January 30, 2021

Emerging research on the potential therapeutic benefits for mental health?

Last year, the journal Neuropharmacology devoted a whole issues to psychedelics, called “Psychedelics: New doors, altered perceptions” with an introductory article by Belouin & Henningfield stating "Accumulated research to date suggests psychedelic drug assisted psychotherapy may emerge as a potential breakthrough treatment for several types of mental illnesses including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction that are refractory to current evidenced based therapies. This research equally shows promise in advancing the understanding of the brain."

There are many other disorders where psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is demonstrating potential for improving treatment outcomes. For example, a meta-analysis on alcohol dependency, smoking cessation, helping distress in terminal illness, and of course, important developments for the treatment of PTSD. Studies on anxiety, OCD, opioid dependency, dementia-related distress, and anorexia are also being worked on.

Private sector and universities/research institutions are working diligently on the potential impact of psychedelics on human well-being and health. For example, COMPASS life sciences company is working on a phase IIb psilocybin dose-ranging study with 216 patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression, intending then to move onto a major phase III study to better help those suffering from this common and difficult to treat disorder.