Okanagan Researchers Explore Whether Psychedelics Could Help Combat Alcoholism

Research has shown that psychedelics may be useful in the treatment of a range of mental-health conditions, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Now, Okanagan researchers are looking into whether psychedelics can help manage alcoholism.

Okanagan Clinical Trials is among other sites in Finland and Canada taking part in this research. The researchers’ objective is to evaluate the effectiveness of psilocybin in treating alcohol use disorder. Psilocybin is the active ingredient found in hallucinogenic mushrooms.

To participate in the trial, all volunteers go through screening after which they participate in  10 therapy sessions, with two of sessions including the administration of 25 mg doses of synthetic psilocybin. Because it’s a randomized study, some patients may receive a placebo during the two sessions.

In a recent interview, trial coordinator Ethan Klukas stated that the 25 mg dose was fairly large. He explained that if an individual received this dose, they entered an altered state for an estimated six to eight hours.

Patients who receive the psychedelic aren’t left to experience the trip alone. They are monitored by therapists who stay in the room with them to help if any symptoms of anxiety come up. During the psychedelic “trip,” the volunteers all listen to a preselected playlist and focus on going inward. After their dosing sessions, individuals can discuss their experience with therapists and explore how it is linked to their goals around alcohol use.

Once the 10-week trial period ends, participants will be observed for an additional three months, during which their consumption of alcohol will be tracked and then compared to consumption prior to therapy.

For the study, which started in August 2022, 160 patients will be needed. The door for recruitment closes in April of this year, but until then, more volunteers are welcome. Generally, volunteers must be healthy and between 19 and 70 years of age. Additionally, they must have received a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder, ranging from moderate to severe cases.

Those interested are directed to visit https://okanaganclinicaltrials.com/

This research is sponsored by Clairvoyant Therapeutic Inc., a biotechnology company based in Vancouver. CEO Damian Kettlewell stated that the company’s objective was to become the first company globally to acquire regulatory approval for the clinical use of psilocybin in treating alcohol use disorder.

With many start-ups such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) racing to bring to market various regulator-approved psychedelic treatments, we can expect the range of ailments that these substances can effectively treat to increase over the coming years.

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