Psychology

A dose of a hallucinogen from a ‘magic mushroom,’ and then lasting peace

“Published… the results from that study, and a similar small, controlled trial, were striking. About 80 percent of cancer patients showed clinically significant reductions in both psychological disorders, a response sustained some seven months after the single dose. Side effects were minimal…The N.Y.U. researchers assessed patients the next day and found the effects to be immediate in most of them. Dr. Stephen Ross, the lead investigator and chief of addiction psychiatry at N.Y.U., pointed out that antidepressants, by contrast, can take weeks to show benefit.”

The studies, by researchers at New York University, with 29 patients, and at Johns Hopkins University, with 51, were released concurrently in The Journal of Psychopharmacology. They proceeded after arduous review by regulators and are the largest and most meticulous among a handful of trials to explore the poble therapeutic benefit of psilocybin. Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman, a past president of the American Psychiatric Association, and Dr. Daniel Shalev of the New York State Psychiatric Institute are among leaders in psychiatry, addiction medicine and palliative care who endorsed the work. The studies, they wrote, are “a model for revisiting criminalized compounds of interest in a safe, ethical way.” If research restrictions could be eased, they continued, “there is much potential for new scientific insights and clinical applications.” Although cancer patients will not have access to therapeutically administered psilocybin anytime soon, the findings add vigor to applications to expand research in a multicenter trial with hundreds of participants.

Original Article (New York Times):
A dose of hallucinogen from a ‘magic mushroom’, and then lasting peace
Artwork Fair Use: Matthew W. Johnson

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