LSD shows promise as standalone anxiety treatment in trial

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Phase 2b data from MindMed’s LSD-based therapy adds to the mounting evidence that psychedelic-assisted therapies could treat mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and PTSD.

In particular, the study found statistically significant dose-dependent improvements in the Hamilton Anxiety rating scale (HAM-A)  at the 100 and 200 μg dose levels in the four-week study. Similarly, recent phase 2 Cybin data found 79% remission for depression after two doses of its psilocybin-based therapy. And MAPS filed for MDMA approval in PTSD based on phase 3 results.

But MindMed’s study was unique in its evaluation of MM-120 as a standalone single-dose oral medication without psychotherapy. The compound, an LSD tartrate formulation, showed clinically and statistically significant reductions in anxiety symptoms over four weeks when given as a single monotherapy dose in patients with generalized an…

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The future of rapid and enduring neuropsychiatric treatments: From psychedelics to non-hallucinatory psychoplastogens

Serotonin molecule [Vladimir/Adobe Stock]

Neuropsychiatric disorders, such as depression and anxiety, are among the leading causes of disability worldwide. Almost one billion people globally — roughly one out of eight individuals — live with a mental disorder, with anxiety and depressive disorders the most common, according to the World Health Organization. Yet current therapies such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) offer limited efficacy and come with undesirable side effects. Additionally, they may take weeks to produce noticeable benefits.

These challenges have sparked interest in alternative treatments, including psychedelics and psychoplastogens, for mental health treatment, as noted by Dr. Kurt Rasmussen, Delix‘s chief scientific officer. “There are now a lot of researchers looking at psychoplastogens as a way to help remodel those circuits and treat depression and anxiety mor…

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LSD-assisted therapy resulted in durable anxiety improvement in Phase 2 study

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A randomized placebo-controlled Phase 2 study found that lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)–assisted therapy yielded significant reductions in anxiety and depression symptoms for up to 16 weeks.

The data from the study was recently published in the peer-reviewed Biological Psychiatry.

Researchers at the University Hospital Basel (UHB) conducted the investigator-initiated study, which involved 42 patients.

While there was a substantial amount of research on LSD-assisted therapy in the 1950s and 1960s, psilocybin has emerged as a more popular compound for psychedelic-based therapy in recent years.

In the data published in Biological Psychiatry, researchers used Spielberger’s State-Trait Anxiety Inventory–Global (STAI-G) score and the HAM-D-21 (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale) to quantify anxiety and depression, respectively. Investigators also used the Beck Depressio…

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Can the U.S. unify around psychedelics for mental health?

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The U.S. has perhaps never been more divided than it is today. Americans are divided over politics and myriad social issues, COVID-19, climate change, immigration and seemingly everything else. 

Not surprisingly, opinions also diverge on whether psychedelic drugs have therapeutic potential. Earlier this year, a survey from The Harris Poll found that 65% of Americans with anxiety, depression or PTSD believe that drugs such as the classic psychedelic psilocybin and the empathogen methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine (MDMA) should be available for therapeutic use. The compounds remain Schedule I drugs but could find FDA approval in the coming years. 

Mental health professionals have tended to view psychedelics skeptically after they were illegal in the 1970s. A 2018 survey in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease found that psychiatrists tended to view psychedelics as “potent…

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Psilocybin holds therapeutic promise — but tapping its potential could be a challenge

Communication between brain networks in people given psilocybin (right) or a non-psychedelic compound (left). [Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons]

A growing number of small studies indicate that psilocybin, a psychoactive compound in hallucinogenic mushrooms, holds promise for treating depression, addiction and anxiety.

But while traditional psychedelics like psilocybin may have broad potential, making effective therapeutic use of them at scale is likely to be challenging in the near term, said psilocybin advocate Derek Chase, who has experience working in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic and cannabis industries.

“The mental health segment needs to be readdressed from the ground up” to make the most of psychedelics, Chase said. With psychedelics, the mental health industry should strive to find a “true linking of medication with therapy.”

Psychedelics such as psilocybin should …

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