Psychedelics are poised to revolutionize the psychiatric industry over the next few decades. This is because initial research into hallucinogenic drugs has revealed that they may be able to alleviate the symptoms of mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
Studies have found that even a single dose of a psychedelic, such as ketamine and psilocybin, can result in long-term benefits without most of the side effects typically seen in pharmaceutical mental health drugs. However, these hallucinogenic drugs are still psychoactive despite their therapeutic benefits, and patients usually have to go through a guided psychedelic experience, or “trip,” once they receive an infusion.
The hallucinogenic effects of these drugs have turned off some people who would like to gain the mental health benefits of psychedelics such as psilocybin without experiencing their psychoactive effects. A new research article published in the “ACS Chemical Neuroscience” journal has pointed to the possibility of a psychedelic that can deliver mental health benefits without the trip.
Researchers analyzed a non-hallucinogenic psychedelic called Ariadne to determine its safety and efficacy against psychiatric and neurological disorders. Although Ariadne has been around for a while, with pharmaceutical firm Bristol-Myers studying it in the 1970s, the research died down in the 1970s. The drug had exhibited a variety of effects in early unpublished trials such as remission of symptoms in schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease patients as well as improvements in cognition in older individuals.
The recent research article used data from these unpublished clinical trials coupled with new research data to hypothesize how Ariadne and other compounds with similar chemical structures can be used to address psychiatric and mental disorders without causing any hallucinogenic effects. The article also highlighted an animal study carried out by the authors on a mouse that exhibited all the markers of Parkinson’s disease in humans, revealing that Ariadne quickly alleviated the symptoms after infusion.
However, more research is needed to determine if Ariadne and chemically similar drugs can be used to treat the disease in humans safely and effectively. Columbia University chemistry professor Dalibor Sames, who was one of the paper’s coauthors, noted that the research underlined the potential Ariadne and other chemically similar drugs can have in medical applications.
The study points to a possible future when patients can benefit from psychedelic-assisted therapies without having to go through the so-called psychedelic experience.
With investors and Big Pharma investing millions of dollars into the research and development of mass-market psychedelic treatments, drugs such as Ariadne may be able to bridge the gap for people who weren’t comfortable with psychedelic treatments due to their hallucinogenic effects.
At the moment, nothing is off the table as numerous startups such as Field Trip Health Ltd. (OTC: FTHWF) (TSX: FTHW) work on extensive drug-development pipelines that include various psychedelic compounds. As these R&D programs progress, a lot of new information about novel hallucinogenics could emerge.
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