Psilocybin Research on Addiction, Depression and Anxiety. Learn if this could Help You.

When you think psychedelic drugs, if we are honest, it conjures up images of the 1960’s hippies tripping out on LSD or magic mushrooms. But these powerful, mind-altering substances are now being studied seriously. They’re being used to treat depression, anxiety and addiction. This Post is a review of a recent 60 minutes feature topic.

Psilocybin Research

The study participants on the Johns Hopkins research studies, a leading global medical research center are going through intense therapy and six-hour psychedelic journeys deep into their minds to do things like quit smoking, anxiety, depression etc.

Current studies shows that psychedelics could help people with addiction and anxiety.

The research is carried out not only in the John Hopkins research but also at the New York University among other leading research institutions.

A recent discussion on 60 minutes illuminates the scientists and the volunteers experience and the hope for a close natural solution to some of our greatest challenges today.

Based on the discussion on the 60 minutes, the early results are impressive, as are the experiences of the studies’ volunteers who go on a six-hour, sometimes terrifying, but often life-changing psychedelic journey deep into their own minds.

The experience is not an exciting one according to one of the volunteers Carine McLaughlin, she said it was awful, not something that she would do again.

Carine McLaughlin was one of the volunteers at the Johns Hopkins University who went through a hallucinogenic experience after a large dose of psilocybin, the psychedelic agent in magic mushrooms, was administered to her on an ongoing clinical trial.

The research at John Hopkins has been going on for the last 2 decades to more than 350 volunteers who are struggling with addiction, depression and anxiety.

Participant First Hand Experience

Carine McLaughlin was a smoker for 46 years and said she tried everything to quit before being given psilocybin at Johns Hopkins last year. Psilocybin itself is non-addictive.

A year after the experience, she says she hasn’t smoked since. She was part of a study that is still on going. The long term smokers study of 15 claims that 80% were able to within six months of being administered the psilocybin. This is twice the success rate of any over-the-counter products for trying to quit smoking.

According to Roland Griffiths the experience makes them change their view of their world with less self narrative, which he says we might call this “ego” and this creates a sense of freedom.

The other volunteer interviewed was Jon Kostakopoulos who had issues with alcohol, mainly beer usually cocktails, vodka sodas, tequila sodas, scotch and sodas. Due to his drinking, Jon Kostakopoulos had been warned that he was slowly killing himself. This is what led him to enroll in a psilocybin trial at New York University.  Jon explain one of his experiences and how he was “flooded with powerful feelings and images from his past”. He reckoned that “Stuff would come up that I haven’t thought of since they happened”.

He goes on to say how he felt, “a lot of shame and embarrassment throughout one of the sessions about my drinking and how bad I felt for my parents to put up with all this”.

Jon took psilocybin in 2016 and he says that he has not had a drink since. Not only had he not had a drink, he has never craved or wanted to have a drink at all.

History of Psilocybin

The use of psychedelic drugs in therapy is not new. The main compound is LSD and hundreds of scientific studies have been done on over 40,000 people in the 1950s and 60s. Unfortunately, there were also abuses where it was experimented without patient’s knowledge.

This led to fear of the outcome of such a possible effect on society and in 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the controlled substances act. This led to the end of almost all scientific research in the U.S. on the effects of psychedelics on humans.

In 2000 Scientist Roland Griffiths won an FDA approval for the study of psilocybin.

According to Roland Griffiths on the 60 minutes, “this whole area of research has been in the deep freeze for 25 or 30 years” He goes on to reckon about the facts that there are inherent risks that they are aware of and clear on and for that reason they do not recommend anyone to go out and do this on their own.

The Therapy process

According to Anderson Cooper, the correspondent for the 60 minutes, he was able to see the psilocybin session, however, due to the impact it would have on the outcome on their experience, they were not allowed to record anyone participants while they were on psilocybin, but they were shown how it begins without the psilocybin.

With a blindfold and head phones to shut out distractions, the participant lies on the couch. The head phones they listen to a mix of choral and classical music which they referred to as a psychedelic soundtrack. This happens with one of the trained guide, in this case Mary Cosimano, watching over the process.

The Process is not any different from the LSD experiments that were done in the 1950s and 60s.

Michael Pollan who is the author of a bestselling book called “How to Change Your Mind.” The book is about the psilocybin studies he had done. He also tried psilocybin himself with the help of an underground guide, as part of his research. In the interview, he reckons that “It seemed so implausible to me that a single experience caused by a molecule, right, ingested in your body could transform your outlook on something as profound as death”.

According to Michael Pollan, psilocybin quiets two areas that are “part of a region called the default mode network” which is particularly active when thinking of ourselves and our lives. This is where we connect our lives and the stories of who we are.

Michael Pollan goes on to say that we need a rewiring to happen.

The Johns Hopkins scientist Matthew Johnson went on to show the correspondent and the team the representational chart of brain activity. It showed the normal brain and what happens on psilocybin. There’s an explosion of connections or cross talk between areas of the brain that don’t normally communicate.

The research is still on going to find out what happens. According to Michael Pollan: “Maybe the ego is one character among many in your mind. And you don’t necessarily have to listen to that voice that’s chattering at you and criticizing you and telling you what to do. And that’s very freeing”.

Kerry Pappas, one of the study volunteers could not describe it as happy. He explained it as comfortable. According to him, he had suffered anxiety his whole life, but he is no longer has anxiety, he is comfortable.

According to John Hopkins website, FDA Approval for the Psilocybin therapy is not expected in the next year or two, but they are hopeful that this will be approved in the next 5 years.

Who Can Use This therapy Study?

One of the people that the study at John Hopkins screen are people with psychotic disorders or have a family history of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

Intensive counselling has to be given to the volunteers before and after the psilocybin therapy. The therapy is six hours long. According to the interview on 60 minutes, there has never been even one serious adverse outcome

My Thoughts

The discussions on the 60 minutes with the actual beneficiaries of the study is mind blowing and clearly giving a lot of hope for some mental health issues that we are dealing with as a global society.

This would be a financially achievable solution for everyone. I will be watching on how this get through with the FDA approvals. There is hope in the Horizon! But with moderation as we have been down this road and we abused it. hope this time we can manage to have enough controls to help those that really need it.

How To Get Into The Study

It was not clear on the discussion, but some research on the John Hopkins website shows that if you are interested in signing up for a trial, you may visit the website which is listed on their profile to explore the studies that are available at this time. You can also call the study line at 1-410-550-2253.

If you have any experience with this research or you have any opinion on it, please leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you.

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  1. I have always known that plants are medicine and have been for centuries.  Thankfully everyone is starting to realize this.  I am excited about Psilocybin Research as I have PTSD and the results so far are positive in helping with that. I think it will be a wonder drug for many conditions if only we can get past the negative stigma much like we see now with medical cannabis. Thank you for bringing even more awareness to this! 

  2. I do not have a history with this but I think that I know someone who will be needing it as soon as possible. It is the first time that I am hearing about psychedelic and how it has been used over the year by therapists on clients. Sounds really cool. A friend who has bipolar disorder will very much like to use this. I am happy that you mentioned here that many others have used it and it worked fr them. Nice post!

    • Hi Henderson, I have no idea how something like could have been kept such a secret. It looks like it has been used before in the 70’s and this current FDA approved research has been going on for the last 2 decades. I’m really hopeful that this will be approved in spite of the low potential to make big profit. 

      It doesn’t look like it will work for people with Psychotic disorders. Currently the study is screening out those with any psychotic disorders or people that have close relatives that have had schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

  3. Hi, I think this is a really interesting article. I have worked as a psychiatric nurse for around 6 years now and a lot of times taking psychedelics can trigger severe psychosis in, at least the patients that I have worked with, What is your take on this?

    Do you think that you would somehow have to be pre-disposed to get a reaction like this?

    I think it is very interesting considering that it, according to research, seems to help with addiction. I currently work in a substitutional program and I could not even imagine something like this helping.

    Thank you for a very interesting article on the subject of psilocybin research.

    • Hi Alexandra, my take is that it’s risky to try this on your own. Based on the research at John Hopkins, the patients are supervised by a well trained person to manage the effects and reaction to the psychedelics. Before signing up for the program, they are ‘screening out people with psychotic disorders or with close relatives who have had schizophrenia or bipolar disorder’. To me this only means that it’s should be under strict medical supervision to avoid severe reactions.

  4. I do not have any experience of this at all but it will be very helpful to help me with issues relating to anxiety. I think that psychedelic is really good because it has been tested and there are positive results. I would like to know though if there are any side effects and also if it can help with sleeping disorders.

    • Hi John, the leading research show that it has does have some risks, which comes more from the recreational use and not in medical settings, infact, as for safety compared to other similar drugs, it has the lowest potential for lethal overdose.
      As for sleep disorders,John Hopkins has been pushing to have”psilocybin re-categorized from a schedule I drug—one with no known medical potential—to a schedule IV drug such as prescription sleep aids, but with tighter control”. I have included the link for John Hopkins here.  I will be following this to see where it takes us hopeful it will get some help since the FDA seems to be moving that way. 

  5. WOW, thanks for the great article, it is such an eye-mind-all-opener to understand and see how amazing nature can be, and how our prejudices can damage and make our own life much worse.

    I see all the magic that is in marijuana, mushrooms, and even some synthetic chemicals like LSD, that could be used in our benefits, but I believe it goes against the pharmaceutical industry interests.

    And also the religious people in the politics are so wrongly engaged in this areas, just full of ignorance and prejudice.

    I hope soon we will be able to have access and really develop these sort of therapies to improve our minds and bodies! 

    Cheers to you! Read you again soon!

    • Hi Luiz, So many good points here. The pharmaceuticals interests are a big part of the hurdles. The prejudice is probably mostly because of prior recreational abuse but if the use benefits outweighs the misuse, I hope that this is one area that nature can help us. 

  6. I deeply appreciated your article.  I have a son who is bi-polar and who has been self-medicating for many years.  I have read some scientific material on psilocybin therapy but have found it too technical and distant.  Your well organized article opened the subject for me.  As you probably know, several towns in California are moving toward legalizing the use of “magic mushrooms.”  I don’t see this as what you are talking about, but your article has given me a good base to look further.  Thank you.

    • Thank you Anastazja, mushrooms have gained so much attention and I’m hopeful we are close to a cure. I would however watch for FDA approved use. 

  7. Hello there, personally I am an addict in smocking and I have tried to stop but I still find myself going back to smocking, I couldn’t believe my eyes as I was reading this post, realizing  that there can be a way to cut off the addiction, I may not clearly understand everything about the medication but I feel I am ready to try it out, I feel happy to know that there is a research on going on how to stop addiction and anxiety. I am sure to subscribe to your newsfeed to learn more about this and other ways of healing anxiety and mostly the addiction.

    Thank you.

  8. Bring tested before and well trusted makes it really interesting to try out here. I have anxiety issues and the only way I ease myself is to smoke. Hence, most therapy sessions I have gone for had ended in pitiable manner. Hence, this is truly great to see here and I really want to take advantage of this in the full form. Please, where can I get pslocybin and how do I register for the therapy sessions.

  9. yeah a friend of mine also was also a study volunteer  he told me about the drink he said it is really a mood changer that his condition  before he took it changed amazingly  that the only thoughts that comes into his mind was just the good things I dont know but like he said he would love to have more of it when he is depressed  thanks for this post and recommendations

  10. Thank you for the awesome post! I’m sharing your site because I have been an advocate for several psychedelics being legalized.  I learned in college that the safest drugs that were illegal were actually psychoactive ones!  LSD has virtually no long term effects!  I really hope that legalization comes soon.

  11. I think this kind of therapy could be very useful in the lives of many people. I worked in the mental health field for a number of years and watched my clients go through a lot of changes, mostly from bad to worse. A solution like this would be monumental in the mental healthcare field. And if one non-addicting session can help people “cure” or “curb” their other addictions then I am all for this. I look forward to hearing more about this therapy.

  12. It is nice to see that there are positive results from this procedure. Your piece is very through and informative. I am impressed that John Hopkins is forward-thinking enough to see how this could help those with addictive issues and anxiety. I know people that would benefit from this treatment and they would certainly reduce stress in their life caused by anxiety and addiction. Look forward to an update.

  13. Hi Zikora. I am not really into stuffs like this; I mean most of the medical terms are kinda confusing to me. But I must say that I am blown away by this research study. Sincerely speaking, I have never in my weirdest imagination thought of such a thing as this. Surprised that people gets freedom from their addiction with the aid of psilocybin. This is something to wonder about!

    • I agree and apparently so does the FDA. The fact that they allowed this research to go on and now most of the leading scientist are paying attention gives us hope. 

  14. I thought addictions can only be a thing of the past only if the victim decides to stop what he is being addicted to, discipline himself, take necessary majors and avoid anything that will bring him back to his vomit and with time he’d be free from his addiction.

    But science has proven me wrong. Right now for me, science looks like magic.

    Psilocybin is incredible!

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