Psychedelic assisted therapy and the latest targets

Autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, anorexia, depression, end-of-life anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, body dysmorphic disorder…

Joy Ride

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Photo by Possessed Photography on Unsplash

The tide is coming. Elon Musk recently tweeted questioning the effectiveness of psychedelics over prescription drugs.

Imperial College London is now conducting a clinical trial to assess the feasibility, brain mechanisms, and preliminary outcomes of treating anorexia nervosa (AN) with psilocybin. Twenty participants will receive three oral doses of psilocybin over six weeks delivered in a therapeutic environment and enveloped by psychological preparation and integration.

Anorexia nervosa is a severe psychiatric condition with three times higher prevalence in females than males. AN belongs to an eating disorder that affects at least 9% of the population worldwide. Compared to a healthy population, those affected with AN are almost 12 times more likely to die prematurely.

A tremendous surge of interest in the therapeutic use of classic psychedelic drugs is evident. Psychedelic drugs include:

  • Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
  • Psilocybin (the principal psychedelic molecule in magic mushrooms).
  • Dimethyltryptamine (DMT, the primary psychedelic molecule in ayahuasca).

The primary receptor-level mechanism of action of classic psychedelics is the agonism of the serotonin 2A (5-HT2A) receptor. Clinical trials like those by Imperial College, Johns Hopkins University, and other reputable medical establishments are urgently needed.

There is currently immense interest in using psychedelic therapy to treat psychiatric disorders, such as depression. Compared to mainstream antidepressants, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy results in depression symptoms dissolution that occur rapidly following treatment. Typically antidepressants take weeks to work. Participants who received psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy reported more significant improvements in well-being and anxiety scores, and the progress lasted for up to six months after a single treatment. In the short-term following psychedelic consumption, the attempt to avoid…

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Joy Ride

Learner, writer, biotech investor, research translation, drug development, genetics. 4-lingual.