Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer : a randomized controlled trial
ROSS S., BOSSIS A., GUSS J., AGIN-LIEBES G., MALONE T., COHEN B., MENNENGA S.E., BELSER A., KALLIONTZI K., BABB J., SU Z., CORBY P., SCHMIDT B.L.
Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2016, 30, 12, 1165-1180
DOI: 10.1177/0269881116675512 jop.sagepub.com
Background : Clinically significant anxiety and depression are common in patients with cancer, and are associated with poor psychiatric and medical outcomes. Historical and recent research suggests a role for psilocybin to treat cancer-related anxiety and depression.
Methods : In this double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial, 29 patients with cancer-related anxiety and depression were randomly assigned and received treatment with single-dose psilocybin (0.3 mg/kg) or niacin, both in conjunction with psychotherapy. The primary outcomes were anxiety and depression assessed between groups prior to the crossover at 7 weeks.
Results : Prior to the crossover, psilocybin produced immediate, substantial, and sustained improvements in anxiety and depression and led to decreases in cancer-related demoralization and hopelessness, improved spiritual wellbeing, and increased quality of life. At the 6.5-month followup, psilocybin was associated with enduring anxiolytic and anti-depressant effects (approximately 60–80% of participants continued with clinically significant reductions in depression or anxiety), sustained benefits in existential distress and quality of life, as well as improved attitudes towards death. The psilocybin-induced mystical experience mediated the therapeutic effect of psilocybin on anxiety and depression.
Conclusions : In conjunction with psychotherapy, single moderate-dose psilocybin produced rapid, robust and enduring anxiolytic and anti-depressant effects in patients with cancer-related psychological distress.
Trial Registration : ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00957359
Keywords : Psilocybin, psychedelic, cancer, depression, anxiety, mystical experience0269881116675512(1)