Study Shows Psychedelic Therapy Has Long Term Positive Effects on Depression

Psychedelic Therapy Depression - GCI Content Hub - Global Cannabis Intelligence

A new study has found that treating depression with psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy yields positive results 12 months after psychedelic therapy.

Previous research in the psychedelic field

Published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, New Atlas reports on data showing that more than half of the original cohort of participants experiencing major depressive disorders were still in remission one year on from receiving the therapy.

These findings have positive implications for a field that – despite copious media attention – is still a nascent and emerging industry. The most advanced psilocybin research is for depression, including Phase 2 trial data being reported at the end of 2021.

Previous studies assessing the longevity of the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy have not offered data for more than a few months post-treatment. An open-label trial conducted in 2018 with 26 participants showed persistent benefits of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression six months later.

Most recently, longitudinal research into the benefits of a single dose of psilocybin for cancer – patients experiencing existential distress – found that more than 65% of participants showed clinically beneficial effects five years on from treatment.

Psilocybin therapy effective after a year

The study follows 24 patients with major depressive disorder who underwent two psilocybin sessions alongside pre- and post-psychotherapy.

One year later, findings show that 78% of the participants exhibited a clinically significant decrease in symptoms, while 58% are still in remission.

However, researchers note that a number of the original cohort also engaged in other treatments to help manage their symptoms in the year following treatment.

Although the sustained benefits recorded are likely also driven by other treatments, these findings provide the most reliable and encouraging report to date on the long-term efficacy of psilocybin therapy for major depressive disorders.

Regardless of concurrent therapies used, the research shows that psilocybin is a highly useful, powerful and immediate way to help those experiencing depression to reach a more manageable space of mind, from which additional treatments may be needed to maintain remission.

The research also points to the possibility that recurring psilocybin sessions (for example, annually) may be beneficial in maintaining ongoing remission. However, further research is needed to assess the risks and benefits of repeated psychedelic treatment.

Notwithstanding the relatively small study size and unanswered questions, this study builds upon the evermore solid foundation of evidence that psilocybin therapy is a promising therapeutic approach that can lead to substantial long-lasting improvements in depression.

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