Can psilocybin help with people suffering from meth addiction?
Researchers with St. Vincent’s Hospital in Darlinghurst, Australia, will investigate whether the psychedelic psilocybin can curb the powerful cravings of methamphetamine addiction.
The trial will recruit 15 adult meth addicts currently seeking treatment at St. Vincent’s with little success. Volunteers will be given medical and mental health screenings before being chosen to participate.
Once selected, participants will undergo at least three psychotherapy sessions to outline their addiction patterns and gain a clear understanding of what they hope to get out of the therapy. Each will then be given 25mg of psilocybin under the supervision of a therapist. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) will be used to measure brain activity before and after the treatment. Following the psilocybin session, participants will undergo at least three more psychotherapy sessions. The entire process should take about two to three months.
“It is vital that we continue to support the search for new and better treatments for mental illness.”– Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt
“That’s a short period of psychosocial treatment, which is what excites me about this research—the potential to speed up, enhance or maximize on the conversations that we have as counselors [with these patients],” clinical psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Knock told The Sydney Morning Herald.
The news comes just days after the country announced it would give $15 million in federal grants for clinical trials to investigate whether psychedelic therapies for debilitating mental illnesses.
“It is vital that we continue to support the search for new and better treatments for mental illness,” Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said about the grant announcement. “This grant opportunity will boost local research into potentially life-saving therapies and offers hope to all those suffering from mental illness, including our veterans and the emergency service personnel dealing with the devastating effects of PTSD.”
St. Vincent’s isn’t the only facility investigating psilocybin for methamphetamine addiction. In September, Toronto-based life sciences company Revive Therapeutics Ltd., announced it had entered into a Clinical Trial Agreement (CTA) with the University of Wisconsin to examine psilocybin as a treatment for adults addicted to meth.