How Microdosing Psilocybin Helped Me Fight Depression

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How Microdosing “Magic” Mushrooms Helped Me Fight Depression

I’d like to feel grounded. Please allow me to be intrigued. This was my daily motto from last November till the beginning of this month. Every morning, I’d walk outdoors in my bare feet, feel the dirt beneath my toes, even in the winter, and mentally repeat those words to myself in my head. Then I’d go inside and pour myself a cup of matcha, savoring the sweet, earthy flavor before eating a bit of the soil itself, in the shape of 50 milligrams of psychoactive mushrooms, which were grown on my property.

I contemplated taking an antidepressant, namely a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), but my prior poor experiences with these often prescribed medications dissuaded me from taking the medication.

I was certain that I wanted to give it a shot.

The science behind psilocybin and depression

Psilocybin, along with other psychedelics such as LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly referred to as acid) and MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, commonly referred to as Ecstasy or Molly), has been studied for its ability to rewire your brain for positive thinking, and it has been shown to be effective. Recent study on mushrooms as drug-assisted treatment was published in the November 2020 issue of the journal JAMA Psychiatry, which discovered that high dosages of psilocybin are more effective in treating depression than prescription antidepressants.

A member of the JAMA research team, Alan Davis is an assistant professor of social work at Ohio State University as well as a researcher at the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Researchat Johns Hopkins University and the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Researchat Johns Hopkins.

A meta-analysis published in the journalTherapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology in July of this year supports the use of low-dose psilocybin for the treatment of depressive symptoms.

More study, however, is needed to understand why this experimental technique is effective and who could benefit from it in the future.

More information may be found at: Psychedelics: Would You Consider Using Them in Your Practice to Take It to a Higher Level? Image courtesy of eskymaks / Getty Images

Dialing in the dosage

As if by magic, the practice of microdosing mushrooms has expanded and taken root like a fungus despite—or maybe even because of—scientific evidence. Preparing for my ritual began with reading protocols online (there are many to choose from) and finding a coach (of sorts) who could provide guidance on the what, when, and how. Due to the widely different information available online as well as through friends, it was important to do this research. Recommendations ranged from 50 mg to 150 mg of powdered mushrooms taken twice a day for months on end, depending on the source.

  1. He is legally permitted to provide psilocybin advise (but he is not legally permitted to deliver mushroom-assisted therapy).
  2. Some localities, such as Denver and Oakland, as well as the state of Oregon, have decriminalized the possession and production of magic mushrooms, despite the fact that they are still illegal in most places.
  3. How would I strike the right balance between having too much and not enough?
  4. My coach, who I believe to be a specialist in the field of plant medicine, advised me that if you are experiencing psychedelic effects, you are not microdosing correctly.
  5. This was light enough that I could always choose to increase the amount if I didn’t feel better after a few weeks, but not strong enough to put me into a state of delirium.

The importance of ritual

After then, the procedure began. In order to enhance the effects of my experience, I purchased a jeweler’s scale and empty capsules on Amazon, obtained lion’s mane mushrooms and niacin from a local pharmacy (in accordance with mushroom expert Paul Stamet’s “stack” protocol for how to enhance the effects of your experience), and was given a large Ziplock bag full of magical, dried, green-streaked fungi. Originally, they were obtained from an acquaintance who had grown them for ceremonial purposes and refused to accept payment in cash.

When it came to this procedure, there was something fierce and sacred about it.

Apart from that, I was able to inject some thankfulness into my mushrooms by sending them a few silent thank yous before I put them through my coffee grinder.

I decided to turn my daily dosage into a sort of ceremonial, ensuring that I stayed connected to nature and kept my attention on grounding. In addition, this was significant to my coach, who stressed the mystical nature of plant medicine. See also: How Yoga Can Aid in the Treatment of Depression

The power of psilocybin

Except for a mild stomachache, I didn’t have any other sensations at first. That cleared up within a few of days. Over the course of many weeks, I began to feel a minor untangling, as if a knot were being untangled from my hair. Tendrils and roots began to unfold, to relieve tension, to relax, and to reach out for a connection to something greater than themselves. The process of changing houses had begun, and I was experiencing frenzied periods of packing and anger with my husband, followed by stress hangovers accompanied with sorrow for the way I’d acted the day before.

  • This time, though, something seemed different.
  • I started packing early in order to avoid the crazy dash at the end, and while I was heartbroken to be leaving my friends and family, I was able to recognize the loss, despair, and unrootedness I was experiencing without allowing it to take over my life (for the most part).
  • Nevertheless, when under the grip of mushrooms, I saw that I was beginning to discover that elusive area between event and reaction timeframes.
  • For example, my partner enjoys debating (and being correct), which usually causes me to become agitated.
  • The displeasure expressed by my husband during a heated discussion was suddenly his frustration, not mine, and it was no longer a personal attack on me.
  • Clarity of a different kind, the kind that comes with compartmentalization, was a revelation to me.
  • Aside from the liberty that comes with not taking things personally or the lack of the need to ponder on one’s reaction, there was also a childlike exuberance that accompanied it.
  • There was a sense of fulfillment that came with bearing witness to all of the emotions; a sense of lightness that helped me to traverse the dark and heavy with greater intention.

Instead, I was able to recognize and label my despair as it appeared, which assisted me in taming it. Visit this page for more information:Meet Your Well-Being Nerve

Moving on

I did experiment with a greater dose near the conclusion of my trial, but there were no significant differences. I was growing a bit nervous about the conclusion of this routine, because it had become a significant part of my life—one that I had continuously maintained for longer periods of time than almost any other practice, diet, or discipline I had tried (my next experiment will be related to ADHD). I said to my coach that I was concerned about my somewhat compulsive behavior with my daily ritual and that I was afraid to quit because I was afraid of losing this new viewpoint that I had fallen in love with.

My daily matcha and mindfulness practice may continue without the mushrooms, which is one of the many advantages of this procedure.

Every concept that arises as a result of it seems concise, sweeter, and in service of bringing something greater into focus.

Psilocybin to Treat Depression

Magic mushrooms, which contain the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin, are now undergoing a renaissance in popularity. Psilocybin has recently been decriminalized in Seattle, and academics throughout the country are investigating whether it may be used to treat mental illnesses like as sadness and anxiety, among other things. Microdosing psilocybin, which is taking small dosages of psychedelics in order to experience their potentially positive side effects, has become popular among those seeking to reduce anxiety or boost their creative abilities.

Is it true that psilocybin is beneficial in the treatment of mental health conditions?

What is psilocybin?

A natural substance known as psilocybin may be found in various types of mushrooms that grow all over the world, including those that grow in the Pacific Northwest. Large dosages of this drug are hallucinogenic, which means that it induces visual and aural hallucinations in the user. Taking psilocybin can also cause a person’s sense of time to be distorted, as well as their perception of the environment around them. Although people who take psilocybin can have profound, life-altering experiences and realizations, according to Dr.

  1. In my opinion, the experience of being on psychedelics is not pleasurable at all.” According to him, “it doesn’t always feel pleasant, and it may be frightening, uncomfortable, or emotionally overwhelming,” at times.
  2. Maria Sabina, an Indigenous Mazatec shaman who utilized psilocybin-containing mushrooms in healing rites and shared her expertise with westerners, is credited with bringing magic mushrooms to the public’s notice.
  3. Psilocybin became outlawed once it was introduced into the public realm as a party and casual drug, and after it got associated with counterculture groups, the federal government implemented legislation making it illegal.
  4. The decriminalization of psilocybin in Seattle does not imply that the substance is now legal, but it does indicate that it is no longer a top law enforcement priority in the city.

In the United States, psilocybin has only been legalized in one state so far: Oregon. The state enacted legislation in late 2020 to make it lawful in therapeutic conditions.

Can psilocybin treat depression and anxiety?

According to Sackett, psilocybin has the potential to aid patients who are suffering from anxiety or treatment-resistant depression. However, it is intended to be used in conjunction with other therapies rather than as a solo therapy. Traditionally, psilocybin has been studied for its ability to alleviate fear and anxiety in people who are dying of terminal illnesses; however, more recently, researchers have begun to investigate whether it could be used to help people who are suffering from anxiety, depression, or emotional trauma.

  1. The research team, which includes Dr.
  2. According to Sackett, one of the reasons psilocybin has the potential to cure mental illness is because of the powerful mind- and perception-altering experiences it may create.
  3. An individual’s single dosage of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy can be equivalent to numerous sessions of traditional psychotherapy alone, and this session can bring up deep things and lead to remarkable discoveries for people,” says the researcher.
  4. According to Sackett, the procedure normally follows the following steps in clinical studies and discussions with patients: The patient meets with a therapist to create initial trust and discuss their objectives.
  5. Following that, the patient meets with the therapist for further sessions that do not include the use of the medication.
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Is psilocybin safe?

Despite the fact that additional study is needed to establish the safety of psilocybin, the studies that have been conducted thus far have concluded that it is, on the whole, safe. It is possible that people who use psilocybin will have some unpleasant but moderate side effects. These include things like headaches and dizziness as well as anxiety, tiredness and overresponsive reflexes. This is where using psilocybin with the assistance of a therapist may be quite effective. When it comes to probable side effects, therapists can assist clients in anticipating how they will respond and can guide them through the process if they do arise.

To some extent, the anxiety serves as part of the healing process.

Cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure treatment are both examples of this type of therapy. “An important part of the therapeutic function is to sit with the suffering and arrive to the other side, where you know you’ll be OK,” Sackett adds.

Who shouldn’t take psilocybin?

While some individuals can benefit from psilocybin, others should avoid doing so. These include persons who have cardiac issues already (since psilocybin has the potential to momentarily boost someone’s blood pressure and heart rate). Because of its hallucinogenic properties, it is also not recommended for those who have schizophrenia, have experienced psychosis, or have a family history of either of these conditions. Regarding possible addictiveness, while psilocybin’s classification as a Schedule I substance indicates that the Drug Enforcement Administration feels it has a “high potential for abuse,” Sackett argues this is not always the case.

“Psychedelics do not interact with the same reward pathways as drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, cocaine, or opioids; psychedelics are classified as a separate class of drugs, and the risk of overuse or abuse is significantly lower,” he continues.

Should I try microdosing?

Perhaps you’ve heard of microdosing psilocybin, a recent fad that involves ingesting extremely little doses of the psychoactive compound in order to, potentially, reduce symptoms of anxiety or sadness or assist someone in tapping into their creativity. The dosages are often so low that there are no hallucinations associated with them. According to Sackett, there has been very little study on whether microdosing is helpful, which means it is not a good idea to do it without first consulting a doctor about it.

Although “they’re really strong instruments that have the potential to be beneficial therapeutically,” Sackett emphasizes that they must be administered in a controlled setting with “safety checks and balances.” “I’m concerned that individuals may feel empowered to experiment with LSD.

The bottom line

While psilocybin appears to offer potential as a therapeutic agent for persons suffering from depression or anxiety, as well as those going through a terminal disease, further study is needed to evaluate its safety and the most effective way to deliver it to patients. Sackett is optimistic about the future and the potential that psilocybin has to bring about positive changes. He is collaborating with Dr. Jürgen Unützer, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, to establish a novel therapeutics research program that will investigate the pairing of novel compounds such as psilocybin and ketamine with behavioral interventions to treat addictions.

According to him, “my objective is to explore a range of different psychedelics in combination with a variety of various types of therapy in order to enhance results in patients.”

Psychedelic Treatment with Psilocybin Relieves Major Depression, Study Shows

Note: To see and download video footage of Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., discussing his findings, please visit this page. To see and download video footage of a research participant talking about his experience in the Johns Hopkins psilocybin study, please visit this page: clickhere. When combined with supportive psychotherapy, two doses of the psychedelic substance psilocybin produced rapid and significant reductions in depressive symptoms, with the majority of study participants showing improvement and half of participants achieving remission by the end of the four-week follow-up period, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

In 2016, researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine published the first study demonstrating that therapy with psilocybin under psychologically supportive circumstances dramatically reduced existential anxiety and sadness in persons who had been diagnosed with a life-threatening malignancy.

Psychiatrist Alan Davis, Ph.D., an adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says the magnitude of the effect observed was approximately four times greater than what clinical trials have shown for traditional antidepressants currently on the market.

“Because most other depression therapies take weeks or months to act and may have side effects, this could be a game changer.” A four-week follow-up was conducted on 24 volunteers, all of whom had two five-hour psilocybin sessions under the supervision of the researchers.

In light of the fact that there are several types of major depressive disorders that may result in variation in how people respond to treatment, Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., the Oliver Lee McCabe III Professor in the Neuropsychopharmacology of Consciousness at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, was surprised that the psilocybin treatment was found to be effective by the vast majority of study participants.

  1. Dr.
  2. Griffiths claims that public health officials pushed his team to investigate psilocybin’s effects on a broader sample of people suffering from severe depressive disorder because of the potentially significant public health implications of the findings.
  3. The average age of the participants was 39, with 16 being female.
  4. Participants were required to taper off any antidepressants they were taking before to the trial, with the assistance of their personal physician, in order to assure a safe exposure to the experimental medication.
  5. There were two psilocybin dosages administered by two clinical monitors, who were there to provide advice and reassurance during the process.
  6. Each therapy session lasted around five hours and consisted of the subject laying on a couch in front of a set of monitors while wearing eye shields and headphones that played music.
  7. A score of 24 or more indicates severe depression, 17–23 suggests moderate depression, 8–16 shows mild depression, and 7 or less indicates no depression on the scale.
  8. Following therapy, the majority of individuals saw a significant reduction in their symptoms, with almost half reporting that they were no longer depressed at the time of the follow-up.
  9. At the one-week follow-up, 67 percent of the participants exhibited a more than 50% decrease in depression symptoms, and at the four-week follow-up, 71 percent showed a more than 50% reduction in depression symptoms.

According to entrepreneur and philanthropist Tim Ferriss, who contributed to the research’s financing effort, “This study is a very crucial proof of concept for the medical approval of psilocybin for the treatment of depression, a disorder with which I have personally fought for decades.” “How do we explain the extraordinary quantity and long-lasting nature of the effects?” In the future, studies using moderate to high dosages of psychedelics might lead to the discovery of whole new paradigms for understanding and enhancing mood and cognition.

“This is only a taste of what Johns Hopkins has in store for the future.” The researchers say they will follow up with the individuals for a year following the trial to determine how long the antidepressant benefits of the psilocybin therapy will remain, and they will present their findings in a subsequent paper when they have completed their research.

However, Griffiths says he is encouraged by Johns Hopkins’ backing, as well as the dozens of businesses and research laboratories that have followed suit with their own studies.

In the United States, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 17 million people have suffered serious depression, with 300 million people suffering from the condition globally.

Several charitable contributors, including the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation, Tim Ferriss, Matt Mullenweg, Craig Nerenberg, Blake Mycoskie, and Dave Morin, contributed to the project, which was also sponsored by funding from the Riverstyx Foundation and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (T32DA007209, R01DA003889, K23DA035915).

Johnson has also served on the boards of directors for AWAKN Life Sciences Inc., Beckley Psychedelics Ltd., Entheogen Bio

Related Stories:

  • The Johns Hopkins University Center for Psychedelic Research has been established. Psilocybin, the psychedelic drug, has been shown to reduce activity in the brain’s Ego Center. What Motivates People to Use Psychedelics? A Research Story Tip: Why Do People Use Psychedelics? New criteria may be developed to aid in the search for an answer.

On the Web:

  • Psilocybin, a hallucinogenic drug, reduces existential anxiety in cancer patients who are facing a terminal diagnosis. Visit the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research to learn more about these topics. psilocybin therapy for serious depression, according to an article in Dome magazine

Mushrooms for Depression? The Pros & Cons Revealed

A natural sort of hallucinogenic drug, magic mushrooms are used for recreational and spiritual purposes by people all over the world. Magic mushrooms are prohibited in the United States. Pilocybin and psilocin are Schedule I restricted drugs found in these mushrooms, respectively. Magic mushrooms are classified as a Schedule I substance, which indicates they have no recognized medicinal benefit and a significant potential for abuse. Magic mushrooms, on the other hand, have been shown to be effective in the treatment of depression.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of utilizing mushrooms to treat depression?

The Pros of Using Magic Mushrooms for Depression

Psilocybin appears to be effective in treating people with treatment-resistant depression, according to research. According to the findings, psilocybin appears to have’reset’ the brains of these people. According to Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, who was in charge of one of the psilocybin trials, “identical brain changes” might be observed “with electroconvulsive treatment.” It is possible that psilocybin is providing these folks with the momentary ‘kick start’ they require to break free of their melancholy moods.” Treatment-resistant depression occurs when depressed symptoms are not alleviated by any of the treatments that have been attempted, including:

  • The use of a wide range of pharmaceuticals, various talk treatments, lifestyle modifications, and alternative therapies are all options.

Lasting Results

Psilocybin has been shown in studies to provide alleviation for up to five weeks after two doses were administered. Independent studies have demonstrated that a single dosage of psilocybin can significantly reduce anxiety and sadness in cancer patients. In contrast, many depressed people must take antidepressants on a daily basis and/or attend therapy sessions once a week in order to get the same results. These types of treatment might also last for a long period of time.

Fast-Acting

According to Professor David Nutt of Imperial College London, “Our study has demonstrated that psilocybin is safe and quick acting, and that it may have utility for these people if provided correctly.” After one week of treatment with magic mushrooms, all of the depressed individuals showed signs of recovery, according to one research. When it comes to treating depression, the fast-acting nature of psilocybin mushrooms is appealing because antidepressant medicine and/or counseling might take weeks before patients see any advantages.

Self-harming behavior or suicidal ideation should be addressed as soon as possible.

Emotional Connection

Magic mushrooms, according to the research, can assist depressed people in reconnecting with their emotions. Antidepressants, on the other hand, work by dulling your emotions, which is in contrast to the impact described above. Many patients who take antidepressants report that they assist them to feel better when they are depressed, but they also report that they make them feel worse when they are happy. You may have numbness or a flat feeling as a result of this. Psilocybin appears to provide benefits to patients through enhancing their ability to process emotions.

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Their past therapy, they believed, had pushed them to “reinforce emotional avoidance and detachment from others.” Because of the nature of psilocybin’s effects and the fact that it is only used for a brief period of time, there are few negative effects.

Magic mushrooms are free of the negative side effects associated with numerous antidepressant drugs, which frequently include:

  • An increase in appetite and weight gain
  • A decrease in sexual desire or other sexual difficulties (erectile dysfunction, diminished orgasm, and so on)
  • Fatigue and sleepiness
  • Drowsiness
  • – Parched lips and tongue
  • Eye blurriness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation are all possible side effects of using this medication.

The Cons of Using Magic Mushrooms for Depression

Because magic mushrooms are banned in the United States, including for clinical usage, individuals suffering from depression will be unable to obtain the treatment described in the research above unless they participate in additional investigations. It is allowed to use magic mushrooms in several countries, and there are even’magic mushroom retreats’ available in the Netherlands and Jamaica. These retreats are not intended for persons suffering from depression, despite the fact that some people attend them for this purpose.

In addition, it is possible that psychotherapists will not be present to guide the sessions.

Unsettling Experiences

Magic mushrooms should not be used as a method of self-medication, according to researchers. This is due to the fact that it entails some dangers that you may not be able to manage on your own. These are some examples:

  • Fearful hallucinations, both auditory and visual in nature
  • Derealization (the impression that your surroundings aren’t real)
  • Depersonalization (a state in which your thoughts and feelings appear to be unreal)
  • Distressing thoughts
  • And depersonalization are all symptoms of schizophrenia.

A distressing experience or subsequent processing might be disconcerting if you do not have the support and guidance of a competent mental health professional to coach you through it or process it after it has occurred.

Legal Risks

Magic mushrooms are illegal in the United States, and anyone who uses them for depression does so in violation of the law. The majority of patients do not want to be forced to break the law in order to receive treatment for their mental health issue. Additionally, being aware that you are in possession of a controlled substance may exacerbate undesirable emotions such as paranoia that may arise during a magical mushroom experience.

TMS Therapy As an Alternative Option

The use of magic mushrooms for depression may become a legal therapy in the future, but it is difficult to predict whether or not this will ever become a reality. There’s no need to hold your breath if you want fast-acting, medication-free therapy! Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been shown to be an effective therapy for depression in several studies. TMS treatment, in fact, is more successful than medications, and it is covered by insurance and Medicare. The sessions are brief and give long-lasting comfort, especially in the case of depression that has proven resistant to therapy.

When nothing else seems to be working, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can assist you in lifting your depression cloud.

Need Help for Your Depression?

We are experts in the treatment of depression without the use of medicines. Success In the United States, TMS is one of the major providers of TMS therapy, with TMS treatment clinics located in six different states. TMS is covered by insurance companies for more than 300 million people in the United States. Please contact us right away so that we can assist you. 888-406-9648

Study: ‘Magic Mushrooms’ May Best Drug for Depression

15th of April, 2021 – According to the findings of a small-scale phase II study, the psychedelic drug psilocybin – found in “magic mushrooms” – was just as effective as a widely used antidepressant in alleviating the symptoms of major depression, and it outperformed the common prescription medication on a variety of secondary measures, according to the researchers. According to the results of a 6-week trial involving 59 patients suffering from moderate-to-severe depression, there was no statistically significant difference between the effects of high-dose psilocybin and the effects of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) escitalopram, which is sold under the brand name Lexapro.

“It is undeniable that psilocybin therapy produces an antidepressant response that is quicker than that of escitalopram therapy.

Robin Carhart-Harris, director of the Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research, told reporters that the findings were “amazing.” A phase II, double-blind, randomized research was conducted, and the results were published online on April 15 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Secondary Outcomes

The researchers discovered that psilocybin outperformed escitalopram in a number of secondary outcomes, including feelings of well-being, the ability to express emotion, and social functioning, among other things. Although these secondary variables were useful, the authors stressed that bigger and longer studies were needed before they could make any conclusions. According to Carhart-Harris, “the secondaries were extremely suggestive — tantalizingly suggestive — about the possible advantage of psilocybin treatment to cure not only depression, but also these ancillary symptoms.” Psilocybin was given to 59 patients, while escitalopram was given to 29 patients in a random fashion to the other 59 patients.

During the 6-week experiment, all patients received an oral dosage of psilocybin on each of the two “dosing days” that were specified.

“And the reason for this is that we can standardize expectations as a result of our efforts.

It’s only that the dosage may be different “Carhart-Harris made the statement.

Supportive Therapy

Immediately following the oral dose, volunteers would be required to lie down on a bed, surrounded by pillows and a carefully curated selection of music, with the assistance of two “guides” or therapists. Patient’s two therapists met with them the next day to discuss their experiences.Between dosing days, patients in the high-dose psilocybin group were required to take daily pills containing a placebo to keep them from becoming addicted to psychedelic drugs. There was no difference in the occurrence of adverse effects between the low-dose and high-dose groups when it came to escitalopram.

“People have actually come to understand why they’re depressed,” Nutt said in a statement.

“Profound Experiences”

Patients in the psilocybin group, for example, received enough of the drug to have what Carhart-Harris described as “very deep experiences,” according to the study. In their statement, the researchers stated that, while the findings were encouraging, they should not be used to encourage people to self-medicate with psychedelic chemicals, which are still illegal in most countries. According to Carhart-Harris, “I consider this very much — and I believe most of my colleagues do as well — as a combination treatment.” Furthermore, “we strongly feel that the psychotherapy component is as vital to the drug’s effect on patients.” The researchers emphasized that the lack of a completely placebo group limits the conclusions that can be derived regarding either treatment or the combination of treatments.

He also expressed his desire for a more diversified group of patients, which Carhart-Harris agreed with.

Only 34 percent of the 59 people who signed up were female.

The data will be analyzed by the researchers to see whether there is an influence on brain function.

They also intend to do a study to see whether psilocybin has any effect on anorexia. “I believe it’s fair to say that the findings provide encouragement that we may be on the verge of discovering a successful alternative treatment for depression,” Carhart-Harris said.

Unanswered Questions

In an accompanying editorial, Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD, and Lawrence C. Kolb, professor and chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, cautioned that there are still many unanswered questions about the use of psychedelics for medical purposes. Lieberman and Kolb are both members of the American Psychiatric Association. It was believed that they might be used as miraculous cures for a variety of mental problems in the 1960s, but they were eventually prohibited in the 1970s owing to “perceived hazards and corrosive consequences” on society, according to his writing.

“It will be necessary to develop informed consent and safety standards in the event that psychedelics prove to be the panacea that its proponents said they were.

How can we explain these experiences to them?

“This is a modest, exploratory study with a sample size that is too small to do a thorough analysis,” he explained.

Can Psilocybin Be Used to Treat Depression?

Photograph by Nicolas Mueller / Getty Images Psilocybin is a psychoactive compound found in a variety of mushroom species (commonly referred to as “magic mushrooms”) that generates psychedelic effects when consumed. Following ingestion, the user experiences pleasure as well as sensory hallucinations that linger for several hours after taking the medication. A small body of studies shows that psilocybin, when used in conjunction with psychotherapy, may be a useful treatment for some mental health disorders, notably depression.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimated 7.1 percent of all individuals in the United States had at least one episode of depression in the preceding year.

Psilocybin, for example, has recently sparked renewed interest in the use of psychedelics to treat mental disease, raising the possibility that it may be a useful treatment for depression as well as other mental illnesses in the future.

Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy

The question is, how exactly does a psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy session work? Taking a tiny dosage of psilocybin under the supervision of a medical practitioner in a safe and comfortable atmosphere will be the goal of this procedure. Following the psychedelic session, the therapist will work with the person to assist them in integrating their experiences. The purpose is to assist the individual in processing and finding meaning in what they have just gone through.

Psychotherapy is a vital component of this process, and it must be recognized as such. Working with a therapist can assist an individual in processing and making sense of their psychedelic experience in a way that may have long-term positive effects on their mental health.

History

Psilocybin and other psychedelics have long been used for medical and spiritual purposes, and there has recently been an increase in interest in and study into their therapeutic applications. However, its usage for medicinal and spiritual purposes is not new. Psychedelic chemicals have been used as part of traditional medical and spiritual ceremonies for thousands of years by people of many cultures and religious systems. It was the discovery of LSD in the 1940s that sparked a significant deal of interest in the potential benefits of psychedelic substances for mental health studies in the following decades.

A Schedule I substance, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since it has “high potential for abuse and dependency” and “no recognized medical use,” the CSA says.

psilocybin as a therapy was approved by the FDA in 2006, and researchers began investigating the possibility of using it.

Approximately 8.5 percent of those who participated in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) between 2009 and 2015 claimed that they have experimented with psilocybin at some time in their life.

Effects

Comparable to LSD, psilocybin produces effects that are similar to those of the drug. People may feel a sense of relaxation and exhilaration when using this medication. The chemical operates by interfering with neurotransmitter pathways in the brain that include the utilization of the neurotransmitter serotonin, among other things. This activity leads in changed perception and altered awareness as a result of the action. People who use psilocybin may have side effects such as the following:

  • Perceptions that have been distorted, such as a distorted sense of time or place
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Euphoria Experiences that are extremely spiritual or contemplative

After ingesting psilocybin, it is typical to have hallucinations or other unusual experiences. Researchers believe this is due to an increase in communication across different brain networks as a result of the research. Psilocybin’s antidepressant properties, according to some studies, may be attributed to this mechanism of action. It has the potential to assist patients in breaking out from depressed tendencies by altering brain connections and developing new ones.

Research

While research into the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy for depression is still underway, the outcomes of clinical studies have shown that it is a potentially effective treatment option. According to a 2016 research, psilocybin therapy was associated with a substantial reduction in feelings of anxiety and sadness in cancer patients who were undergoing treatment. Additionally, the therapy was shown to be associated with a variety of other advantages in addition to these results. Those who received psilocybin reported feeling more optimistic and having a higher overall quality of life after treatment.

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Following therapy, participants saw substantial decreases in depression symptoms for up to five years.

Two doses of psilocybin combined with supportive psychotherapy, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry in 2020 and led by researchers from John Hopkins Medicine, had strong antidepressant benefits in a very short period of time.

These ramifications appear to be long-lasting as well.

Participants who received psilocybin therapy reported that they were no longer depressed four weeks after starting the treatment program. Aside from addiction and anxiety, researchers are investigating the possibility of using psilocybin to treat a variety of other diseases.

Risks

However, while research into the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy for depression is still underway, the findings of clinical trials have shown that it is a potentially effective treatment option. Psilocybin therapy was shown to be associated with a considerable reduction in the feelings of anxiety and sadness among cancer patients, according to a study published in 2016. Other advantages associated with the therapy were found to be in addition to the previously mentioned ones. Participants in psilocybin studies reported more optimism and a higher overall quality of life after receiving the medication.

Five years following therapy, participants reported significant improvements in their depressed symptoms.

It was estimated that over 70% of participants had a 50% improvement in their symptoms.

Participants who received psilocybin therapy reported that they were no longer depressed four weeks following the treatment.

  • Delusions, drowsiness, headaches, nausea, nervousness, panic, paranoia, and psychosis are all possible side effects.

In addition to the psychedelic experiences that psilocybin generates, it can also result in what is referred to as a “poor trip” in some cases. It is possible that a person would have significant sensations of worry and terror while going through this experience. This condition can also result in terrifying experiences such as paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. While it is not feasible to prevent a terrible trip, being in a comfortable situation with a supportive person can be beneficial.

When used by those who have previously experienced periods of mania or psychosis, psilocybin has the potential to represent a danger.

Potential of Psilocybin in Therapy

Despite growing interest in psilocybin’s medicinal potential, it remains a Schedule I drug and is therefore prohibited from being used. Research has found that there is a little risk of physical dependency and abuse as a result of marijuana consumption. According to the findings of one study, the drug should be classified as no more restrictive than a Schedule IV substance. Drugs classified as Schedule IV are those that have a low danger of becoming physically dependent and a low possibility for abusing the substance.

Psilocybin-assisted treatment was given breakthrough therapy classification by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2019.

While it is unlikely that people will be able to obtain a prescription for the substance from their local pharmacy in the near future, it is possible that people will be able to visit a doctor or mental health professional in order to receive psilocybin-assisted treatment for their depression in the future.

Press Play for Advice On Treating Emotional Pain

This episode of The Verywell Mind Podcast, hosted by Editor-in-Chief and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, and guest psychologist Brian Pilecki, discusses how psychedelics may be used to heal emotional distress and is hosted by Amy Morin. To listen to it right now, please click on the link below. Now is a good time to start: Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and RSS are all options.

‘They broke my mental shackles’: could magic mushrooms be the answer to depression?

Michael was lying in a hospital bed in Hammersmith, London, consuming capsules of psilocybin, the active component in magic mushrooms, when he had no clue what was about to happen. He had no notion what would happen next. The 56-year-old part-time website developer from County Durham in northern England had been battling depression for 30 years and had tried several different types of antidepressants, none of which had been successful, before turning to suicide. His mother’s death from cancer, followed by the suicide of a friend, had brought him to one of his lowest times in his life thus far.

Michael sat in the adorned clinical room, listening to music and surrounded by candles and flowers, while he awaited the effects of the medication to take effect.

The severity of his depression symptoms gradually decreased over the following three months.

“I became a completely different person,” Michael explains.

As a result, I was extremely self-assured, more so than I had been when I was younger, before the depression began and reached its worst.” The experiment, which was completed in 2016, was the first modern research to target treatment-resistant depression with psilocybin, a psychedelic substance that can be found in around 200 species of mushrooms.

Michael and the other 18 participants observed a reduction in their symptoms a week after two treatments, which included a high dose of 25mg.

Patients reported that their depression had been greatly decreased (by 50% or more) five weeks after starting treatment, and the findings were consistent over the next three months.

In January of this year, the trial began its second stage, an ambitious effort to test psilocybin on a larger group of people and with greater scientific rigor (including a control group, which Michael’s study lacked), comparing the drug’s performance with that of escitalopram, a commonly used antidepressant, to see which is more effective.

  • Currently, Imperial is involved in a series of new research that a coalition of professors, activists, and investors believe will lead to the medical approval of psilocybin as a potentially transformational therapy for schizophrenia.
  • A 216-person trial managed by the London-based life sciences companyCompass Pathways has been in progress for some time and is currently taking place in the United States, Europe, and Canada.
  • The weight of the data would be like an unstoppable force by that point, according to the author.
  • The fungus asteonanácatl, which translates as “God’s flesh,” was given this name by the Aztecs of Mexico in honor of its alleged spiritual potency.
  • The previous fifteen years, he had inadvertently eaten LSD while at work, leaving him feeling dizzy and experiencing its psychedelic effects when returning home.
  • Professor Robin Carhart-Harris is a professor at Imperial College London.

Despite the evidence to the contrary, David Nutt, a professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London who is overseeing the current trials, contends that severely restricting access to the drug (and other psychedelics) has hampered research and propelled “lies” about the drug’s risks and medical possibilities.

As a stronger and more thorough treatment option than existing antidepressants, Carhart-Harris believes the medicine has the potential to be a powerful new treatment option for a wide range of mental diseases, including anxiety and eating disorders.

The potential of psilocybin to reduce smoking addiction and alcohol dependence is being investigated further in current clinical trials, after the positive results of first pilot studies that showed the drug to be effective.

When he observes patients tripping, he frequently has the impression that they are seeing a more accurate picture of reality than the sober therapists who are guiding them: “It is almost as if you are in the company of someone very smart, in terms of what comes out of their lips.” It is unknown how much of the depression relief is due to the psychiatric assistance that is provided in conjunction with the therapy.

In any case, numerous individuals have sought more medication on their own following the initial study, indicating that their depression has returned.

Photograph courtesy of Graeme Robertson/The Daily Telegraph Although much about the biology of psychedelics is still unclear, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans of patients’ brains after ingesting psilocybin revealed lower blood flow and resting activity in the amygdala, which is commonly hyperactive in sadness and anxiety.

This may explain why some patients are compelled to reevaluate long-held views and break compulsive mental patterns and behaviors as a result of the medication.

In contrast to typical antidepressants, which dull emotional reactions to help people manage, they hypothesize that psilocybin operates on our serotonin system to heighten emotional responses and urge people to actively address their depression, which can result in long-lasting adjustments in mindset.

  • He does not consider the medication as a panacea, but rather as a treatment that reveals important truths to patients while also requiring them to put these lessons into practice.
  • However, for many people, the existing choices are ineffective.
  • Magic mushrooms in the form of capsules.
  • Rutter was one of the participants in the Imperial trial.
  • “It removes any boundaries and helps you to digest what you need to in an almost seductive way,” he adds about psilocybin.

The idea crossed his mind: “Hell,” he thought, “I haven’t had this in a long time.” All but the most ardent supporters of the drug believe that greater proof of its usefulness in bigger groups in controlled settings, as well as research into potential bad effects, will be required before it can be approved for use as a medication in the United States.

In addition, there are concerns concerning the effects of psilocybin.

James Rucker, who was involved in the initial Imperial research and is now the director of psilocybin studies at King’s College London, is skeptical about the drug’s efficacy as a therapy for schizophrenia.

“We don’t believe it at all.

She and her husband, George Goldsmith, started the firm three years ago when their son’s severe depression and OCD became increasingly worse while being treated with standard antidepressants at a prestigious US hospital.

Some former Compass employees are concerned that the corporation is attempting to monopolize the psilocybin market and restrict medical access, concerns that were raised last year by the US business website Quartz, but Malievskaia categorically disputes these allegations.

Photograph courtesy of Graeme Robertson/The Daily Telegraph There are already indications that the authorities may be beginning to modify their positions.

This implies that authorities will speed their examination of the data.

This was followed by a similar initiative for numerous psychedelic plants in Oakland, California, which passed last week.

Meanwhile, if the company’s clinical trials are successful, it plans to submit a marketing authorization request for the medicine within three years.

She hopes to speed progress by establishing additional treatment centers, which have recently opened at Columbia University as well as in New Orleans and the Netherlands, among other places.

Psilocybin treatment, which is administered over a period of many hours in a clinical environment under the supervision of an expert, is not inexpensive.

Malievskaia declined to comment on how much Compass intends to charge, but she stated that she wants to ensure that the greatest number of people possible get access to the medication.

According to him, there is a harsh reality to why selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) predominate in mental healthcare, and that is because they are inexpensive.

However, for many of the patients who have already been treated, as well as for some of the therapists who have guided them, there is no doubt that psilocybin and other psychedelics will fundamentally alter how we cure pain – and how we comprehend our own brains.

After an uncomfortable initial treatment in which she felt confined, she had the sensation that she had left her body and was able to examine her difficulties objectively during her second psychedelic trip within Hammersmith Hospital, which took place on the same day as her first.

Under the influence of the medication, she began to develop a sense of fortitude that has since helped her cope with her father’s death from dementia as well as a lengthy court struggle with her ex-partner.

“I was basically all over the place,” Elwin recalls.

I had no recollection of the passage of time, and all I wanted was for it to continue indefinitely.

The antidepressants did nothing except make me tired and make me lose interest in my activities.

This enabled me to entirely free myself from my mental constraints. When I returned to work, I was in a state of euphoria. “I had the feeling that I could accomplish this, that I could improve my position.”

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