In connection with the decriminalization of psilocybin mushrooms in the American cities of Auckland and Denver, scientists became interested in the medicinal properties of these organisms. University of Texas at the University of Houston Medical Research Center (UTHealth) said they plan to develop ways to use psilocybin to treat drug-resistant depression.
Psilocybin therapy will help patients who do not respond to traditional drugs
UTHealth specialists decided to study psilocybin, as the results of previous studies confirm the therapeutic potential of the substance. In 2012, scientists from Oxford University conducted a study on the effects of psilocybin on the nervous system. The trial involved 15 people, they took a placebo or 2 mg of psilocybin at intervals of 6 minutes and then underwent a brain scan. As a result, it was possible to find out that the use of the substance reduces blood circulation in the subcortical and cortical areas of the brain. That is why mushrooms eliminate the symptoms of cluster headache.
In 2016, Johns Hopkins University staff was able to identify the relationship between psilocybin intake and a decrease in feelings of anxiety and depression. UTHealth professor Sudhakar Selvaraj believes that the substance changes perception and consciousness, creating new mental schemes, free from prejudice, fears, and phobias. This explains the positive effect of fungi on the psyche. If the medical properties of psychedelics are confirmed in practice, then people suffering from depression, which cannot be treated with conventional drugs, will gain access to the substance.
UTHealth clinical trials will use the double-blind method. This means that neither the subjects nor the staff will know where the placebo is and where the psilocybin is. Volunteers will take 25, 10 or 1 mg of the substance and is under the supervision of a doctor for eight hours. Participants in the experiments will fill out a questionnaire on symptoms of depression before and after the trip, as well as after one, three, six, nine and 12 weeks. The authors of the project are now recruiting volunteers aged 18 to 55 years old with a diagnosis of drug-resistant depression.
Johns Hopkins University leads psychedelic research
In September of this year, Johns Hopkins University opened the Center for the Study of Psychedelics and Mind, which received an investment of $ 17 million. The organization was led by Professor Roland Griffiths, who has been studying psilocybin since 2000. A group of scientists under his leadership will have to answer questions about how the substance affects the brain, and whether it can be used in medicine.
Last year, university staff proved that psilocybin helps cure nicotine addiction. The test involved 15 volunteers who smoked an average of 19 cigarettes a day for 31 years and repeatedly tried to overcome addiction. For six months, volunteers took psilocybin and underwent cognitive behavioral therapy, which allowed 12 of them to quit smoking. According to scientists, a psychedelic significantly increases a person’s chances to get rid of cravings for nicotine.