AMA Study Finds Treating Mental-Health Issues with Psilocybin Doesn’t Increase Paranoia Risk

A recently published review has determined that using psilocybin to manage mental-health conditions doesn’t heighten the risk of paranoia. This discovery comes at a time when public interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelics is increasing.

The review was carried out by researchers at Larkin University, the University of Georgia and Palm Beach Atlantic University, who were focused on better understanding the potential negative effects of psilocybin therapy.

For their study, the researchers reviewed six randomized, double-blind clinical trials with a total of 528 patients, where psilocybin was administered to treat depression and anxiety. They used ClinicalTrials.gov, Web of Science and MEDLINE to look for publications available between 1966 and November 2023. Of the total number of participants, 51% were female, with a median age of 39.8 years.

The researchers discovered that psilocybin wasn’t linked to a risk of paranoia and transient thought disorder but noted that rare cases needed to be monitored over the long-term. However, they did identify other adverse effects among patients in the trials, which included nausea, headache, dizziness, increased blood pressure and anxiety. In their report, the researchers noted that the adverse effects of a single therapeutic dose of psilocybin appeared to be resolved and tolerable in 48 hours.

They also highlighted the need for future research to more actively assess the appropriate management of these effects. They added that the effectiveness of alternative therapies in managing mental-health conditions needed to be further studied and noted that the role licensed therapists played in managing effects observed also presented an avenue for future study.

The review was published in “JAMA Psychiatry” by the American Medical Association. Researchers involved in the study include Akhila Yerubandi, N. M. Mahmudul Alam Bhuiya, Jennifer E. Thomas, Lorenzo Villa Zapata, Catherine Harrington and Joshua Caballero.

In other news, the American Medical Association published separate research in March that contradicted common beliefs on the possible risks associated with the use of psychedelics by adolescents. This research determined that psychedelics were linked to lower rates of psychotic symptoms in the target population. Additionally, clinical-trial results published late last year suggested that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was safe and effective in treating bipolar II disorder. This condition has been linked to difficult-to-treat and debilitating depressive episodes.

Furthermore, the association published a study in August 2023 which determined that after receiving one dose of psilocybin, individuals with major depressive disorder experienced clinically sustained reduction in their symptoms.

Psychedelics have been found to have immense therapeutic potential, and companies such as Seelos Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SEEL) are focused on developing psychedelic treatments to help patients suffering from many conditions that currently lack effective medications. The JAMA study indicating that the risk of paranoia isn’t amplified when psilocybin is used in the treatment of mental health conditions is a welcome finding since it allays the fears that some people may have had.

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