In recent years and particularly through 2016 more trials have been allowed to take place testing the effects of formerly banned substances as replacement or alternative medications for various illnesses or conditions. The most notable of these has been the trials looking into the medicinal effects of marijuana to treat multiple conditions including pain and anxiety. But now further studies are now starting to look into psychedelics as treatments for various things, and so far the trials seem to be going well.
The first of these possible uses is the study that looked into psilocybin in mushrooms as a treatment for depression. The treatment is said to work in low doses within a matter of one or two treatments and has shown a lasting effect of up to eight months. The substance is being trailed in tests such as this and has currently not been found to have any addictive qualities however it does work by relying on providing the patient with consciousness altering effects. The treatment has claimed to show an improvement in cancer patients with depression by bringing on spiritual experiences that lifted moods and changed outlooks on life, increasing the quality of it and supplying them with improved attitudes toward death.
Another example is the study for the use of MDMA for the treatment of PTSD. It is claimed that the administration of small doses of MDMA paired with therapy lifts the effects of and even helps to rid of the diagnosis of patients with PTSD. It is claimed to do this as studies state MDMA decreases fear and defensiveness and promotes production of oxytocin and prolactin which are hormones associated with trust and bonding. This decrease in fear alongside a rise in trust is then said to allow patients to discuss troubling memories openly without fear. The administration of MDMA is not said to be the cure alone and is administered over a course of many months to ensure the patient time to discuss memories openly and fully. It has not been found to have any negative effects on the patient's cognitive functions and is said to have shown persisting benefits after treatment has concluded.
A study that is a lot less proven and a lot more fresh is the study looking into psychedelics for the treatment of nicotine addiction. The treatment is carried out over multiple long sessions over many months involving carefully controlled and monitored administration of psilocybin alongside sessions of reflection and cognitive behavioural therapy. The treatment is said to work differently to current treatments for nicotine addiction as it does not work by initiating a reaction with nicotine receptors but rather uses the psilocybin as a way to induce self reflection and sparks motivation for patients to create a change, this alongside therapy to talk about and assess the patient's cravings are said to help break their addictive pattern. This treatment is not guaranteed to work as it relies heavily on self reflection but so far it has been shown to be more effective than the current nicotine addiction treatments, and also has positive effects on the patient even once the drug has worn off.
Of course with such experimental treatments there are always risks, and with the controlled doses and therapy involved in these treatments the people and companies backing this research are stressing that these are not treatments to try at home without proper medical or professional supervision. This is because treatments may not work and could possibly cause damage if the wrong dosage is self administered or a person administers it incorrectly.