A new clinical trial has found that a single moderate dose of psilocybin may be effective in reducing symptoms of depression in the short term.
The results of the study build on lots of evidence over recent years that suggests psilocybin may offer an unparalleled utility in treating depression.
In fact, as many psychedelic researchers have stated, psilocybin and other psychedelics have potential to revolutionise mental health care.
Psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, has been shown to be a potentially rapid-acting treatment for depression.
Previous studies have demonstrated that two consecutive doses of psilocybin can significantly reduce symptom severity in people with depression.
However, until now, no study has compared a single moderate dose of psilocybin to a placebo in the treatment of depression.
A recent double-blind, randomised clinical trial conducted in Switzerland aimed to address this gap in the research.
The study included 52 participants diagnosed with major depressive disorder and no unstable somatic conditions, who were randomly assigned to receive either a single, moderate dose (0.215 mg/kg body weight) of psilocybin or a placebo, along with psychological support.
The primary outcome measures were changes in depression severity as assessed by the MADRS and BDI scales from baseline to 14 days after the intervention.
The results of the study showed that the psilocybin condition resulted in an absolute decrease in symptom severity of -13.0 points compared to baseline on the MADRS scale, and -13.2 points on the BDI scale, 14 days after the intervention.
These changes were significantly larger than those in the placebo condition, with 54% of participants in the psilocybin group meeting the MADRS remission criteria. No serious adverse events were reported.
A 2019 study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that a single dose of psilocybin, combined with psychological support, was associated with significant reductions in depression and anxiety symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant depression.
Additionally, a 2020 systematic review and meta-analysis published in The Lancet Psychiatry found that psilocybin was associated with significant reductions in depression symptoms, with the effects lasting for up to five weeks.
Overall, these findings suggest that a single, moderate dose of psilocybin may be effective in reducing symptoms of depression in the short term, and may have potential as a novel treatment paradigm for this condition.
However, larger, multi-centric trials with longer follow-up periods are needed to confirm these results and optimize the use of psilocybin in the treatment of depression.
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