The case for funding psychedelics to treat mental health

“Scientists are developing psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, into a treatment for depression.”

Reporting for Vox, Sigal Samuel writes:

“… drugs like traditional antidepressants are, at best, only a partial solution. While their effectiveness has been hotly contested over the past decade, the evidence now shows that they are more effective than a placebo, but not that much more effective. (Once we account for the placebo response, the effect size of the drugs themselves is modest.) And for some folks who have treatment-resistant depression, the drugs don’t work at all.

So if you want to invest in the mental health of people around the world, making us all more resilient to future crises, what can you do?

Believe it or not, your best bet might be to fund drug development for psychedelic-assisted mental health treatments. At least that’s the upshot of a new in-depth report by Founders Pledge, an organization that guides entrepreneurs committed to donating a portion of their proceeds to effective charities.

Psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, is being investigated as a potential treatment for depression. Over the past decade, a few studies have investigated the effectiveness of psilocybin for treating depression and end-of-life anxiety in cancer patients, and found that the psychedelic had a surprisingly large effect.

Meanwhile, the drug MDMA (also known as ecstasy)is being studied for use in people with post-traumatic stress disorder. MDMA, which affects serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine levels, is best known as a party drug. But research suggests it can also relieve depression and help users access and process memories of emotional trauma. The users in studies participate in psychotherapy sessions where a therapist helps them integrate what they experienced while taking MDMA — which often includes increased feelings of empathy and bonding — into daily life …”

You can read more from here.

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