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Study Finds That Psilocybin May Reduce Suppressive Thoughts in Depressed Individuals

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A surge of psychedelic research over the past decade has revealed what some scientists in the late 1950s and early 19960s suspected: hallucinogens have protective mental health properties. Groundbreaking research in recent years has shown that classic psychedelics such as DMT, psilocybin, ketamine and LSD have the potential to treat severe mental health conditions. And while pharmaceutical medications take days or even weeks of consistent dosing to kick in, psychedelics offer relatively immediate relief from symptoms with minimal doses.

Consequently, millions of dollars have been allocated for the research and development of mental treatments that leverage the protective properties of psychedelics to address conditions such as treatment-resistant depression and suicidal ideation.

The surge in psychedelic research comes at a time when rates of poor mental health are rising across the country amid a recent pandemic, massive job losses and increased cost of living. Patients and researchers have also been interested in mental health treatments that are more effective than SSRIs and have fewer unwanted side effects on the patients.

According to a recent study, psilocybin, which is the main hallucinogenic agent in magic mushrooms, may be more effective at treating depressive symptoms related to thought rumination and suppression compared to certain antidepressants.

Depression affects millions of Americans across the country and is characterized by maladaptive coping mechanisms such as negative thought suppression and rumination. Most patients with depression take antidepressants to manage the mental disorder, but these drugs tend to have side effects, such as sexual dysfunction and weight gain.

As an alternative treatment, psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy has none of the side effects associated with antidepressant medications. By combining psilocybin with talk therapy, physicians can help patients break down negative thinking patterns and afford them with new insights and perspectives that can allow them to make positive changes in their lives.

Usually, such a session involves a patient taking a measured dose of the psychedelic in the presence of a trained therapist before processing their emotions and experiences through talk therapy.

Since psilocybin-assisted therapy is still a novel treatment method that requires a lot more research to prove its efficacy against depression, the recent study wanted to understand how psilocybin and traditional antidepressants affect depressive symptoms. Researchers reported significantly higher improvements in participants who were treated with psilocybin, especially in regard to suppressing negative thinking and rumination.

Patients who received SSRI treatment did not exhibit the same improvements in suppressing negative thinking and neither did they report lower levels of depression after the treatment. However, further research is needed to prove that psilocybin-assisted therapy can be effective in a diverse group of subjects. The study was published in the “BJ Psyche Open” journal.

Given that other companies such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) are also studying psilocybin and other such compounds, there is a lot more that could be unearthed about these substances in the coming years.

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