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Study Shows Psilocybin Therapy Could Be Easier on the Pocketbook

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A recent study by leading psychedelic academics has found that psilocybin-assisted therapy for depression could be more affordable compared to conventional treatments. Psilocybin is the main hallucinogenic agent in magic mushrooms, and as with several other psychedelics, it has been subject to increased scientific research in recent years.

These scientific studies have found that psychedelics can offer relief against a plethora of mental health conditions, with psilocybin exhibiting significant potential against treatment-resistant depression. Research has found that psilocybin can also treat other mental health disorders such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and enhance positive psychological states such as optimism, happiness and satisfaction.

But with major depressive disorder affecting more than 21 million U.S. adults and close to 21% of adults expected to develop the condition at some point, psilocybin’s applications in depression treatment have attracted the most interest. The study found that on top of being more effective than conventional treatments and resulting in better outcomes for patients after treatment, using psilocybin-assisted therapy to treat major depressive disorder may be cheaper than using traditional methods.

According to the Cambridge University Press report, psilocybin-assisted therapy cost £5,239 ($6,702) when psilocybin was priced at £1,200 ($1,535). Compared to cognitive behavioral therapy (“CBT), currently the most effective treatment for depression, psilocybin treatments had a nearly 10% larger impact in terms of quality of life after treatment for depression patients.

More than 37 million Americans are taking antidepressant medications, and prescriptions have increased by more than 30% over the past six years. A more affordable and effective treatment would be more accessible to the public while improving treatment outcomes for a much larger portion of the patient pool.

The study adds to the growing body of literature that points to psychedelics playing a significant role in the psychiatric industry, especially in the treatment of prevalent conditions such as depression and substance-use disorders.

Dr. Henry Fisher, Clerkenwell Health chief scientific officer and one of the lead authors of the study, noted that there is a pressing need for novel mental-health treatments due to the increasing number of antidepressant prescriptions and rising rates of chronic use. He said that his team found psilocybin to have significant potential as a more effective and affordable treatment for patients with severe depression when paired with psychological support.

Since access to psychedelic treatments is currently limited to clinical trials or expensive wellness clinics, ensuring affordability will be key to ensuring these medications reach and benefit as many people as possible. Needless to say, the challenge of affordability is one that startups such as Field Trip Health Ltd. (OTC: FTHWF) (TSX: FTHW) are conscious of in their efforts to develop psychedelic treatments for various clinical indications.

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