Psilocybin: Cost-Effective Psychotherapy?

Big Pharma charges high prices for its brand name anti-depressants and many health insurance plans provide stingy or non-existent coverage for mental health treatment. Is psychedelics the solution?

Researchers in the United Kingdom recently released a study that shows psychedelics-assisted psychotherapy can be a more cost-effective option than conventional types of treatment for patients with chronic depression. The ramifications are huge for the medical establishment, pharmaceutical firms, and investors.

The study was published in the June 2023 issue of the journal Psychological Medicine. The research was conducted by a team of seven scientists at Cambridge University.

The mainstreaming of psychedelics remains in its nascent stage, which makes LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, ketamine, MDMA, and other drugs the “next big thing” in growth-oriented investing.

Psychedelics remain illegal on the national level in the U.K. and U.S. However, local and state laws in the U.S. are starting to loosen up and analysts expect the legalization trend to soon take hold with our cousins across the pond.

Depression is a pervasive mental health problem that afflicts millions of people worldwide. The psychedelics industry is poised to capture a significant chunk of the $28.6 billion global antidepressant market in coming years, as clinical trials increasingly show the efficacy of these substances to alleviate psychological suffering.

The psychedelic health care industry is on track to exceed $2.4 billion in annual revenue by 2026, based on the value of psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine assisted therapies, according to the global research group PSYCH (see the following chart):

Although there are many anti-depressants on the market, a significant number of people with depression fail to see an improvement with traditional therapies. A severe type of depression, called treatment-resistant depression (TRD), is particularly resistant to the usual roster of mainstream drugs and can ruin a person’s quality of life.

Several clinical trials in recent years have shown that psychotherapy in tandem with psychedelics, notably psilocybin, can effectively treat TRD. And yet, until the new U.K. study came along, the cost-effectiveness of psilocybin versus commonly prescribed antidepressants had never been comprehensively explored.

Read This Story: Take Two Shrooms and Call Me in The Morning

Psilocybin-assisted therapy combines the use psilocybin (the psychoactive ingredient in “magic mushrooms”) with talk therapy in a controlled setting. This type of therapy already has shown remarkable results in treating depression, anxiety, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The authors of the new U.K. study wrote:

“Effective and relatively inexpensive treatments for depression exist, but a significant proportion of people with depression will have an inadequate treatment response and relapse rates can be high.”

The researchers used a computer model to mathematically project the cost-effectiveness of psilocybin-assisted therapy for TRD during a period of six months. The simulation was based on data from existing and past clinical studies regarding the results and costs of psilocybin-assisted therapy.

The model compared the benefits (e.g., improved mood and enhanced quality of life) and costs of psilocybin-assisted therapy with those of conventional treatments for TRD, such as antidepressant medications and psychotherapy.

Over this six-month period, the researchers discovered that the highest increase in quality of life was for patients who received psilocybin-assisted therapy, at a cheaper cost.

“This study provides preliminary information about the potential cost-effectiveness of psilocybin for treating severe depression,” the researchers concluded. “The results indicate positive findings from a societal perspective, which may identify and facilitate more cost-effective approaches to psilocybin therapy. It is essential to better understand who the drug should be prioritised for in terms of treatment resistance and how much therapist support is required.”

The study carries a long title: “Cost-effectiveness of psilocybin-assisted therapy for severe depression: exploratory findings from a decision analytic model.” To see the details of the study’s findings, including its specific cost comparisons, visit this URL.

Editor’s Note: As cannabis and psychedelics enter the mainstream, some related equity investments are superb. But many others are not. You need to conduct due diligence.

That’s where my publication, Marijuana Profit Alert, comes in. By applying my proprietary screening methodologies, I pinpoint for subscribers the most attractive plays on the psychotropic revolution. To learn more, click here.

John Persinos is the chief investment strategist of Marijuana Profit Alert.

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