Psilocybin-assisted therapy is becoming an increasingly widespread treatment for various mental health conditions. However, many healthcare professionals may be hesitant to use this type of treatment with their patients because of the misconception that psychedelics are dangerous and unsafe. This blog post will share evidence of the safety of psilocybin as an effective treatment option when facilitated by a trained healthcare practitioner.
Psychedelics have been used for centuries by various cultures for healing purposes. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. Psilocybin-assisted therapy is a promising treatment for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and end-of-life distress.
With the right set and setting, psilocybin is generally very safe. In fact, it is often safer and more efficacious than many other medications currently prescribed for mental health conditions.
Additionally, in a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology titled Adverse experiences resulting in emergency medical treatment seeking following the use of magic mushrooms, “[in o]ut of 9233 past year magic mushroom users, [only] 19 (0.2%) reported having sought emergency medical treatment.” As further explained, “Young age was the only predictor associated with higher risk of emergency medical presentations. The most common symptoms were psychological, namely anxiety/panic and paranoia/suspiciousness. Poor ‘mindset’, poor ‘setting’ and mixing substances were most reported reasons for incidents. All but one respondent returned back to normality within 24 h.”
If patients are screened by their physician prior to consumption, and if they are accompanied by a trained facilitator during the session, many of the risks would be eliminated that could result in the need for emergency medical treatment. As healthcare professionals, it is important to understand the facts regarding psilocybin, and be able to differentiate these facts from stigma as this field continues to grow.
Research is regularly being published in medical journals speaking to the safety of psilocybin… but is it more efficacious than conventional treatments at treating mental health concerns?
Given that psilocybin has been granted breakthrough treatment by the FDA twice in the last three years, legal psilocybin treatment could be available sooner than later. The results of studies continue to show the potential that psilocybin-assisted therapy has to offer.
As explained by researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine who studied major depressive disorder, “two doses of the psychedelic substance psilocybin, given with supportive psychotherapy, produced rapid and large reductions in depressive symptoms, with most participants showing improvement and half of study participants achieving remission through the four-week follow-up.”
Most mental health conditions are treated with psychotropic medications that must be taken daily; if the desired effect is not produced, the dosage is increased, which simultaneously increases the risk of potential side effects. Psilocybin, on the other hand, requires only a few treatments per year to produce the same effects or better.
So which medicine would you choose for your patients?
Learning the basics about psychedelics is valuable in order to support your patients in the best way possible. Book a call to see if ATMA’s Introduction to Psychedelic-assisted Therapy program is right for you.
The ATMA Academy Team