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Over the past couple of years, loosening psychedelic policies worldwide have led to a significant surge in psychedelic research. The result threatens to revolutionalize the psychiatric industry completely. Research and clinical studies have revealed that psychedelics such as psilocybin, ketamine and MDMA have the potential to treat a variety of mental health disorders at relatively little doses and with minimal side effects.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already approved the use of ketamine-assisted therapies to alleviate treatment-resistant depression in adults, and other psychedelics have exhibited significant potential in clinical studies. With proper investment and support from lawmakers, the psychedelics market could soon become a juggernaut as more people turn to hallucinogenics to treat anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and a host of other mental health conditions.
Women stand to gain significantly from the development and proliferation of psychedelic-assisted therapies. Studies have repeatedly shown that women suffer from twice as much depression as men. Factors such as hormonal differences, social roles, societal differences, stressful life events and different coping styles make women more predisposed to depression.
What’s more, the risk of depression in women skyrockets during pregnancy and the puerperium period, with up to 10% of mothers suffering from major depression through this period.
Several studies have found that ketamine, psilocybin and other psychedelics can significantly reduce depression symptoms when paired with supportive psychotherapy. Another clinical study on postpartum depression found that dosing patients with ketamine before C-sections can help prevent depression.
PTSD tends to be more prevalent in women as well, affecting 12% of women compared to 6% of men. Additionally, women’s PTSD tends to last longer and has a greater risk of snowballing into chronic PTSD compared to men.
A recent study by MAPS found that MDMA-assisted therapy can significantly reduce, as well as treat the emotional and psychological damage caused by trauma. By the end of the clinical study, two-thirds of the 91 study participants had found such relief from the treatment that they did not meet the criteria for PTSD anymore.
Eating disorders are another class of conditions that could be treated by psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Women are up to three times more likely to develop eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia or BED compared to men. Overall, these disorders impact an estimated 30 million Americans and can be life-threatening or even fatal in extreme situations. Anorexia, for instance, causes more deaths than any other mental condition, partly due to the ravaging effects it can have on a patient’s body.
Participants in a 2017 study reported a reduction in their eating disorder symptoms after taking part in an ayahuasca ceremony. Johns Hopkins Medicine is planning on studying the effect of psilocybin on eating disorders.
If the research into the effectiveness of psychedelics against mental health conditions is successful, women across the world will have another line of defense against mental health disorders.
With startups such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) running research and development programs on psychedelics, women could soon access these treatments for the unique conditions that afflict them.
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