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Promising Psychedelic Therapy for Smoking Cessation

A new study on psychedelic therapy offers promise for the cessation of smoking. It suggests psilocybin therapy to show benefits for smokers to quit smoking. The recent wave of psychedelic therapy research has taken the hold, with several clinical studies in different academic institutes in the United States. Some of these experimental psilocybin therapies have received “breakthrough therapy” designations from the FDA which speed up their progress towards future market approval.

These experimental studies on psilocybin and therapeutic research on LSD and other psilocybin drugs aren’t unfamiliar. Researchers have been investigating them since the 1950s. Researchers have found that these are the potential medication for cancer-related anxiety, alcohol addiction, depression, and other common psychological ailments.

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Then the resulting widespread use and misuse of psychedelics eventually generated a backlash due to which the federal government criminalized these substances and several ongoing studies on psychedelics potential benefits were halted. An associate professor of psychiatry and lead investigator in psilocybin study, Matthew Johnson said that all of the previous legitimate research was stopped due to the association of psychedelics and counterculture.

Fortunately this new wave, clinical trials are also conducted in Baltimore at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The promise of freedom from cigarettes was the reason which compelled people to get enrolled in this experimental study.

Although these experimental studies are legal, the federal government has not provided any financial grant for psychedelic research. The researchers are relying on private organizations for funds. The study at Johns Hopkins is supported by the non- profit institute, Heffter Research Institute. 

Johnson said that they are hopeful and they will keep sending the funding applications but so far, the National Institute of Health has not granted any funding for psilocybin therapeutic research.

A psychiatrist at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, Dr. Charles Grob studied the psychedelics therapeutic potentials since the 1980s. His four-year-long pilot study of psilocybin therapies was one of the first studies which led the basis for this new era of psychedelic-based research. He said that his colleague from the health fields slowly but surely has started to admit the unique and very positive effects of these treatment models.

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The study results proved that these psychedelics drugs are not physically addictive and showed a safe profile on proper administration in healthy patients. But researchers also caution the abuse of psychedelics. Johnson said that they are not encouraging people to take psychedelics on their own, without the recommendation of the doctor. There are some risk factors and researchers also found a way to address those factors in their studies.

A study published in 2018 by Johnson and his team shows the harmful effects of psilocybin on individuals with a predisposition to psychosis. So the participants of the study undergo very long days of screening before participating in the clinical trials. Healthy individuals who were able to undergo the trials were not handed long term prescriptions as compared to other smoking quitting therapies, like Chantix.

You can find the study in 2018 by Johnson and his team at The abuse potential of medical psilocybin according to the 8 factors of the Controlled Substances Act

The outcome of several studies has given evidence that so far shows the success of psilocybin which will help researchers in exploring and learning more about it.



About the author

Areeba Hussain

Graduated in Medical Microbiology, Areeba is working as a full-time medical writer for the last few years. She enjoys summarizing the latest researches into readable news to convey the recent advancements in medicine and human health.

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