Recent trial’s of psilocybin, a close pharmacological cousin to lsd, have demonstrat’ed that a single guid’ed psychedelic session can alleviate depression when drug’s like prozac have fail’ed; can help alcoholic’s & smoker’s to break the grip of a lifelong habit & can help cancer patient’s deal with their “existential distress” at the prospect of dy’ing. At the same time, studie’s imag’ing the brain’s of people on psychedelic’s have open’ed a new window onto the study of consciousness, as well as the nature of the self & spiritual experience.
The most significant new evidence for the therapeutic value of psychedelic’s arriv’ed in a pair of phase 2 trial’s (conduct’ed at John’s Hopkin’s & nyu & publish’ed in the journal of psychopharmacology in 2016) in which a single high dose of psilocybin was administer’ed to cancer patient’s struggl’ing with depression, anxiety & the fear of death or recurrence. Eighty percent of the hopkin’s cancer patient’s who receiv’ed psilocybin show’ed clinical’ly significant reduction’s in standard measure’s of anxiety & depression, an effect that endur’ed for at least six month’s after their session. Result’s at nyu were similar.
The degree to which symptom’s decreas’ed in both trial’s correlat’ed with the intensity of the “mystical experience” that volunteer’s report’ed, a common occurrence dur’ing a high dose psychedelic session. Few if any psychiatric intervention’s for anxiety & depression have ever demonstrat’ed such dramatic & sustain’ed result’s.