The second phase of an experiment to treat major depressive disorder (MDD) with the psychoactive substance psilocybin has begun in the United States. The first stage, for the sake of which the supervisory authorities violated the regulations and accelerated the approval procedure, ended in complete triumph. The attitude towards psilocybin in medical circles has changed dramatically, and now it is considered as a viable alternative to antidepressants.
Treating severely depressed patients with psilocybin has proven to be very effective, but has generated much controversy, so proponents have been encouraged to focus on MDD. It is an ailment with an extensive list of negative symptoms that affects more than 300 million people worldwide. In many cases, even a double course of treatment with different antidepressants has no effect.
The psilocybin experiment involved 24 patients with a two-year history of the disease, the severity of which on the GRID-Hamilton scale was estimated at an average of 23 points. An indicator of 7 points is assessed as the absence of depression, 24 and above - an extremely severe form of disorder. Patients were given psilobicin injections two weeks apart, plus psychotherapy sessions in between. After a month of testing, 71% of the experimental subjects had a 50% decrease in their depressive symptoms, and their average score dropped to 8 points.
Experts from Johns Hopkins University (USA) assessed the effect of treatment as four times higher than that of classical antidepressants. This is very encouraging, but the experiment did not provide much useful information - therefore, the FDA approved the launch of the second phase, in which seven medical centers and hundreds of patients with depression will participate. Results are expected to arrive by the end of 2021.