Case Study Documents Psychedelics Aiding Patient’s Recovery from Long-COVID

Long-COVID, also referred to as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection, includes various symptoms that persist even after an individual recovers from the COVID-19. These symptoms include cognitive impairment, fatigue, depression, anxiety, headaches and joint pain.

Currently, effective treatment options for long-COVID are limited. However, a new case study has examined how one patient suffering from long-COVID used MDMA and psilocybin to manage her symptoms.

Psilocybin is the primary psychoactive compound found in hallucinogenic mushrooms. It has been used by indigenous cultures for spiritual ceremonies for centuries. In the last few years, scientific research has discovered that psilocybin has therapeutic benefits that may be useful in the management of a range of mental-health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression.

MDMA, which is also known as ecstasy, is also a psychoactive substance that has demonstrated promise in clinical settings, particularly in the treatment of PTSD. Researchers believe that these substances work by improving brain connectivity and emotional processing.

For their research, the investigators focused on a 41-year-old woman who was experiencing debilitating long-COVID symptoms after contracting the virus in 2022. The patient, who had been vaccinated three times, developed a variety of symptoms, including depression, severe anxiety, joint pain, insomnia, cognitive difficulties and a horrible headache.

Traditional therapies such as massages, physical therapy, medications, meditation and intermittent fasting offered little relief for the patient. This prompted them to try osteopathic and chiropractic treatments, which provided short-lived relief. Frustrated at this point, she decided to try psychedelics, which were administered by a trained facilitator.

During her first session, she consumed one gram of dried psilocybin mushrooms, revealing that she saw a 20% improvement in her symptoms for a week. Twenty-four days later, she went in for a second session, receiving MDMA and a higher dose of psilocybin. She observed significant improvement in her symptoms, including an improved sense of well-being and a huge reduction in her symptoms. Additionally, her cognitive function improved, allowing her to return to work and continue with her PhD studies.

An additional session where psilocybin was administered resulted in complete remission, with the patient reporting that she was able to keep up with her professional and academic responsibilities. This is in addition to experiencing considerable relief.

The research highlights the potential of psychedelics being used to relieve the cognitive and psychological symptoms linked to these post-coronavirus symptoms.

However, case studies have limitations that make it hard for findings from a particular case to be generalized for a larger population. Investigators are now focused on determining whether psychedelics are effective and safe for long-COVID and understanding possible mechanisms of action.

Investigators involved include Joel Castellanos, Harman Chopra, Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, Tim Furnish and David S. Jevotovsky. Their findings were published in “Clinical Case Reports.”

As enterprises such as Compass Pathways PLC (NASDAQ: CMPS) make public the findings from their drug-development efforts focused on psychedelic substances, it could become clearer which conditions or symptoms these hallucinogenic substances can help with.

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