Psychedelics: How Psilocybin is Gaining More Relevance in Mainstream Mental Health Care

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Given the impact that orthodox drugs have on the human body and mind, it’s understandable why new drugs undergo several trials and tests before being given the green light for use in society. 

If there is any group of drugs that had to wait to gain any form of acceptance, it’s the psychedelics. 

Considering that psychedelics deal with an essential part of the human system, the mental health, several poor perceptions have limited research and findings concerning the usefulness of the drug groups for more than sixty years. Today, individuals who are surprised to see psychedelics gain recognition in recent years could be forgiven.

For those who are just starting to hear about psychedelics, especially psilocybin, this article seeks to enlighten you about the drug. Also, as you continue to read forward, you’ll find out why the drug group is gaining more attention and relevance in modern medicine. Let’s begin!

Introducing Psychedelics

In simple terms, psychedelics are a group of drugs that possess psychoactive agents, otherwise known as hallucinogens. The primary effect of such a drug is to initiate non-ordinary states of consciousness. Changes in psychology, vision, hearing, and altered state of awareness could occur due to the intake of the drugs. For this reason, many countries consider psychedelic drugs illegal, except for research or religious purposes. 

Common Types of Psychedelics

Among the drugs considered “classical psychedelics” include LSD, mescaline, DMT, and psilocybin. 

·        Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD): This drug is derived from a compound in ergot, a fungus that is found to infect rye.

·        Psilocybin: As the name suggests, it is an alkaloid derived from psilocybin mushrooms, which is common globally.

·        Mescaline: This is made from San Pedro cactus and Mexican peyote. It has the same effect on the human system as LSD.

·        N, N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT): This shares the same structure as psilocybin. While it can be synthesized in the laboratory, it is also retrieved from many plants.

·        Others include MDMA, esketamine, DOM, Peyote, etc.

 New Relevance of Psychedelics in Mainstream Health Care

Aside from the difficulty of shaking off the poor perception about psychedelics for many decades, the scientific study of psychedelics was difficult due to legal barriers in several countries. However, in recent times, some scientific studies have shown that psychedelics are safe psychologically. More importantly, it has helped correct the impression that psilocybin leads to addiction.

Furthermore, psilocybin used in a psychotherapeutic setting shows that the drug group would come in handy in treating alcohol addiction, nicotine addiction, and depression. Hence, it is not surprising to learn that Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved esketamine in previous years for the treatment of depression. Besides, psychedelics medicine is expected to become more relevant in the mental mainstream than before as several medicine regulators ease their restrictions on using 3, 4-Methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine (MDMA), another psychoactive drug.

MDMA and psilocybin are expected to contribute to the treatment of the post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) and depression, respectively. Besides, new clinical trials will be taking place in 2021 to support the use of psychedelics in modern medicine. This is further buttressed by the active participation of many health companies and associations in the study of psychedelics.

Mental Health Companies and Associations Involved in Psychedelics Research

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelics Studies (MAPS)

MAPs in the US focuses on research concerning psychedelics. The association has amassed $30 million, aside from historical funds of $80 million. These funds are planned to complete the phase-3 trial concerning the use of MDMA for the treatment of PTSD. With a successful clinical trial, the body will be able to get approval from Food and Drug Administration agency.

COMPASS Pathways

Here is a mental health care company in the UK. COMPASS Pathways has come up with over $115 million to finance research on psilocybin for the treatment of depression and its introduction into the market. In the previous year, the company is reported to submit an application to issue an IPO on the NASDAQ. Besides, the mental health care company has received two new patents from the US Patent and Trademark Office, covering oral formulations of the company’s synthetic psilocybin for treating major depressive disorder (MDD).

MINDCURE Health Inc.

The industry-leading company is renowned for its advanced proprietary technology for psychedelic therapy known as iSTRYM. The AI Digital Therapeutics (DTx) SaaS platform is created to enhance the effectiveness of psychedelics-assisted therapies for both patients and medical practitioners. More so, it is expected to recognize, develop and commercialize different proprietary products that will help improve mental health and wellness.

MINDCURE has submitted a provisional patent application to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Approval of the digital therapeutics tool is expected to contribute massively to the introduction of psychedelics into the medicine market.

Numinus Wellness Inc.

Focusing on the research, development, and delivery of evidence-based and safe psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies, Numinus is set to undertake a passionate access clinical trial of psychotherapy for substance use disorders.

With the study, the company can implement, test, and redefine the protocols for the utilization of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for individuals dealing with different forms of substance use disorders. The study, in collaboration with Syrian Corporation, is set to involve initial 30 participants in the motivational enhancement psychedelic psychotherapy intervention with psilocybin.

Cybin Inc.

Renowned for advancing psychedelic and nutraceutical-based products, Cybin announced a broadcast entitled “Science Drives Surging Interest in Psychedelics Therapeutics” recently. The company is focused on launching psilocybin-based products in regions where the substance is legalized. Additionally, Cybin is well-known for supporting and structuring clinical studies in North America and other areas through institutional partnerships.

Conclusion

Without any doubt, several research and clinical trials on the use of psychedelics and psychedelics-assisted therapies will continue as the year rolls on. Discoveries from such studies and trials are expected to advance the existing knowledge and practical solutions to mental health conditions such as depression, addiction, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.

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