Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in certain mushrooms. Recent years, there has been a growing body of research into the potential benefits of psilocybin treatment for a variety of mental health conditions.
When it comes to treating depression, Nichols pointed to psilocybin’s speed and efficacy as 2 of its most attractive qualities. Psilocybin’s effects are observable soon after administration (days) compared to standard antidepressants, which, when they work, can take weeks to fully kick in. The antidepressant effects can also last for a while—from 4 weeks up to 6-12 months, depending on the study.Someone might have to take a standard SSRI daily for months or years, they might receive just 1 dose of psilocybin every few months, or even once per year.
Psilocybin’s Path Forward
Already, states like Colorado and Oregon have legalized therapeutic psilocybin use. There are, however, basic questions about psilocybin that lack solid answers. Clinicians are still finding how psilocybin works, who it works for and when and how often it should be used. Answering these questions will require completion of more clinical trials with a greater number of participants
BY funding for such studies is a challenge—the stigmatization of psilocybin has prompted governmental funding bodies to avoid projects involving the compound. However, Nichols thinks that, as trials demonstrating the potential benefits of psilocybin keep coming out, there may be a greater push and incentive for investment. He and Nayak believe this will depend, in part, on a “reeducation process” to help people disentangle historical connotations about psilocybin from what emerging scientific data show—that psilocybin-assisted therapy can, in some cases, be a beneficial thing.
both researchers highlighted that working out the therapy’s scalability and affordability will be of utmost importance. In experimental trials, psilocybin-assisted therapy can cost tens of thousands of dollars.