camh to study impact of magic mushrooms on depression scaled
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CAMH to study impact of “magic mushrooms” on depression

Canada has awarded its first grant to study how psilocybin can help those suffering from treatment-resistant depression.

More specifically, the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health will investigate whether its psychedelic effects are necessary.

“Previous clinical trials have reported large and sustained antidepressant effects when combined with intensive psychotherapy,” said Head of the CAMH’s Clinical Trials Unit, Doctor Ishrat Husain. “If this study shows that psilocybin is still effective at treating depression without a psychedelic state, it could remove the time-intensive and costly need for psychological support during the treatment.”

Husain hopes it will also make the treatment more accessible for those seeking help and healthcare funders.

Researchers will follow 60 adults with treatment-resistant depression over three years.

A third of the participants will get a dose of psilocybin and a blocker for the 5-HT2A serotonin brain receptor. That will inhibit the drug’s psychedelic effect.

Another group will get psilocybin and a placebo, while the final group will receive the placebo and the serotonin blocker.

Each participant will also undergo 12 hours of psychotherapy.

Those interested in participating should talk to their healthcare provider about a referral to CAMH for an assessment.

The results could lead to future research validating the potential treatment.

CAMH researchers have studied psilocybin before. It was the only Canadian site for the world’s largest trial to date of the drug in mental health.

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