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As we continue to evolve into a more open-minded society regarding drugs and their health benefits, we’re also diving deeper into what’s known as the “psychedelic renaissance,” where the interest in therapeutic potential in psychedelics is at an all-time high.
One of the most popular psychoactive compounds is psilocybin, the psychoactive and mind-altering compound in magic mushrooms. Experts believe there is much potential for psilocybin to treat mental health issues, especially anxiety, which is why a team of researchers at Melbourne, Australia’s Monash University, decided to jump in the game.
Impressively, this team became the first to gain ethics approval to clinically study how psilocybin can treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is the usual and most common form of anxiety, known as severe and chronic, that can display as worry or ongoing panic on a day-to-day basis.
Head of clinical psychedelic research at Monash, Paul Liknaitzky, told Vice that within the study, patients will be given a high dose of psilocybin over two sessions. They will start with 25 milligrams, then increase this dosage at the second session. Each session will also be followed by at least three psychotherapy sessions with two qualified therapists.
However, there’s some thorough preparation to be taken before administering these doses. Liknaitzky added that mentally preparing someone with anxiety for a psychedelic trip can trigger their anxiety symptoms. This is why, for the first time ever, Liknaitzky and his team will provide psilocybin as an option for their therapists as a part of their training.
This is also the first time psilocybin will be used as a “training tool for therapists, and the first to offer a classical psychedelic for this purpose since 1974,” Liknaitzky told Vice. There’s something about relatability that can decrease someone’s anxiety regarding psychedelic experiences. It’s said that a therapist’s psychedelic experiences play a crucial role in allowing the patient to feel completely at peace.
Liknaitzky mentioned that an affirmative and relatable response from a clinical support team saying,”‘yes, I’ve been there before, it was challenging, but I survived and benefitted, and I can help you’ – that helps an enormous amount with the participants.”
Now that the research team jumped over the ethics approval hurdle, they’re currently securing all required state and federal permits and licenses to obtain and import psilocybin into Australia. The team is hopeful to begin recruiting patients for the trailblazing study by the first quarter of 2022.
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