A British start up company has hit the headlines for raising $80 million to fund their research into psilocybin based treatment for depression. This is a breakthrough in the use of the magic mushroom extract for therapeutic purposes.
The exploration of psilocybin and other psychedelics for medical treatments began in the late 1950s. Despite positive results, the research was stopped and became illegal in 1966, halting what could have revolutionised mental health treatments. However, in the past decade interest has been reignited. Despite the legal obstacles, a handful of studies have recently been conducted which show great potential.
Compass Pathways— Paving The Way?
Compass Pathways is the tech company that is paving the way, with research into a synthetic form of psilocybin. They aim to combat treatment-resistant depression. Additionally, it is thought that this treatment will aid those with OCD, addiction issues and anorexia, among other conditions.
Compass Pathways are outlining a treatment plan that uses both medicinal and therapeutic aspects.
- The patient meets and talks to a specially trained therapist.
- In a comfortable environment the patient receives a dose of psilocybin. They wear an eye mask and listen to a music playlist especially for them. The therapist remains by their side for the 6-8 hour session.
- Patients discuss the session with the therapist, exploring ideas for positive change in behavioural and emotional habits.
Times Are a-Changin’
In a long overdue turnaround, the U.S Food and Drug Administration (the very same organisation that banned psychedelic research in 1966), granted ‘Breakthrough Therapy’ status to the company. A status granted if
“… preliminary clinical evidence shows that it may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy”
Basically, it has the potential to be a better treatment than what is currently on offer!
A Bright Future…
Another positive sign is, of course, the $80 million dollars the company has managed to raise. This includes funding from the likes of Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel. It is clear that psychedelic research has escaped from the underground, and is on the brink of becoming mainstream!
Compass Pathways hope to have the treatment on the market by 2025. Despite setbacks due to Covid-19, research continues into the treatment that could spell a bright future those living with depression.