Psychedelic Treatment Study Gets First Federal Grant in 50 Years

Nov, 2021 - By SMI

Psychedelic Treatment Study Gets First Federal Grant in 50 Years

The National Institute of Health (NIH) granted US$4 million to clinical research exploring the impact of psilocybin-supported psychotherapy on tobacco addiction.

Psychedelic studies have been going on for around 20 years and are still funded mostly by non-profit organizations, donors and market players trying to have a share of future multi-billion dollar psychedelic medicine business. John Hopkins Medicine now received a grant of US$4 million from National Institute of Health (NIH) for clinical research to study the potential impact of psilocybin on tobacco. It is the first ever federal funding granted to clinical research that studies therapeutic effects of a classical psychedelic.

The research will be conducted in collaboration of Johns Hopkins Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham and New York University in a three-year multisite clinical trial that will look at the efficiency of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy helping people quit smoking. The scientists on the team have been studying psilocybin and its effects on smoking for over a decade. This new trial will be following the same protocols to other psilocybin-assisted treatment trials, which includes day-long psilocybin sessions into a bigger multi-week protocol that involves number of psychotherapy sessions, even before and after active psychedelic sessions. According to the scientists, modern treatments to stop smoking are effective around only 30% of the time. Therefore, development of better and more efficient treatment is essential and psilocybin-assisted therapy could be the desired treatment.

In an initial pilot study in 2014, psilocybin had shown great potential as a tool for smoking cessation. 80 % of subject were found to be abstinent from smoking after six months of the trial. This study included only 15 participants, therefore trials on bigger scale are needed to get proper data on efficiency of psilocybin. This first ever federal grant will allow scientists to vigorously explore the use of psychedelic treatment.

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