University of Calgary Researchers Begin Testing Psilocybin as AUD Treatment

University of Calgary scientists want to conduct a trial on the use of psilocybin as a treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD). The trial will be carried out at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and will include 128 individuals with alcohol use disorder.

Each of the participants will undergo sessions prior to and after treatment; they will each also be assigned to trained therapists to take them through talk-therapy.

In a news release, the trial’s principal investigator, Dr. Leah Mayo, revealed that team members would start the study with psychotherapy then administer psilocybin and observe whether this improved the therapy’s effectiveness.

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in different species of hallucinogenic mushrooms. This compound induces a psychedelic high when ingested, altering an individual’s sense of time, as well as their emotions and their thinking.

The psychedelic will be administered to the participants in large or small doses that will last for an eight-hour period. The psychotherapy sessions will take place over a five-week period, with the primary focus being to elicit meaningful changes in habits to decrease and/or stop abusing alcohol.

Mayo explained that psilocybin allowed the brain to be more receptive to developing new habits.

The trial’s coprincipal investigator, Dr. David Hodgins, stated that researchers were focused on using science to support the use of psychedelic therapy as a first-line treatment. Hodgins, a professor of psychology at the institution, added that the goal of the treatment mode being used for the trial, motivational enhancement therapy, was to create long-term and sustained positive habits.

This approach helps individuals to learn for themselves why they want to make changes to their lives and what strategies they can use to be successful.

Hodgins then noted that individuals would have a better chance at sustaining progress and living their lives differently if they were in touch with their own personal reasons and had a good understanding of themselves.

The trial is supported by the Canadian Institutes in Health Research. This independent agency is comprised of 13 research institutes conducting world-class research focused on studying pressing health issues of strategic importance to Canada. The agency believes research has the power to change lives and supports the development of programs and policies that can improve the health of individuals and whole communities.

The psilocybin administered during the trial period will be provided by Filament Health. This is a clinical-stage natural psychedelic drug development company focused on demonstrating the effectiveness and safety of botanical psychedelic drug candidates in humans.

Individuals interest in taking part in the trial can email for more information.

Other drug-development entities such as atai Life Sciences N.V. (NASDAQ: ATAI) are also conducting their own psychedelic drug-development programs. It is likely that in a few years, patients battling various mental-health issues could have these novel formulations available legally to address their clinical needs.

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