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Best 101 Guide to Psylocybin Therapy

Psylocybin therapy refers to a technique being researched for treating mental health issues which can also be referred to as psilocybin-assisted therapy blends psychological support with the naturally occurring psychedelic compound or drug psilocybin’s medical effects.

Psilocybin effects include reduced negative mood, increased positive mood, and reduced medial prefrontal cortex or amygdala response to negative stimuli. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are said to reduce the negative effects of psilocybin, according to research and studies that have been conducted.

Introduction to Psylocybin Therapy

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More than 200 species of mushrooms collectively classified as psilocybin mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, produce psilocybin, a naturally occurring hallucinogenic chemical. These psilocybin mushrooms have therapeutic and spiritual significance and purposes. Psilocybin therapy has recently gained popularity for treating patients with mental illness.

It has been demonstrated that psilocybin therapy helps many people recover more quickly from distressing and depressive symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive, Disorder, Post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorders, and anxiety disorders.

The therapeutic effects of psilocybin are combined with the guidance of a skilled therapist in psylocybin therapy. Lysergic acid diethylamide and psilocybin are both serotonergic psychedelics used recreationally and have become candidates for treating various psychiatric disorders.

Psilocybin therapy has proven therapeutic benefits and also has long-lasting symptom relief.

The John Hopkins Centre for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research is a pioneer in investigating novel treatments based on psilocybin. The molecular structure of psilocybin, which is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in ‘magic mushrooms,’ allows for penetration into the nervous system, and this has effects that are helping scientists understand the effects of psilocybin on the brain and also the potential of it helping in dealing with mental health problems.

Researchers are expanding research on psychedelics for wellness and illness into developing new treatments for behavioral disorders that will suit the needs of individual patients. They are also expanding research on healthy volunteers to support human thriving.

One such research done by John Hopkins Medicine demonstrates that psychedelic treatment with psilocybin has relieved major symptoms of depressive disorder in adults. A follow-up on the same patients further showed that psilocybin-assisted therapy and psychotherapy’s effects might last a year.

Psilocybin-Assisted therapy for Major Depressive Disorder

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A study was conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine in which healthy volunteers were recruited who had been showing depressive symptoms and depression severity for over two years. Eighty-eight percent of the healthy volunteers had previously received standard antidepressant medication.

They were divided into two groups. After completing the screening process, they received the intervention after almost eight weeks. The healthy volunteers had six to eight hours of preparatory meetings during the treatment period with two treatment facilitators.

After preparation, the healthy volunteers received two doses of psilocybin almost two weeks apart. 24 participants returned for follow-ups and assessments.

The researchers reported that the psilocybin-assisted therapy reduced depression in both groups and that depression severity remained low 12 months after treatment. The GRID- Hamilton Depression Rating Scale was used to assess depressive symptoms.

The Hamilton Depression Rating Scale is a standard tool for assessing depression, with a score of 24 or higher indicating severe depression. According to the Scale,the participants’ responses were stable and healthy.”

Further, the researchers felt that more research is needed to understand and determine the possible effect and efficiency of the treatment. Johns Hopkins Medicine carried out this experiment.

Psilocybin Assisted Psychotherapy

Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy makes use of psilocybin which is a primary and active ingredient in psilocybin mushrooms. It is one of the forms of psychedelic therapy. This form of therapy is currently not legal in many parts of the world.

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The renewed interest is growing since studies have shown the possible benefits and safety of psychedelic drugs in treating mental illness. Clinical trials and results showed efficiency among treatment-resistant depression and conditions, which has led to increasing attention in the medical and psychiatry fields.

Psilocybin is a hallucinogen with serotonergic and glutamatergic action making it extremely viable for therapeutic approaches for neurological disorders.

Ketamine is also considered helpful in therapy but has long-term side effects, including cognitive and neurological dysfunction, making psilocybin therapy the preferred option.

Psychedelic therapy under professional supervision uses psychedelic drugs such as ketamine, DMT, MDMA, and psilocybin. Patients are in extended psychotherapy sessions during which the drug takes effect. Psilocybin-assisted treatment results in a state of temporarily altered consciousness.

It also results in thought alteration and mood disturbance, usually associated with occasional mystical experiences with religious or spiritual significance. Psilocybin produces a substantial release of chemicals which has a long-term decrease in a negative effects on the mind.

Studies conducted on healthy volunteers with mental health problems have displayed minimal adverse effects of psilocybin therapy.

A Randomized Controlled Trial using Psilocybin

A study was done to compare participants’ neural and subjective responses against positive autobiographical memories under psilocybin to verify the hypothesis that psylocybin drugs aid personal emotions.

For this study, ten people participated and received two functional magnetic resonance imaging scans for 7days. Each cue was viewed for 6s, and the participants closed their eyes for 16s imagining and re-experiencing the event.

The activations during this recall interval were contrasted with those during an equivalent period of rest with closed eyes. For analysis, the remembrance time was divided into an early phase and a late phase lasting 8 seconds.

The results concluded that the treatments of psylocybin administration developed strong memories related to the prefrontal cortex.

Still, under psilocybin, additional visual and other sensory cortical activations weren’t present under a placebo.

The conclusion proves that psilocybin may be helpful in psychotherapy. It also serves as psychological support and a tool to aid the recall of important memories or to correct negative cognitive biases based on evidence that it improves autobiographical recollection and sustained personal meaning.

Brain Dynamics During the Psychedelic Experience

In neuroimaging, there is growing interest in investigating quick changes in brain dynamics and functional connectivity. Changes in the aforementioned brain dynamics are anticipated to accompany brain states that diverge from typical waking awareness.

Psilocybin is distinguished by unrestricted cognition and significant changes in how one experiences time, space, and self.

Psilocybin Treatment with Various Mental Disorders

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1. Patients with Chronic Illness

A pure psilocybin dose has been demonstrated to significantly lower the anxiety and depression of cancer patients facing a life-threatening illness. Cancer patients frequently experience chronic, clinically significant symptoms of anxiety and despair.

Psilocybin may help patients dealing with life-threatening cancer patients express less depressive symptoms, according to earlier research, and improve sustained personal meaning.

51 patients with life-threatening cancer, diseases, and signs of despair and/or anxiety underwent studies to determine how psilocybin affected them.

In this random trial with five weeks in between sessions and a 6-month follow-up, the effects of a very low (placebo-like) dose of medical psilocybin (1 or 3 mg/70 kg) versus a high dose (22 or 30 mg/70 kg) were compared. Expectancy effects were minimized by staff and participant instructions.

Throughout the study, participants, staff, and community observers graded the participants’ emotions, attitudes, and behaviors. With high doses of psilocybin, there appeared to be an increase in optimism, quality of life, and life meaning, as well as significant decreases in clinicians- and self-rated measures of depressive mood and anxiety.

These benefits persisted during the 6-month follow-up, with about 80% of patients exhibiting clinically significant declines in anxiety and depressive mood.

Participants credited the high-dose experience with improving attitudes about life and oneself as well as mood, relationships, and spirituality, with >80% reporting moderately or more elevated well-being/life satisfaction.

Ratings from community observers revealed equivalent changes. Occasional mystical-type experiences mediated the impact and persisting dose-related effects of psilocybin on therapeutic results, along with experiences that had spiritual significance on the session day.

They also reported fewer episodes of despair, anxiety, dread, or hopelessness related to their illness and improved outlook on life, moods, and spirituality.

2. Smoking Cessation

Positive changes in behavior, attitudes, and values, as well as improvements in the personality trait of openness, have all been associated with psilocybin administration with psychedelic substances; there have been occasions of mystical-type experiences in healthy volunteers with the use of psychedelic substances.

In a pilot study, 15 smokers went for CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) for smoking cessation by administering 2-3 doses of psylocybin.

At the 6-month follow-up, 12 out of 15 subjects (80%) showed biologically validated smoking abstinence. On assessments of the subjective effects of psilocybin, subjects who were abstinent at six months (n=12) were contrasted with those who were still smoking at six months (n=3). On a test of occasion mystical-type experiences induced by psilocybin, abstainers performed much better.

There were no discernible changes in the overall severity of the drug effects or clinical outcomes across the groups, pointing to the possibility that the subjective effects of a mystical nature—rather than the overall intensity of the drug effects—were what caused people to stop smoking. 60% of the participants—nine out of 15—met the requirements for a “full” mystical experience.

Measures of occasion mystical-type experiences on session days, as well as retrospective assessments of the spiritual and personal significance of psilocybin sessions, were substantially linked with the results of smoking cessation or tobacco addiction. These findings imply that mystical experience mediates in psychedelic-assisted addiction treatment.

3. Depression, Anxiety Disorders, and Major Depressive Disorder

Depressive disorders and anxiety can be severe, incapacitating illnesses that prevent individuals from living their regular lives.

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The research findings have not been any less significant for people with treatment-resistant depression. According to one study, four patients’ cases of depression entered remission, and 13 out of 20 patients exhibited improvement.

A meta-analysis and clinical trials of twenty trials on patients with anxiety found that 65% of patients generally reported less anxiety following psilocybin therapy.

Psilocybin-assisted treatment and therapy have the ability to lessen the signs and symptoms of anxiety and sadness. According to recent research, psilocybin therapy can treat major depression and depression severity for up to a year and possibly longer.

Two doses of psilocybin taken with supportive “talk” therapy resulted in significant, dependable, and long-lasting antidepressant benefits in a study of persons with a lengthy history of depression that was followed up for a year better than antidepressant medication.

Psilocybin has both long-lasting and immediate effects, implying that it could be a particularly effective new treatment for depression.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can recur years after a terrible occurrence, disrupting every aspect of life. Positive outcomes have been seen in studies and psychedelic research on the use of psilocybin with PTSD patients.

Ketamine and MDMA have also been investigated in PTSD research.

Scientific Research and Psychedelic Treatment Research

Further research and systematic review have revealed Psilocybin use by humans has been documented for more than a century. According to certain sources, the chemical strongly influences actions, mind, spirituality, and reflection.

Scientists started to understand the potential of psychedelic drugs or substances in neuroscience, mood disorders, behavior, brain function, and psychiatry in the 1950s. These substances had the unique attribute of having a low tendency to cause overdoses, addiction, or habit formation.

Opioid use and addiction have become more widespread in the US population than psilocybin has, regardless of occupation or age. The number of drug overdose deaths in 2016 exceeded 59,000, representing the biggest yearly increase in American history. Equally troubling is the approximately 30% increase in suicide rates among Americans aged 35 to 64 between 1999 and 2010.

Government control and social taboos have contributed to numerous years of scientific inactivity in psilocybin research and study, leaving many concerns about the drug’s pharmacology and toxicology unsolved.

More than ten completed clinical investigations over the past ten years have shown that psychedelics have therapeutic promise, particularly in psychiatry.

Patients with psilocybin-treated alcohol use disorder (AUD) and cigarette addiction showed remarkable gains in a related study in 2012.

Additionally, psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy has proved successful in treating resistant depression and anxiety and depression in cancer patients. Participants in studies looking at the use of psilocybin for the treatment of AUD reported various psychological experiences and processes thought to be essential for effective improvements in people’s alcohol dependence and drinking patterns.

Measures employed in clinical trials and studies fail to capture many of these experiences fully.

Recent research has confirmed the idea that occasional mystical-type experiences—experiences with a high degree of internal unity or oneness and involving attractiveness to one’s surroundings, understanding of the ultimate reality, insight, and has had spiritual significance or religious blessing—are a facilitator of change in individuals.

As opposed to other metrics, such as peak-psychedelic experience, which are subjective and may be primarily defined by the experience of unity or loss of the sense of a separate self, the definition and correlative findings for the mystical experience upon high dose psilocybin administration are a positive development in quantifying the psilocybin-induced psychophysiological experience.