Psychedelic Psilocybin Therapy For Depression

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Psychedelic Psilocybin Therapy For Depression

After being granted a Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the FDA, psilocybin therapy is now being looked at as a form of treatment for depression.

Depression is a recurring problem for society as a whole. According to recent statistics compiled by the World Health Organisation, more than 300 million people suffer from this condition on a global scale. This has resulted in 800,000 deaths annually due to suicide, with people aged 15–29 years old the usual victims. 

Medical experts prescribe different types of medication for antidepressant purposes, most commonly in the form of SSRIs under branded names like such as Lexapro, Prozac, and Zoloft. But most of these medications usually bear untoward side effects, from fatigue and nausea to insomnia and even erectile dysfunction for men.


In 2012, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) opened up a new avenue for patients and doctors to combat illness by establishing the Breakthrough Therapy Designation. When substances are given this status, it essentially means that they can be experimented with as a potential form of treatment for life-threatening conditions. In 2018, the said classification was granted for Psychedelic Psilocybin Therapy.

It should be noted that being granted this kind of status does not automatically mean that psilocybin therapy has been proven effective and is ready for the mainstream market. After all, it still holds the same Schedule I classification since 1970, automatically denoting it as having a high potential for abuse, with no medical benefit whatsoever. 

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Several studies have already been conducted to prove whether or not psilocybin therapy can work as a means of treating people afflicted with depression. The results were fascinating, as noted by Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research at Imperial College London.

According to Dr. Carhart-Harris, patients made mention of feeling a “reset” in their brains upon receiving psilocybin treatment, equating it to how computer hardware is defragged. Specifically, it gave the ailing patients a temporary “kick start” to break away from their depressive episodes. These tests were done using brain scans, which showed similar results to when electroconvulsive therapy is conducted.



Other tests conducted on individuals suffering from depression showed another side of the story. After two clinical trials conducted in the United States on cancer-stricken patients, it was concluded that psychoactive mushrooms essentially helped in giving a new perspective in life, ultimately helping patients cope with their misery from facing imminent death. 

Other studies by New York University and Johns Hopkins University also concluded that a mere single dose of psilocybin mushrooms led to a significant decrease in anxiety and depression brought on by cancer. Medical experts admitted that they were sceptical at first, but eventually gave in to the notion that psychedelics can be of great help in dealing with depression.


The Schedule I classification for psilocybin and psychedelics still stands, but experts are optimistic that the FDA’s breakthrough therapy designation is a step in the right direction. So much so that they are expecting changes to be made within the next five years

We are definitely living in a different, more progressive society in this day and age, and it would not be surprising if other unconventional forms of treatment sprout out in the near future.