MDMA(Ecstacy), Psilocybin(Magic Mushrooms), LSD(Acid),  all substances that people have shied away from through fear of brain damage or arrest and conviction, are making big inroads into the mental health treatment arena.

 Today these substances and many others are becoming more acceptable as legitimate protocols for treating a multitude of mental afflictions. There are numerous studies and funded research being undertaken by universities and clinics in many locations around the world.

 Johns Hopkins University has opened a dedicated facility, The Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, to provide solid research and accepted published outcomes.

 “Johns Hopkins is deeply committed to exploring innovative treatments for our patients. Our scientists have shown that psychedelics have real potential as medicine, and this new center will help us explore that potential.”

– Paul B. Rothman, M.D., Dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 

In a 2016 study led by Johns Hopkins University, a high dose of psilocybin produced a substantial decrease in depression and anxiety symptoms among terminal cancer patients that was sustained after a six-month follow-up. The Johns Hopkins researchers found that participants attributed improvements in attitude, mood, relationships, and understanding of spirituality to their dose of psilocybin.

The current focus of study is for PTSD treatment using MDMA and at the time of writing the FDA has approved MDMA at Phase 3 for this protocol at 15 research sites in the USA, Canada, and Israel.

 Psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, is currently being used to treat depression and anxiety in terminally ill patients in a new end of life trial at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital.

 A study from London’s Imperial College in 2017 showed a decrease in depressive symptoms, with treatment-resistant depression after receiving two doses of psilocybin, a micro dose of 10mg followed by a 20mg dose one week apart in addition to therapy. The study also looked at MRI scans of the participants’ brains before and after their doses and found the MRI’s showed decreased blood flow to the amygdala, the processing center of the brain responsible for fear reactions.

Previous studies have also shown that psilocybin decreases activity in the default mode network, which is a network of brain structures associated with recalling memories, daydreaming, and thinking about the future. The DMN is associated with an understanding of the self, in reference to memories as well as the theory of mind, understanding other’s motivations and actions. Patients with depression have shown increased DMN activity, which is associated with depressive rumination.

MAPS – Multi Disciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, has completed the first double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the therapeutic use of LSD in human beings. MAPS completed Phase 2 pilot study in 12 subjects found positive outcomes in the reduction of anxiety after two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions. The results also indicate that LSD-assisted psychotherapy can be safely administered in these subjects, and justify further research.

MAPS is interested in LSD for its potential to assist with a variety of conditions, focusing primarily on the treatment of anxiety associated with a life-threatening illness, as well as for spiritual uses, creativity, and personal growth.

These are very exciting times for this field of research and developing protocols, to help treat many facets of mental afflictions with no addiction or side effects. So many people are searching for better and effective treatments of their daily struggles with anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies and just to improve their quality of life and creativity.

There are many retreats being opened worldwide and offering treatment protocols using substances that have been shunned and vilified by society for generations. The re-discovering of how beneficial and effective these substances are, is truly a breakthrough for people suffering from mental anguish and opens up true healing and a life quality improvement which is severely lacking and usually ineffective, with modern medication treatments.

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