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale, the STAI, the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, and the BDI all demonstrated significant and long-lasting decreases.
These outcomes are notable due to the huge size of therapeutic effects as well as the fact that they demonstrate ongoing benefits for several months following a single pharmaceutical dose. At the 6-month follow-up, almost 80% of patients still had clinically significant declines in anxiety and depressive mood, and about 60% displayed remission, or symptom levels within the normal range.
Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD)
When compared to baseline scores, depressive symptoms considerably decreased after 1 week and 3 months post-treatment as measured by the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptoms, the BDI, and other measures. For STAI-measured anxiety symptoms, the same pattern was observed.
- Every participant demonstrated a decrease in depression severity after 1 week, and the majority of these reductions persisted for 3 months. Eight out of twelve patients reached the criterion for complete remission, and five out of twelve were in remission at the last three-month follow-up, in accordance with the BDI’s standard criteria for assessing remission.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
In a pilot study, oral psilocybin’s impact on individuals with obsessive-compulsive disorder was investigated in 9 participants. Doses of 0.025, 0.1, 0.2, and 0.3 mg/kg were given. Between each session, a week passed. According to the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale, every participant had significant symptom reduction during at least one session.
One participant displayed long-term gains at the 6-month follow-up. It should be highlighted that a same level of symptom reduction was seen at all dose circumstances, even the really low dose meant to have little to no effect, even if these data would suggest psilocybin efficacy.
- The consistent response at such a variety of doses Potential Therapeutic Effects of Psilocybin suggests that expectation effects and placebo effects could have contributed to the results.
psilocybin-containing mushrooms, in addition to LSD, may be useful in ending cluster headaches or preventing their regular occurrence, according to one published case series of 53 self-medicating individuals. This is intriguing because the illness has a limited number of effective licensed medications, and the pain it causes is frequently severe and incapacitating.
- This therapeutic use would likely be different from the other traditional psychedelic medicines in that beneficial therapeutic outcomes do not appear to depend on subjective experiences following psilocybin delivery, if rigorous clinical trials support these findings.
In addition to the release of the case series, a survey study of 496 cluster headache sufferers revealed that psilocybin and related classic psychedelics may offer equivalent or superior therapy outcomes to currently licensed medications.
Psilocybin may receive regulatory permission for use as a medicine in the USA and other countries if additional studies involving bigger numbers of participants continue to demonstrate such enduring therapeutic results and a good adverse effect profile.
- To optimize efficacy and reduce medical and behavioural risks, laws controlling clinical usage should closely resemble the screening, preparation, monitoring, and follow-up methods employed in research studies.
Government agencies must take the lead in promoting cautious and academic research on traditional psychedelic therapies as strong evidence for their safety and efficacy grows.
The most recent psilocybin studies, particularly the evidence of long-lasting therapeutic effects that may result from a single dose of medication, suggests that therapy with traditional psychedelics is possible.