Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: a randomized controlled trial

 Journal of Psychopharmacology  2016, Vol. 30(12) 1165
–1180
©
The Author(s) 2016
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DOI: 10.1177/0269881116675512
jop.sagepub.com
Introduction
Enduring clinically significant anxiety and/or depressive symp-
toms are common in patients with cancer, present in 30–40% of
patients in hospital settings (Mitchell et al., 2011). These symp-
toms are associated with a variety of poor outcomes, including
medication non-adherence, increased health care utilization,
adverse medical outcomes, decreased quality of life, decreased
social function, increased disability, hopelessness, increased
pain, increased desire for hastened death, increased rates of sui-
cide, and decreased survival rates (Arrieta et al., 2013; Brown
et al., 2003; Jaiswal et al., 2014).
Although pharmacotherapeutic and psychosocial interven-
tions are commonly used to treat anxiety and depression in
cancer patients, their efficacy is mixed and limited (Grassi
et al., 2014; NCCN, 2014). There are no US Food and Drug
Administration approved pharmacotherapies for cancer-related
psychological distress, the onset of clinical improvement with
anti-depressants is delayed, relapse rates are high, and significant
side effects compromise treatment adherence (Freedman, 2010;
Li et al., 2012).
Rapid and sustained symptom reduction
following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and
depression in patients with life-threatening
cancer: a randomized controlled trial
Abstract
Background:
Clinically significant anxiety and depression are common in patients with cancer, and are associated with poor psychiatrical and recent research suggests a role for psilocybin to treat cancer-related anxiety and depression.
Methods:
In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial, 29 patients with cancer-related anxiety and depression were randomly assigned and
received treatment with single-dose psilocybin (0.3 mg/kg) or niacin, both in conjunction with psychotherapy. The primary outcomes were anxiety
and depression assessed between groups prior to the crossover at 7 weeks.
Results:
Prior to the crossover, psilocybin produced immediate, substantial, and sustained improvements in anxiety and depression and led to
decreases in cancer-related demoralization and hopelessness, improved spiritual wellbeing, and increased quality of life. At the 6.5-month follow-
up, psilocybin was associated with enduring anxiolytic and anti-depressant effects (approximately 60–80% of participants continued with clinically
significant reductions in depression or anxiety), sustained benefits in existential distress and quality of life, as well as improved attitudes towards
death. The psilocybin-induced mystical experience mediated the therapeutic effect of psilocybin on anxiety and depression.
Conclusions:
In conjunction with psychotherapy, single moderate-dose psilocybin produced rapid, robust and enduring anxiolytic and anti-depressant
effects in patients with cancer-related psychological distress.

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The interior Life

cosmic-energy1

Kingsley L. Dennis, Guest
Waking Times

“We are dreaming a symbolic world, only briefly waking to what is real.” ~Arthur Deikman, M.D.

“He not busy being born, is busy dying.” ~Bob Dylan

Something is not quite right…you feel it…you may have experienced this feeling, this nagging, for a long time. So you most probably just try to ignore it and hope that it goes away; but sooner or later the persistent nagging finally brings an idea to your mind – there’s something very odd about the way the world is. Maybe you feel like you are at the cinema watching a film and yet you sense there must be something wrong about the film you are seeing. The images are all there, but there’s a feeling that something is out of sequence, or the frames are running out of ‘normal’ time. However, after a while you get used to the style of the film, and your senses adjust to its rhythm and you lose the sense of strangeness and you get pulled into the show and you go along with the ride… Continue reading “The interior Life”