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Amazonian Psychedelic to Help Cure Depression

A psychedelic used in shamanic rituals is to be trialled as a treatment for depression.

Following news that Oregon is legalising 'magic mushrooms' [OGN November] because of its therapeutic potential, rather than promoting its consumption for a Saturday night 'trip', and a peer-reviewed study by JAMA Psychiatry indicating that the active ingredient in 'magic mushrooms' (psilocybin) is 4 times more effective as a therapy than anti-depressants, the UK is trying something similar.

Participants in the UK-based trial will be given DMT, the active ingredient in ayahuasca: a traditional Amazonian plant medicine that is used to bring spiritual enlightenment. To support this, participants will also receive talking therapy.

Small Pharma, the company running the trial, believes that DMT (also known as the ‘spirit molecule’) could offer a cure for the millions of people who don’t respond to existing treatments for depression.

There's a growing body of evidence suggesting that psychedelic drugs – when accompanied by talking therapy – are safe and effective at treating mental health conditions, including addiction, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.


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