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Study Shows Trip-Free Psilocybin’s Anti-OCD Effects

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Psilocybin is one of several psychedelics that have exhibited therapeutic potential against various common mental disorders. Research has revealed that psilocybin (magic mushrooms) can deliver long-term benefits against mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders.

However, psilocybin-assisted therapy usually involves undergoing a psychedelic trip that can last up to six hours.

Given that many people would prefer psychedelic treatments without the hours long trip, researchers have been working to develop psychedelic drugs that allow patients to derive the benefits without having to experience hallucinogenic effects for hours. In a recent study on the effects of trip-free psychedelics, researchers sought to understand the effects of psilocybin on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) after blocking the psychedelic effects.

The researchers found that taking trip-free psilocybin did not affect psilocybin’s ability to alleviate the symptoms of obsessive behaviors related to OCD. Findings of the study, which were reported in the “Translational Psychiatryjournal, add to the growing body of literature on the medical application of psychedelics in the psychiatric industry and, more specifically, the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in OCD treatment.

Psychedelics such as psilocybin have shown promise against normally debilitating conditions that rarely respond to conventional treatment, such as OCD. Characterized by repetitive behaviors and intrusive, uncontrollable thoughts, OCD affects roughly 2.3% of the American population. Treatment often involves cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressants, but a large number of OCD patients rarely respond to these treatments, underscoring the need for more effective OCD treatments.

Hebrew University psychiatry professor and study author Bernard Lerer explained that the research team was interested in the therapeutic potential of hallucinogenics against psychiatric disorders, especially in patients who typically don’t respond to standard medication (at least a third). Consequently, the team founded the Hadassah BrainLabs Center for Psychedelic Research to conduct scientific research on psychedelics.

Lerer said that preliminary results from psilocybin-OCD studies have shown that the drug can alleviate OCD symptoms in patients.  The team used a mouse model to study the effects of trip-free psilocybin against obsessive behaviors; the researchers found that blocking the psychedelic effects did not diminish psilocybin’s therapeutic effects.  They used a drug called buspirone to block specific serotonin receptors and keep the mice from experiencing the mind-bending effects associated with psychedelic use.

Lerer said their findings indicate that clinicians may be able to treat OCD without the psychedelic trip by combining psilocybin with buspirone. The research team noted that more research will be needed to fully understand the efficacy and safety of the combination of anti-OCD drugs.

There is plenty of psychedelics R&D being conducted by various enterprises such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ). The coming years are therefore likely to make available several hallucinogenic-based treatments targeting various indications that have been afflicting patients.

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