A groundbreaking British study found that the psychedelic drug psilocybin can be safely administered to patients and can be used to treat a range of mental health issues.
Recreational use of the drug – isolated from the so-called “magic mushrooms” – led to its ban in the UK as a Class A substance.
But scientists believe it could have powerful therapeutic uses when administered in groups supervised by trained psychotherapists.
Research from King’s College London, in partnership with COMPASS Pathways, has now established that doses of 10 mg or 25 mg can be safely administered to up to six participants simultaneously in controlled environments.
The study, published in The Journal of Psychopharmacology, has been described as “an essential first step in demonstrating the safety and feasibility” of the drug’s therapeutic uses.
It has been given to patients in a controlled setting alongside talk therapy and is considered a potential treatment for problems such as treatment-resistant depression (DRT) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“Current treatment options for these conditions are ineffective or partially effective for many people, resulting in a significant unmet need,” KCL explained.
“Early research has indicated a potential for psilocybin therapy to treat these groups, but no trials have been undertaken on the scale required for regulatory approval to make the therapy available.”
The study used 89 healthy participants, 60 of whom received either a 10 mg or 25 mg dose in a controlled environment where they received one-on-one support from trained psychotherapists.
The remaining 29 participants served as a control group and received a placebo, along with psychological support.
These groups were monitored for six to eight hours after administration and then followed for 12 weeks, during which time they were assessed for changes.
Dr James Rucker, lead author of the study, said: “This rigorous study is an important first demonstration that the simultaneous administration of psilocybin can be further explored.
“If we think about how psilocybin therapy (if approved) can be administered in the future, it is important to demonstrate the feasibility and safety of giving it to more than one person at the same time. , so that we can think about how we stretch. the treatment.
This therapy shows promise for people living with serious mental health issues, such as treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and PTSD. They can be extremely disabling, distressing and disruptive, but current treatment options for these conditions are ineffective or partially effective for many people, ”added Dr. Rucker.
During the study there were no cases of withdrawal due to an adverse event and KCL said there was “no consistent pattern” suggesting adverse short or long term effects. on the participants.
The study will move into phase III trials in the second half of this year.