Depression: Psychedelic trip therapy?

Just two doses of psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic “magic mushrooms”, offer rapid relief from major depression, suggests a small but encouraging study at Johns Hopkins University, which reinforces previous findings. they usually take days or weeks to work, and their effectiveness has been questioned in recent years and insufficiently small for a significant proportion of patients. Researchers around the world are now searching for new fast-acting antidepressants. Dr. Roland Griffiths by Johns Hopkins talks about his team’s latest findings. dealing with depression and alcoholism. But research efforts stopped after the 1970s, when the substances were banned by the US government. In recent years, interest has returned, despite ethical and bureaucratic obstacles to conducting such tests. For example, ketamine, better known in the drug market as “Special K”, has given encouraging results in treating depression. A new study presented at JAMA Psychiatry, a review by the American Medical Association, suggests that the hallucinogen may be effective in the general population of patients with major depression. “The effect size we recorded was about four times “Clinical studies of conventional antidepressants on the market have shown,” said psychiatrist Alan Davis, a member of the research team. “However, he stressed that the findings should be confirmed in larger clinical trials comparing psilocybin volunteers.” with patients who have been given only ps placebo. Psychedelic sessions. A total of 24 volunteers participated in the study, all with a long history of depressive episodes, who agreed to gradually discontinue any antidepressants they were taking, so that they could safely participate in the experiment. with a difference of two weeks. For about five hours, the psychedelic effect lay on the couch wearing a sleep mask and headphones to listen to music, always in the presence of a doctor who provided guidance and reassurance. most likely involved visual and auditory hallucinations. You can listen to the testimony of one of the volunteers in the video below. In order to measure the effect of the treatment, the volunteers completed standard questionnaires to assess depression before the first session, one week and one month after. Reduction of symptoms by more than 50% was recorded in 67% of volunteers one week after the session, which increased to 71% three weeks later. Four weeks after treatment, 54% of participants no longer met the diagnostic criteria for depression. “Given that there are several types of major depressive disorder that can lead to differences in how patients respond to treatment, I was surprised “Most of the participants found that psilocybin therapy was effective,” said Roland Griffiths, who led the study. Griffiths, who began researching the psychotherapeutic effects of psilocybin in the early 2000s, , or even concern about this kind of research. But he has now secured the support of the research community and is currently the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic Research. His team will now continue to monitor volunteers for a year from the completion of the study to see how long it lasts. the antidepressant effect. The findings will be presented in a future study. Meanwhile, says Griffiths, several biotechnology companies are working to develop psilocybin derivatives and other psychedelics for psychiatric use. and the World, at

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