Researchers from Sydney, Australia, are planning a clinical trial with the objective to discover whether administering psychedelics, specifically psilocybin, to individuals who use methamphetamines, commonly known as “meth,” could help manage their addiction. Psilocybin is the active psychedelic ingredient found in magic mushrooms.
The scientists from St. Vincent’s Hospital, Darlinghurst, will administer psychedelic therapy to patients who are dependent on ice, or meth. A St. Vincent specialist in toxicology, clinical pharmacology and addiction medicine, lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Brett stated that he was extremely aware of the pressures to carry out the trial in the strictest scientific and ethical boundaries. He also noted that people at home are encouraged to refrain from trying the approach at home, explaining that the process needed an established treatment protocol to support it.
All participants of the study will have no less than three counseling sessions with therapists who are specialized in the field, before they move on to the psilocybin administration stage. During these sessions, participants will work to obtain an understanding of their addictive patterns as well as the benefits they hope to receive from the treatment. This is in addition to building a therapeutic relationship.
After the sessions, the participants will then ingest the psychedelic, a pharmaceutical grade 25mg capsule, under supervision, which will be followed up by a additional therapy sessions.
Dr. Elizabeth Knock, a clinical psychologist and co-researcher, stated that the treatment would be administered in over a two- to three-month period. She added that the dosage to be used for the study would trigger a psychedelic effect but avoid any unwanted side effects of psychedelics, like hallucinations.
The study will enroll 15 participants in August of this year, selecting from a list of patients who are aged 25 years and above and who are already receiving treatment for meth addiction at the hospital. The screening process that will determine the participants who will be eligible for this exercise will be strict. Before they are recruited, patients will need to visit their psychiatrists, an addiction specialist and nurse, and they will also need to be not using any medicine that may interact with the psychedelic.
It should be noted that any individual with a family history of bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, or with a history of the aforementioned conditions will be excluded from the recruitment process.
The trial will utilize functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRIs) to measure the brain activity of each individual both prior to and after the psychedelic therapy has been administered. The study is to be financed by the National Center for Clinical Research on Emerging Drugs.
The possibilities for the medical use of psychedelics are nearly endless in the mental health space, and this potential has driven companies such as Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) (OTC: PRXTF) to invest in finding ways to develop and commercialize psychedelic medicines within the shortest time possible.
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