Psychedelic Drugs: Powerful Medicine, Life-Changing Results

60 Minutes recently looked at the “often life-changing psychedelic journey” of patients who have received psilocybin-based therapy for depression, anxiety and addiction

Depression, anxiety and addiction are all endemic in our societies. And these mental health epidemics have all worsened considerably as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is now a bona fide Mental Health Crisis – across the West and around the world.

Globally, there are over 300 million people today estimated to be suffering from depression. Well over 1 billion people have substance abuse issues: nicotine, alcohol, prescription drugs and illicit drugs.

One-half of this crisis are the rising rates of depression/anxiety/addiction. The other half of the crisis is the failure to help those suffering from these conditions.

In an earlier Psychedelic Stock Watch article, we laid out the “depressing” picture regarding the inadequate efforts of mainstream medicine to treat depression.
Psychedelics: A Better Way To Treat Depression

Why do more than two out of three sufferers of depression not obtain treatment? It’s because existing drugs used to treat depression have a dismal success rate. The study outlines this failure.
Treatment patterns in major depressive disorder after an inadequate response to first-line antidepressant treatment

Despite the introduction of newer-generation antidepressants, approximately 50% of patients experience non-response to treatment with a first-line antidepressant.

A 50% failure rate. Not good medicine…

Antidepressants have a dismal failure rate. They pose numerous serious (and even dangerous) side effects. They are being prescribed even though only a minority of users will derive any actual medicinal benefit.

Despite these shortcomings, Big Pharma has programmed doctors to prescribe antidepressants like two-legged Pez dispensers.

A 2017 article from Time Magazine (the most recent data available) indicated that 13% of Americans 12 years of age or older were currently being prescribed antidepressants.

This leads to another major downside for anti-depressants: they are very addictive.

The picture is equally grim with respect to current treatments for addiction/substance abuse.

Are Psychedelics The Answer For Addiction?

As addiction has emerged from the shadows, we are now much more aware of the enormous economic costs associated with substance abuse. In the United States alone, substance abuse is costing the economy $740 billion per year – and growing.

Overall, the Mental Health Crisis is expected to cost the global economy $16 trillion in lost productivity between now and 2030. And that estimate was made well before the current pandemic worsened this crisis.

With (now) an even worse Mental Health Crisis and a pandemic-crippled global economy, we cannot afford this hit to productivity.
Enter psychedelic drugs.

On August 16, 2020, the investigative news program, 60 Minutes, took a closer look at psychedelic drug therapy, specifically psilocybin.

What host Anderson Cooper found was a powerful medicine that (in early clinical studies) has produced outstanding results for most of the patients to volunteer for these therapies.
Psilocybin Sessions: Psychedelics could help people with addiction and anxiety

For most of us, psychedelic drugs conjure up images of the 1960's - hippies tripping out on LSD or magic mushrooms. But, as we reported last fall, these powerful, mind-altering substances are now being studied seriously by scientists inside some of the country's foremost medical research centers. They're being used to treat depression, anxiety and addiction…

And early results are impressive, as are the experiences of the studies' volunteers who go on a six-hour, sometimes terrifying, but often life-changing psychedelic journey deep into their own minds. 

Carine McLaughlin: (LAUGH) People ask me, "Do you wanna do it again?" I say, "Hell no. I don't wanna go do that again."

Anderson Cooper: It was really that bad?

Carine McLaughlin: Oh, it was awful. The entire time, other than the very end and the very beginning, I was crying.

Such accounts may be somewhat daunting to both potential psychedelic drug patients as well as psychedelic drug investors. 60 Minutes went further.

[Psychedelics researcher] Matthew Johnson: About a third will-- at our-- at a high dose say that they have something like that, what folks would call a bad trip. But most of those folks will actually say that that was key to the experience. 

If it was easy to treat depression and break addiction, then mainstream medicine wouldn’t have been failing so dismally for the past several decades to provide such treatment.

Psychedelic drugs – such as psilocybin -- are powerful medications that (to date) have shown enormous potential to provide effective treatment for the vast majority of those seeking such treatments.

Clinical studies using psychedelics to treat depression have reported success rates of up to 80%. In contrast, mainstream medicine currently uses powerful medications (antidepressants) that don’t work to treat depression.

The picture with addiction is similar.

The failure of mainstream medicine to treat addiction has resulted in a revolving-door business for many rehab clinics and “12 steps” programs.  Not with psychedelics.
Jon Kostakopoulos was drinking a staggering 20 cocktails a night and had been warned he was slowly killing himself when he decided to enroll in another psilocybin trial at New York University. During one psilocybin session, he was flooded with powerful feelings and images from his past.

Jon Kostakopoulos: Stuff would come up that I haven't thought of since they happened. 

Anderson Cooper: So old memories that you hadn't even remembered came back to you?

Jon Kostakopoulos: I felt, you know, a lot of shame and embarrassment throughout one of the sessions about my drinking and how bad I felt for my parents to put up with all this.

He took psilocybin in 2016. He says he hasn't had a drink since.

Is it worth a few “awful” or perhaps even “terrifying” psychedelic therapy sessions to successfully break an addiction or (permanently) rise above depression/anxiety?

The vast majority of those who have sought such treatments say “yes”. They may not want to have to undergo such therapy again, but they are glad to have done it once.

Ordinarily, we might have expected the medical Establishment to drag their heels on such research (and the regulatory changes that are also needed).

But this is a crisis.

Roughly 20% of the global population suffer from either depression, anxiety or some substance abuse issue. The potential economic cost of this problem (over just the next decade) is $16 trillion.

We see some recognition of these realities already on the regulatory front. The FDA has granted “breakthrough therapy designation” for Compass Pathways’ psilocybin-based research into treatment-resistant depression.

The FDA is fast-tracking this R&D.

When have we ever been able to use the phrase “fast-tracking” in connection with the legal cannabis industry? Never.

The coming Psychedelics Revolution is based upon three fundamental pillars.
  1. A horrific global Mental Health Crisis.
  2. Grossly inadequate existing treatment options.
  3. A potential $16-trillion price tag for failing to deal with this Crisis.

60 Minutes has joined the chorus of voices lobbying for psychedelic drug reform and the advancement of psychedelics-based drug R&D.

It is a clamor that can only get louder and louder and louder.
Strong Medicine (cover) by Gstudio is licensed under Adobe Stock


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