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Psilocybin Reduces Distress in Those Who Suffered Childhood Trauma

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A Canadian study published in the “Journal of Psychoactive Drugs has revealed that psilocybin, the main hallucinogenic agent in magic mushrooms, may reduce psychological distress in individuals with childhood trauma. The researchers found a possible association between magic mushroom use and declines in psychological distress, especially among people with adverse childhood experiences (ACE) after exploring the relationship between psychological distress and psilocybin use.

Like several other classic psychedelics, psilocybin has been subject to increased attention in recent years, thanks to anecdotal and scientific claims of its medical efficacy. Previous research efforts have found that psilocybin may be effective at treating debilitating psychological illnesses and reducing symptoms such as suicide ideation.

The recent Canadian study delved deeper into the connection between psychedelic use and adverse childhood experiences including neglect, exposure to violence and abuse, which regularly leave long-lasting mental scars.

Simon Fraser University assistant professor of health sciences and study author Kiffer G. Card says the research team was especially interested in whether the widely accessible psilocybin could benefit people suffering from the long-term effects of ACEs. Card and his team used email and online platforms such as Reddit, Instagram and Facebook to recruit 1,249 study participants of diverse backgrounds, ethnicities and sexual orientations; participants had an average age of 39.8 years.

The participants provided data on key demographics such as gender, age, income, education, disability status, ethnicity and sexual orientation as well as their history of psilocybin use. The researchers also asked the participants to fill out the Adverse Childhood Experiences  (ACE) Questionnaire, which assesses childhood traumas such as exposure to substance abuse, neglect, domestic violence and abuse. Participants also filled out the Psychological Distress Scale (K6), which measures the frequency of distressing psychological symptoms such as hopelessness, nervousness, restlessness, worthlessness and depression within the past month.

The researchers found that participants who used psilocybin within the past three months had reduced levels of psychological distress compared to participants who didn’t use the psychedelic, indicating that recent magic mushroom use may be able to lower symptoms of psychedelic distress. Interestingly, psilocybin use seemed to produce a pronounced beneficial effect on people with higher ACE levels.

Most participants reported using psilocybin at least once in their lives, and the majority said they used the psychedelic to deal with emotional and mental-health challenges and as a self-help tool.

Card noted that while the study was only observational, it adds to the literature connecting psilocybin use with mental-health benefits, particularly in people who were exposed to severe childhood distress.

The psychedelic drug candidates that enterprises such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) are developing could help in effectively treating specific kinds of mental-health issues that currently have few treatment options.

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