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Take a “Trip” to Therapy

Haley Mullins

Posted on May 8, 2021 14:34

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A recent revival in researching psychedelics as a form of therapy shows promise in treating a variety of mental health disorders.

Your first thought when someone mentions psychedelics may be the stereotypical tie-dye hippie, Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters, or even the kid who thought he could fly from a third story window in college after a tab of acid.  These images, however, are by no means a comprehensive picture of what psychedelics are or how they can be used.  


Our history with psychedelics has been complicated, with many early research initiatives hindered by legal restrictions.  In recent years, some studies have resumed, and the results thus far have been enlightening.


A recent study found that when supplemented with talk therapy, pure MDMA provided lasting relief to those suffering from severe PTSD.  Two months following the clinical trial, 67% of those diagnosed with PTSD were evaluated and stripped of the diagnosis.  


While researchers urge that medicating oneself with the drug without also engaging in talk therapy did not produce the same benefits, many view the results as groundbreaking work that may open doors to further research into other banned psychedelics.


In order to receive FDA approval for the therapeutic administration of the drug, the current Phase 3 trial will need to continue to show positive results.


MDMA isn’t the only psychedelic that has recently shown promise in treating mental health disorders.  Last year, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers conducted a study to gauge the efficiency of psilocybin (the hallucinogenic compound in “magic mushrooms”) in treating Major Depression.  The study treated subjects suffering from moderate to severe depression with two doses of psilocybin in therapeutic settings, and the results were glaringly positive.


When subjects followed up four weeks after the clinical trial, researchers determined that the effects of the psilocybin treatment were approximately four times more effective than the traditional antidepressants available on the market.  The vast majority of patients saw at least 50% reduction in symptoms and over half were considered in remission from depression.


Small Pharma is in the early stages of conducting research into the therapeutic benefits of N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in people with diagnosed Major Depression.  Because the psychedelic effects of DMT are just as potent but last a dramatically shorter period of time than psilocybin and LSD (which can sometimes last 12 hours), the potential for this naturally occurring substance to treat depressive symptoms is significant.


The growing trend in psychedelic research for a variety of mental illnesses is one that is long overdue.  As those with mental health disorders suffer for years and test a variety of pharmaceutical concoctions to manage symptoms--many of which cause their own unpleasant side effects--psychedelic research has long gone overlooked due to the stigmatization and fearmongering of government officials.  


Now, with these promising findings and a less conservative American government, we may finally get to see the psychedelic revolution we so desperately need after over a year of grappling with the collective trauma of the pandemic.  Only time will tell if a “trip” to therapy will truly help us alleviate our ever-growing mental health crisis.

Haley Mullins

Posted on May 8, 2021 14:34

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Source: ScienceDaily

As psychedelics gain ground as a potential therapy for mental health disorders, there remains a pressing concern that patients...

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