Bipolar disorder is a mental illness affecting 2.8% of the U.S. population and around 46 million people worldwide. The disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings that include emotional lows (depression) and highs (mania or hypomania). Although there is no permanent cure for bipolar disorder, the condition and its symptoms can be managed through treatments such as mood stabilizers, antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics.
In addition, researchers are always on the hunt for safer and more effective treatments for complex mental diseases such as bipolar disorder. A study that was recently published in the “Journal of Psychopharmacology” sought to understand the impact psilocybin, the main psychoactive agent in magic mushrooms, would have on people with bipolar disorder.
According to the study’s findings, some people reported that the psychedelic experience was helpful while others reported negative outcomes, such as manic symptoms.
This study comes at a time when researchers all over the country are studying the possible mental health benefits of psychedelic drugs such as MDMA, psilocybin and ketamine. Initial research into these hallucinogenic drugs may have revealed that some of the drugs have potential as mental health treatments, but we still know little about the possible benefits and risks of using psilocybin to treat bipolar disorder.
Emma Morton, the author of the study, stated that while psychedelics such as psilocybin had a long history of being used in indigenous traditions and medicines, research into their therapeutic potential was stalled by legislative barriers. Morton is a member of the Transnational Psychedelic Research Program and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Banting postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia.
Morton added that the world was currently in the midst of a resurgence of psilocybin research and that data had shown that the drug could improve depression symptoms. Morton noted that this finding was greatly beneficial for bipolar disorder research because the condition is often characterized by significant depressive symptoms that can be extremely detrimental to the quality of life of people living with the mental disorder.
This prompted the research team to delve deeper into the effects that psilocybin could have on people with bipolar disorder in the first-ever study on the relationship between psilocybin and bipolar disorder.
Morton explained that researchers first needed to determine if psilocybin was safe for people with bipolar disorder to use before launching clinical trials to test the effectiveness of the psychedelic. The report noted that 32% of study participants revealed they experienced unwanted or negative outcomes during their psychedelic experience or in the two weeks after the experience, with new or increasing manic symptoms being the most common negative effect. In addition 18 people reported that they had to use emergency services during their psilocybin trip or in the two weeks after the trip.
Morton concluded that the study emphasized the importance of conducting additional research in controlled situations to more accurately determine the potential benefits and risks of using psilocybin to treat bipolar disorder.
Plenty of research by entities such as Delic Holdings Corp. (CSE: DELC) (OTCQB: DELCF) is ongoing to indicate more about the therapeutic role of different psychedelics for different indications. With time, it will be clearer which substances are better suited to the treatment of bipolar disorder or other mental health challenges.
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