- New research says that a fast-acting psychedelic drug could help treat depression and anxiety.
- Researchers investigated whether administration of this psychedelic in a controlled group setting might affect self-reported feelings of depression and anxiety.
- The team controlled the dose and ensured that participants had support during and after use of the psychedelic.
- After the session was complete, 80% of participants reported improvements in depression or anxiety.
- Researchers found that these improvements were associated with higher ratings of spiritual significance or personal meaning due to the psychedelic experience.
- The team is hopeful that this psychedelic could prove particularly helpful in the treatment of depression and anxiety, as its quick action and short duration make it easier to incorporate into your typical 30-90-minute therapy session.
A new study “5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) used in a naturalistic group setting is associated with unintended improvements in depression and anxiety” from Johns Hopkins University says that a fast-acting psychedelic drug with a short duration could improve treatment for depression and anxiety.
Goals and Investigation
Researchers sought to examine how a specific psychedelic (5-MeO-DMT) affects self-reported feelings of depression and anxiety when administered in a group setting with specific procedures. These procedures included dose guidelines, as well as support during and after treatment. The research team was also interested in whether improvements in depression or anxiety might be related to beliefs (e.g., spiritual or mystical) about the psychedelic experience.
After administration of the psychedelic was complete, 362 respondents filled out an anonymous survey detailing self-perceived improvements in depression and anxiety, as well as feelings (positive or negative) related to the intensity of their “spiritual” or “mystical” experience.
The team found that approximately 80% of those surveyed reported improvements in depression or anxiety after use of the psychedelic. Researchers also saw that these improvements were related to a higher intensity of mystical experiences as well as higher ratings of spiritual significance and personal meaning in regard to the psychedelic experience.
Past research has shown that psychedelics can effectively treat mental illnesses like depression and anxiety when controlled in psychotherapy. However, researchers say this psychedelic could prove particularly beneficial as it is fast-acting and only lasts for a short amount of time.
Psychedelic sessions usually demand 7-8 hours because the effects last for an extended period of time—but with this particular psychedelic, the effects only last for 30-90 minutes, which means it can be worked into a therapy session window much more easily.
- Researchers note that they still need to examine short and long-term effects of this drug.
- Additionally, this research is in its early phases and further investigation is needed into the safety and efficacy of this drug administration.
Davis, A. K., So, S. et al. (2019, March 1). 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT) used in a naturalistic group setting is associated with unintended improvements in depression and anxiety. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00952990.2018.1545024?journalCode=iada20
Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2019, March 18). Fast-acting psychedelic associated with improvements in depression/anxiety. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 11, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190318132628.htm
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