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Exploring psychedelic drugs as potential treatment options for mental illnesses
Posted in Mental Health

Psychedelic drugs, also called psychotomimetic drugs or hallucinogens and known since the early 1950s, were used traditionally in medicine and religion. After being widely popular till the 1970s, the they diminished in popularity and were classified as Schedule I drugs by some countries, as they had no proven medical use but were potential drugs of abuse.

While the stigma, disreputability and debate on their effectiveness remain, there has been a revival of interest in exploring the extent of using these drugs for medicinal purposes. Recent studies have been suggesting that psychedelic drugs can be a re-emerging treatment paradigm for mental illnesses. While further research on this subject continues, it is important to understand how these and other popular mood-altering substances work.

It is believed that psychedelic drugs can replicate or replace the effects naturally occurring neurotransmitters have. They work by inducing a state of altered perception and thought, accompanied by increased sensory abilities and reduced control over routine behavior or actions.

Existing research on psychedelic drugs

Over the last few years, several studies have been conducted to determine the extent of therapeutic benefits that psychedelic drugs can provide. While a 2016 study suggested that magic mushrooms might lessen anxiety in cancer patients, another conducted in 2017 highlighted that ecstasy could provide symptomatic relief to patients of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While papers suggesting the future of psychedelic treatment are abound, they await due credit. The same is likely to happen when drug makers complete all relevant trials pertaining to the drugs of common interest and present their findings to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a green signal.

Currently, drugs based on the effects of ketamine, marijuana, ecstasy and psilocybin are being tested to determine their potential for treatment of different mental illnesses.

Clinical trials on ketamine and CBD under way

Ketamine, a party drug and a widely used anesthetic, is under trial to be used in medications to offer quick relief from depression. Past studies on the same had suggested the drug’s potential to alleviate treatment-resistant depression and suicidal ideation. Referred to as “the most important discovery in half a century” by some researchers, ketamine works by acting on the brain mechanism that facilitates quick and lasting relief to most patients suffering from depression. Pharmaceutical companies like Allergan and Johnson & Johnson have been conducting clinical trials on the new ketamine drug and are expecting to get an FDA nod once all the necessary parameters are assessed.

Likewise, CBD – a marijuana compound – is being worked on by British drugmaker GW Pharmaceuticals. The resultant drug Epidiolex is expected to be used for treating two rare forms of childhood epilepsy, once it obtains federal approval. If so, it would be the first FDA-approved cannabis-based drug.

Psychedelic drugs are addictive

Though the use of psychedelic drugs for the treatment of mental disorders may prove to be a big ray of hope for patients, they can also prove to be a curse disguised as a blessing on account of their high potential for abuse. Both ketamine and cannabis-based drugs are highly addictive and can lead to dependence. However, an addiction, whether to ketamine or marijuana, can be treated at credible drug detox centers.

Sovereign Health, the leading behavioral and substance abuse treatment provider in the United States, offers comprehensive treatment programs for mental disorders, addiction-related problems and co-occurring disorders in a safe, comfortable and trigger-free environment. We offer continuing care for various types of addictions, including ketamine abuse by combining effective traditional and modern treatment plans. Call at our 24/7 helpline to speak to an admission counselor and understand how we administer treatment for ketamine addiction. You can also chat online with our trained representatives to know about our latest ketamine addiction treatment plans.

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