A couple of weeks ago, Avenues did a deep dive on the latest frontier in drug and alcohol addiction treatment:
If you’re not particular about using the correct technical term, you may know it as “Magic Mushrooms.”
Still unsure about what this is or why it’s suddenly relevant to treating alcohol use disorder? Here is a quick explainer before you go read our full resource page.
Psilocybin Assisted Treatment: The Idea
Psilocybin is a psychedelic found in mushrooms. Psychedelics are, in fancy terms, “mind – altering substances” – they change the mental state of their users. To quote our recent resource page, psilocybin does this:
“When ingested, magic mushrooms are said to induce a sense of deep bliss, unity, decentralization of ego, and oneness with the universe and a higher power. People have reported experiencing profound insights and paradigm shifts in relation to their identities and role in this world, as a result of the novel perspective granted to them by this psychedelic experience.”
Basically, psilocybin makes you feel good, and grants a certain clarity otherwise hard to come by.
Magic Mushroom Addiction Therapy: The Big Question
Professionals have long speculated that magic mushrooms may really help people trying to beat substance addiction. There are those who have tried conventional methods, with no results. Scientists wonder - could this create a path for them to finally get sober?
However, there are side effects to consider. The road of psychedelic – assisted therapy involves risks, and the pros and cons need to be carefully considered before a decision can be made.
The first question perhaps the most obvious.
Does Psilocybin assisted therapy actually work?
As with all new ideas, people set out to discover the answer. Studies and trials were undertaken, and we waited to hear what they may uncover.
Finally – Answers!
Well, today, we have started to receive some answers.
Results from a trial led by Dr. Michael Bogenschutz of NYU were published today in the prestigious JAMA Psychiatry journal.
And it has the Google sphere buzzing.
Here is a sampling of the headlines from some major news organizations today:
ABC NEWS - 'Magic mushroom' psychedelic may help heavy drinkers quit
There is more where that came from. But I’ll allow you the thrill of googling it yourself.
Psilocybin Addiction Treatment Trial: The Breakdown
Here is how the trial worked.
Over 8 months, 93 men and women who were consuming an average of 7 drinks a day received either two doses of psilocybin, or placebo pills which actually consisted of an antihistamine. Throughout the course of the trial, they also took part in 12 psychotherapy sessions. When all was said and done, more than 80 percent of those given the psilocybin drank considerably less, with half of them quitting the bottle entirely. These participants reported visions and experiences that completely rewired their thinking towards alcohol and addiction. Results for the antihistamine takers were drastically less.
This, my friends, as they say in the business of data research and trials, is promising.
So, What’s Next?
Of course, there is still work to be done. Exactly to what extent magic mushroom therapy can affect addiction is still yet to be answered, as well as how big of role it should have in an overall treatment approach. There are also big questions as to how to properly weigh side effects concerns and who is or isn’t an appropriate candidate for the therapy.
But like we said, the first thing we need to know is if it actually works. And today we gained some more clarity on that issue. Not full clarity, just yet.
But it is good to know we are on our way.