Psychedelic studies are happening all across the globe. Here’s how to find out if you’re a good candidate for a study.
Could you be a candidate for taking part in a psychedelic study? What impact could it have on your mental health?
Clinical studies are crucial to medical knowledge. They help researchers obtain valuable information about the safety and efficacy of medical drugs, devices, and procedures. This information is necessary for medical products to be granted approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of specific indications.
Despite studies in the 1950s showing promising therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs, funding for research in the United States was stifled in 1970, thanks to the Controlled Substances Act which dried up funding by the National Institute of Mental Health and led the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to put a death grip on these medications.
For decades, psychedelics were criminalized and no longer studied. That is, until 2000, when a team of researchers at Johns Hopkins obtained regulatory approval to reinstate research with psychedelics. Their landmark study investigated the effects of psilocybin in healthy volunteers who had never used the drugs before. Six years later, the group published their results showing the safety and enduring positive effects of a single dose of psilocybin. It sparked a renewed interest in psychedelic research around the world.
Today, several research teams are recruiting healthy volunteers as well as those with specific mental health conditions to participate in psychedelic studies to better understand the therapeutic benefits of drugs like MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, and others, for the treatment of mental health conditions including treatment-resistant depression, death anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, anorexia nervosa, alcoholism, and opioid addiction, to name a few.
Some current studies investigating psychedelics in the United States include:
- MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD in good physical health
- Evaluation of MDMA on startle response in healthy volunteers
- Study of psilocybin for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder in physically healthy volunteers
- Effects of psilocybin on individuals with anorexia nervosa
- Mood effects of serotonin Agonists (LSD)
Wondering if you’re a candidate for a psychedelic study? All human clinical trials involving drug products conducted in the United States are registered at clinicaltrials.gov. Use the search criteria to look up a specific medical condition, disease, or drug name to find out which studies are recruiting. Each trial record includes details such as inclusion and exclusion criteria. You can also check to see if you live in close proximity to the sites where research will be conducted, how many sessions are involved and how much time you will be expected to commit to the study.
Even if you meet all the criteria, there is no guarantee you will be accepted into the study. You will still have to go through additional psychological and physiological screenings, and to ensure you are not taking any medications that may interfere with treatment. There will also be waivers to sign and you will be made aware that side effects are possible.
Acceptance in a clinical trial doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a dose of psychedelics. Some studies involve comparing the experimental treatment to a placebo, and the study participant will not be aware at the time which medication he will be administered.
Participating in a clinical trial doesn’t guarantee you’ll receive any therapeutic benefit. But If you do, you will have access to treatment before it is readily available. Either way, as a psychedelic study participant, you will be contributing to research that may help millions of people in the future suffering from mental health disorders.