Is Psilocybin the Future of Mental Health Treatments?

Could psilocybin be the future of mental health treatments? Psilocybin has been gaining traction in recent years in the mental health world. It is beneficial in both microdoses (0.05-0.25g) and macrodoses (1g+). Psilocybin also comes with less possible side effects than most anti-depressants. Now, science is starting to show the promising results it can have on your mental health. I understand that psilocybin isn’t for everyone. But, it could be very beneficial to a large percentage of the population that suffers from depression and anxiety.

Several different studies are highlighting the positive impact it can have on your mental health. Let’s discuss some of the studies findings and find out why psilocybin could potentially be the future for mental health treatments.

Clear Linkage Between Microdosing and Reduced Depression, Anxiety, & Stress

In 2021, the largest ever psychedelics study that was lead by the University of British Columbia was conducted. They observed more than 8,500 people who were microdosing psychedelics from 75 different countries. The study used an anonymous self-reporting system to collect data. Researchers found that “In comparing microdosers vs non-microdosers, there was a clear association between microdosing and fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress – which is important given the high prevalence of these conditions and the substantial suffering they cause”. That shows that microdosing can positively effect your mental health. Now, some results may be due to the ‘placebo effect’, but this still proves that microdosing does work when you’re using it to treat your mental health.

For more information on the study, check out this link.

Multiple John Hopkins Studys Showing So Much Promise

The first John Hopkins study was in 2016 that concluded that “psilocybin significantly reduced existential anxiety and depression in people with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis”. Another study in 2020 found that with only 2 seperate macro doses of psilocybin (1g+; given roughly 2 weeks apart) in a clinical setting alongside therapy, participants experienced “rapid & large reductions in depressive symptoms”. Most participants showed improvement and half of participants went into remission by the four week follow-up.

“The magnitude of the effect we saw was about four times larger than what clinical trials have shown for traditional antidepressants on the market,” says Alan Davis, Ph.D adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Because most other depression treatments take weeks or months to work and may have undesirable effects, this could be a game changer if these findings hold up in future ‘gold-standard’ placebo-controlled clinical trials.” The published findings cover only a four-week follow-up in 24 participants, all of whom underwent two five-hour psilocybin sessions under the direction of the researchers.

From 2020 John Hopkins Study

Study Finds Psilocybin Treatment for Depression Effective For Up to a Year

Then, in February 2022 John Hopkins published a follow up study on the same participants from the 2020 study. This follow up showed that those 2 doses of psilocybin had a longer positive effect then they had previously thought. Participants initially had an follow-up after each dose, then one month after the second dose. After that, they had to follow up three months after the second dose, six months after and twelve months after. They found that 58% of participants went into remission of symptoms by twelve months.

I can personally confirm this! Even in a non-clinical setting, I was able to achieve positive results that lasted 12+ months. I achieved these results by microdosing for one month long regimen following the Fadiman schedule. In the month, I consumed 0.1g every 3 days. I took a total of 1g in the month and I felt great for a long time after I stopped microdosing. The results that I got from my very first microdosing experience gave me immense hope for what it could do for my mental health.

How They Assess Symptoms

They assessed symptoms using the GRID-Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. It’s a standard tool used to assess symptoms of depression. Your score determines whether you have severe depression, moderate depression, mild depression or no depression.

The scale looks like this:

  • Severe depression- 24+
  • Moderate depression – 17-23
  • Mild depression – 8-16
  • No depression – 7 or less

“Most participants went from a 22.8 at pre-treatment, 8.7 at one week, 8.9 at four weeks, 9.3 at three months, 7 at six months and 7.7 at 12 months”.

“Psilocybin not only produces significant and immediate effects, it also has a long duration, which suggests that it may be a uniquely useful new treatment for depression,” says Roland Griffith Ph.D., the Oliver Lee McCabe III, Ph.D., Professor in the Neuropsychopharmacology of Consciousness at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and founding director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research. “Compared to standard antidepressants, which must be taken for long stretches of time, psilocybin has the potential to enduringly relieve the symptoms of depression with one or two treatments.”

From 2022 John Hopkins Study

The Future of Psilocybin Use in Canada

Canada has already been changing its laws and giving exemptions to people for medicinal psilocybin use. In 2020, they made psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy available to end-of-life patients to help them to cope with the anxiety and depression that comes with that diagnosis. The Ministry of Health also granted sixteen health professionals authorization to use psilocybin to help them develop other treatment options. In 2021, the Canadian government was giving exceptions for psilocybin therapy for those using it to improve their mental health. In 2022, doctors can now seek assess to psychedelics for their patients who suffer from significant or life-threatening illnesses. It may still be harder to get the exemptions and they have only given a harmful so far, but it is really promising to see progress in the right direction.

For more information about Canada & Psilocybin, check out this link.

I hope to see more decriminalization of psilocybin and eventually widespread federal legalization where cultivation is allowed as well. If cannabis legalization has taught us anything, it’s that the recreational use would likely not go up very much if legalized. Psilocybin is one of those sacred plants that I believe is meant to help change the world. It has so much potential to do good for so many. Whether you’re comfortable with feeling the effects of psilocybin or not, there’s an option for you!

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