Small doses of Psilocybin, the active ingredient found in magic mushrooms, could be safely used to treat a range of mental disorders, new research shows.
Researcher at the Institute for Psychiatry, psychology and neuroscience at King’s College London have found that psilocybin, given in doses of 10 or 25 mg, has no negative effects on cognitive and emotional function.
the to learn, published in Journal of Psychopharmacology, aimed to study the safety of psilocybin in healthy volunteers. The psychedelic doses of psilocybin were well tolerated by all participants with no short- or long-term side effects. The results suggest that psilocybin could potentially be used to treat depressive disorders and other mental illnesses.
During the small study that only included 89 volunteers, 60 participants were randomly selected to receive either a 10 or 25 mg dose of psilocybin. The remaining participants received a placebo.
The study was conducted in a controlled environment, with each participant receiving individual attention from a trained psychotherapist 6 to 8 hours after the drug was administered. All side effects reported were minor and no participant discontinued the study due to an adverse event.
The study was the first of its kind in which up to 6 participants were given psilocybin at the same time. Dr. James Rucker, the lead author of the study, told King’s College London: “When considering how psilocybin therapy (if approved) can be administered in the future, it is important to demonstrate the feasibility and safety of administering it to more than one person at the same time so that we can think about how we can scale the treatment.
“This therapy shows promise for people living with serious mental health problems such as treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and PTSD. They can be extremely disabling, stressful, and disruptive, but current treatments for these conditions are ineffective or only partially effective for many people. “
Currently, the primary treatment for depression is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Limited by their delayed onset of action and long-term Side effects, SSRIs are known to reduce sleep disorders, and sexual dysfunction emotional dulling.
Participants in this study were monitored 12 weeks after the psychedelic session and showed no long-term changes in their cognitive and emotional functions. These results suggest that psilocybin might be a more beneficial intervention in depressive disorders.
In the UK, psilocybin remains a List 1 drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Its possession and delivery are illegal, but psilocybin’s powerful therapeutic properties could change its legal status.
The study was approved by Kings College London as “an essential first step in demonstrating the safety and feasibility of psilocybin for potential future clinical use.
The research was funded by COMPASS Pathways, a pharmaceutical company specializing in psychedelic therapy. COMPASS paths are complete Phase II Psilocybin studies in patients with treatment-resistant depression with positive results. The process is postponed to Phase III later in 2022.