New Study: Psilocybin Frees The Mind of Depression

Your problems will have no more meaning,
Your mind will be free.

So sang the Strawberry Alarm Clock in their 1968 hit, “Pretty Song from Psych-Out,” about psychedelic drugs. Fast forward to 2023 and the medical establishment is saying that the sentiment has empirical validity.

A new clinical trial, as reported by the American Medical Association (AMA), indicates the effectiveness and safety of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy in alleviating bipolar II disorder.

The first-of-its-kind study was conducted at Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Baltimore, involving 15 participants facing severe and enduring bipolar II disorder depression. The research was authored by nine medical researchers and published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal on December 6.

Bipolar II disorder is commonly linked with challenging depressive episodes that are often resistant to conventional therapies. But in carefully constructed scientific settings, psilocybin is demonstrating the ability to set these suffering minds free.

The Sheppard Pratt trial incorporated seven psychotherapy sessions, including one session with a single psilocybin dose. (As my readers should know by now, psilocybin is the psychoactive ingredient in “magic mushrooms.”)

According to the researchers, the results showcased robust and enduring antidepressant effects without any indication of exacerbated mood instability or heightened suicidality.

In the nonrandomized controlled study, a noteworthy 12 out of 15 participants met both response and remission criteria by the end of the 12-week period. This signifies a reduction by more than half in the diagnostic measures, falling below a predefined threshold.

The open-label nonrandomized controlled trial demonstrated the power of psilocybin, combined with psychotherapy, to effectively treat the scourge of bipolar II depression, without deleterious side effects. Quality of life scores, self-reported by the patients, also demonstrated notable improvements, as per the study funded by COMPASS Pathways (NSDQ: CMPS), a biotechnology company specializing in psychedelic treatments.

Regarding safety, there were no significant changes in metrics related to suicidal ideation and mania post-treatment compared to baseline. The research centered on administering a single 25-milligram dose of psilocybin. Patients, diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, engaged in seven therapy sessions, spanning pre-treatment, an “eight-hour dosing day,” and post-treatment integration.

The study underscored the rapid remission observed in most participants within a week of dosing, persisting for the entire 12-week duration.

Researchers highlighted the association between the intensity of the psychedelic experience and clinical benefit. Those with a substantial psychedelic impact tended to exhibit more prolonged antidepressant effects.

In other words, an integral part of the therapy was the hallucinogenic “trip” and its ability to free the mind of obsessively negative thoughts. Psychedelics such as psilocybin can rewire the brain to induce more positive cogitation, by fostering “neural plasticity and synapse formation.

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 pain.

The following chart shows the big money that’s at stake:

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. Psychedelics could be an economical alternative.

Read This Story: Psilocybin: Cost-Effective Psychotherapy?

The JAMA study contributes to the growing body of research showcasing the potential of psilocybin and other entheogens in treating various mental health conditions. Other recent studies have linked psilocybin use to reductions in depression, anxiety, and alcohol misuse, offering insights into the resurgence of interest in psychedelics and their therapeutic outcomes.

Notably, a study published September 19 shows that psilocybin use can cause “persisting reductions” in depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse. The study also found that psilocybin increases emotional self-regulation and spiritual wellbeing, and eases introversion. The study was conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Ohio State University and Unlimited Sciences.

WATCH THIS VIDEO: “Sin Stocks” and The Virtues of Agnostic Investing

To learn more about these trends (and how to make money from them), I suggest you read my new book: The Wide World of Weed and Psychedelics.

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John Persinos is the editorial director of Investing Daily.

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