The use of psychedelics as a treatment for serious mental health conditions continues to gain attention, as multiple studies focus on psychiatric symptoms commonly experienced by cancer patients. In one study, researchers at the University of Washington are investigating the use of psilocybin, one of the psychoactive components in magic mushrooms, to treat anxiety experienced by patients with metastatic cancer. Other research has focused on using psychedelic therapy to help patients in hospice care cope with depression.
In another study at the New York University (NYU) School of Medicine Center for Psychedelic Medicine, researchers collaborated with colleagues at the center to use psilocybin-assisted therapy to treat existential distress in patients with advanced cancer. A clinical trial is being conducted. University of Colorado. Dr. Xiaojue Hu, a psychiatrist and researcher at New York University’s Center for Psychedelic Medicine, said the study “builds on the same research that was first conducted in this field at New York University in the 2010s.” Ta.
“Many other studies are currently underway using psilocybin in cancer patients, including one at Emory University to treat depressed cancer survivors with chronic pain. This includes studies using psilocybin in combination with multidisciplinary palliative care to treat.” she told SurvivorNet.
Hu explained that psychedelic-assisted therapy may be a more sustainable and effective treatment for cancer patients than other commonly prescribed alternative treatments such as antidepressants.
“Studies of psilocybin in depression alone have shown clinically significant effects with just one or two doses of psilocybin combined with therapeutic support that can last up to 14 months in some patients.” Mr. Hu said. “This is in contrast to antidepressants, which must be taken every day, sometimes for years, and there is a risk of relapse as you taper off the medication.”
Psilocybin and MDMA for mental health
Clinical and other studies on psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin and MDMA show that these drugs have potential. therapeutic effectespecially if you have a serious mental health condition such as: depressionPTSD, substance abuse disorders, and anxiety. In January, a California biopharmaceutical company announced positive results from a clinical trial. MDMA as a treatment for PTSD. A 2020 study published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Psychiatry found that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was an effective and fast-acting treatment for a group of 24 participants with major depressive disorder. There was found.another study A paper published in 2016 found that psilocybin treatment led to significant and sustained reductions in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer.
Although the study is promising, Hu said psychedelic-assisted therapy does not work for everyone and more research is needed to confirm the treatment’s effectiveness and safety.
“Psychedelics are not a panacea or miracle cure for anxiety or depression. There are still many unknowns about psychedelics, and as with any treatment, there is always the possibility of side effects,” Dr. Hu said. .
Hu added that the research focuses on using psychedelic treatments in conjunction with multiple sessions that integrate more traditional treatments.
“Most of the research is also done when psychedelics, such as psilocybin, are used in the context of therapeutic support, usually by two therapists. This includes up to three preparatory sessions followed by three integration sessions. sessions may be included,” she said. “Therefore, in my opinion, the results are not entirely due to the physiological effects of psilocybin alone, but must be considered in conjunction with the therapeutic and environmental support provided.”
Hu also said that psychedelic-assisted therapy takes place in a tightly controlled environment, as the set and environment in which a patient receives treatment can affect the success of the treatment.
“If someone takes Lexapro, we don’t usually expect different results. [an antidepressant] “You can operate in different moods, different people, different environments, and it’s definitely possible when psychedelics are involved,” she said.
Although research continues, the use of psychedelics to treat serious mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression has not yet received approval from health regulators. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services predicts that the Food and Drug Administration will eventually approve mental health treatments with MDMA and psilocybin, according to a May 2022 letter from the agency. In 2017, the FDA granted Breakthrough Therapy designation to MDMA-assisted therapy. This treatment represents a significant improvement over existing treatments.
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) predicts that applications to use MDMA to treat PTSD will be submitted to the FDA in 2023 and could be approved as early as 2024. It has not been approved by any regulatory agency, and the safety and efficacy of MDMA adjuvant therapy in the treatment of PTSD has not been firmly established.
“MDMA and psilocybin currently have the most clinical research and legal momentum, with psilocybin already legalized in Oregon and Colorado, and Phase III clinical trials for MDMA recently completed,” Hu said. he said.