7 Diseases That Can Be Treated with Medical Marijuana

Over the past four decades, treating diseases with medical marijuana has been on the rise. The credibility of cannabis has grown in the medical community as a possible solution to treat chronic conditions and diseases. While marijuana hasn’t demonstrated that it is the ultimate solution or cure to end a disease in general, it can help soothe the effects of chronic diseases, inhibit diseases from developing at a rapid pace and possibly become a replacement for opioids to handle emotional and physical pain.

This is how marijuana positively contributes to the following seven diseases:

1. Depression

A study from the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions tested how marijuana affected chronic stress in rats and used this information to coincide with equivalent human responses. In this experiment, researchers found that when the rats were bound by rodent restraints for long periods of time — a source of chronic stress —  the production of their brain’s endocannabinoids rapidly decreased. In regards to human beings in long-term stressful situations, these receptors influence how well a person can process thoughts, gauge emotions and behave, and they even can impact a person’s cognitive ability to handle pain and anxiety. When there is a lack of endocannabinoid production in the brain, an individual is at risk of developing depression. Marijuana can play a role in restoring cannabinoids such as tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol in the endocannabinoid system, and helping ease the depressing.

2. Anxiety

Like depression, anxiety reduces the endocannabinoid production in the brain and inhibits an individual’s ability to cope with pain and stress. However, the use of marijuana to treat anxiety can go either way: It can either deplete anxiety or increase it. While marijuana is meant to bring a person into a tranquil state, some individuals possess a brain chemistry that simply does not react well with the plant’s chemicals. In other cases, marijuana has been able to prevent unwanted anxiety attacks, stimulate a calmer “fight-or-flight response” to stress and all-together provide the user with a “high” that releases any tension in the body.

3. Epilepsy

Given that epilepsy is a cause of seizures (also known as “electrical storms”), medical scientists have created a specific CBD formula that is proven safe for individuals to use because it possessed little to no effect on the sensitive psychoactivity of epilepsy patients. Some of the first tests with marijuana, such as a 2015 test at the NYU Langone Medical Center, actually demonstrated that it had the ability to suppress seizures. Because of this, researchers and developers have been able to manipulate marijuana compounds to tailor to an individual’s epileptic condition, keeping in mind that this disease affects multiple people differently.

4. Alzheimer’s

Marijuana diminishes the intensity of hallucinations, improves poor sleeping habits and stops aggressive outbursts suffered by individuals with Alzheimer’s. The main source of Alzheimer’s is its rapid production of beta-amyloid proteins, which cause plaques to develop in the brain and dangerously reduce the necessary peptides in amino acids that enable one to properly function. Most importantly, marijuana can slow this build-up of proteins to prevent existing Alzheimer’s from deteriorating an individual’s brain.

5. HIV/AIDS

 The HIV virus weakens the immune system, but marijuana softens the impact of disorienting and uncomfortable symptoms of a weak immune system, such as nausea, muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, severe headaches and fevers. Furthermore, in this particular study from Spain in 2008, marijuana was proven to prevent chemical reactions in the body that create HIV compounds.

6. Cancer

While marijuana does not fundamentally cure cancer or diminish its symptoms, it is able to reduce the discomfort in certain treatments that many cancer patients undergo. Cancer patients who use medical marijuana endure a lessened amount of inevitable nausea and vomiting caused by their chemotherapy treatments. Furthermore, cannabinoids improve appetite and can ease the neuropathic pain that is a result of severe nerve damage caused by chemotherapy.

7. Drug Addiction

Though it seems counter-intuitive, recovering addicts can use medical marijuana to reverse the effects of opioid addiction, decrease unwanted drug cravings and even diminish the emotional and physical symptoms of addiction. This is due to the chemical compounds of cannabidiol, which binds to brain receptors that induce a safer “high” and counteract impairments and mental damage caused by long-term drug abuse. Lastly, marijuana can even replace addictive painkillers since it targets the same nerve receptors as opioids without putting the user at risk for chronic addiction.

TELL US, what diseases do you treat with cannabis?

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Alleviating Anxiety & Depression with Cannabis

Feeling anxious or depressed? You’re not alone. Anxiety and depression are two of the more common issues we hear about at the dispensary where I work, especially around the holidays. As a patient consultant and educator, I see hundreds of patients a week and help them find relief with cannabis. Here are some of the successful medicating strategies I’ve learned:

There is no standard dosing that fits everyone.

Much comes into play when you’re looking at the right amount of cannabinoids for an individual — personal metabolism, genetics, hormone levels, how much you’ve eaten, and how you feel that day in general.

THC in lower doses soothes both anxiety and depression.

Some patients get nervous about trying THC, but starting with a small amount and working up to the desired goal can be a way to avoid unwanted effects. A small puff of sativa lifts a mood and motivates without causing anxiety and a very low-dose Sativa edible or sublingual preparation can create the same effect.

CBD is an excellent solution for treating depression and anxiety.

High-CBD flowers, edibles and sublinguals are available in many different ratios. I explain to patients that cannabidiol is about homeostasis rather than euphoria. CBD generally takes people to a base level where they can be functional and calm without the grogginess of benzodiazepines. Experimentation with various ratios is essential, as we all metabolize cannabinoids differently. More balanced ratios (1:1-1:4) often are helpful for depression while larger ratios (18:1 and higher) are exceptionally useful for anxiety and anxiety-causing disorders such as OCD. As with THC, microdosing is key — the goal is to find the optimal amount for balance and relief in the body. It’s important to note that large amounts of high-ratio CBD can act as a depressant.

Strain selection is important for appropriate therapy.

Different strains contain specific terpene profiles that influence effects. Sativas are uplifting and for overcoming a depressive episode. Some strains can exacerbate anxiety — another reason microdosing is the best approach to successful medicating. Hybrids are effective for both depression and anxiety.  They can range from calming and functional to uplifting and creative. Be aware of strains that cause negative effects for you personally and look out for those genetics in new strains you try. Indicas can be helpful for anxiety, but be careful when you’re dealing with depression as they can exacerbate mood, making it harder to get out of bed or leave the house if there is too much sedation.

PHOTO Gracie Malley

All plants, including cannabis, have naturally-occurring terpene molecules, which create the unique scents of strains and display specific effects in the body.

Terpenes that alleviate depression are beta caryophyllene (β-caryophyllene) and limonene. Beta caryophyllene, one of the more common terpenes found in cannabis, can be found in hops and black pepper and is known to have more stimulating effects. Limonene, more often found in sativa-dominant strains, is also found in citrus and has uplifting antidepressant properties. Terpenes that help anxiety are linalool and myrcene (β-myrcene). Linalool, primarily in indica-dominant strains, has anti-anxiety properties and is found in lavender. Myrcene, another common terpene found in cannabis that is also in mangoes. Note that both terpenes have sedating properties not ideal for treating depression.

Mode of medication is important.

Smoking/vaporizing cannabis metabolizes differently in the body than consuming edibles. When smoking or vaporizing dried flowers the effects are felt almost immediately, including the therapeutic effects of the flower’s terpenes. Edibles are great for microdosing and have a longer therapeutic effect. Higher dosages of edibles can be problematic — the way we metabolize them produces a drowsier feeling towards the end of the experience whether they be sativa or indica which is undesirable in cases of depression. They can also create a next-day “stoned-over” effect, which can make motivation difficult.

It’s amazing to have patients come in to say they’ve been able to stop taking Xanax, Ativan, etc. These drugs are debilitating, addictive and make it hard to have a functional and productive lifestyle. As cannabis use evolves and becomes normalized, people are discovering they can take control of their depression and anxiety on their own terms using natural medicine that lacks the side effects of pharmaceuticals.

This article was originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

TELL US, have you used cannabis to treat your depression or anxiety? What were the results?

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Michael Pollan & The Landscape of the Mind

Michael Pollan is best known for his groundbreaking, best-selling books on food — which collectively have helped spark a revolution in the way we think about what we eat and where it comes from — but he also has a longstanding interest in cannabis. As far back as 1995, he traveled to the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam for a New York Times Magazine cover story on the growers and breeders behind the world’s highest-potency strains, a group of illicit horticulturalists he called “the best gardeners of my generation.”

“I had come to Amsterdam to meet some of these gardeners and learn how, in little more than a decade, marijuana growing in America had evolved from a hobby of aging hippies into a burgeoning high-tech industry,” he wrote. “Fewer than 20 years ago, virtually all the marijuana consumed in America was imported. ‘Home grown’ was a term of opprobrium — ‘something you only smoked in an emergency,’ as one grower old enough to remember put it. Today… American marijuana cultivation has developed to the point where the potency, quality and consistency of the domestic product are considered as good as, if not better than, any in the world.”

At the time, such high praise from one of the world’s leading journalists was virtually unheard of in the world of cannabis. In the article, Pollan even admitted to making his own furtive attempt to grow cannabis back in the 1980s, which he dubbed “a fiasco.” Later, he included cannabis as one of four species profiled in “The Botany of Desire,” his best-selling book that took a “plant’s eye view of the world.”

And now Pollan has gone a significant step further into the study of psychoactivity with his latest book, “How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us about Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence.” Pollan defines psychedelics as substances that not only affect the mind (like cannabis), but are fully “mind manifesting,” noting the term itself was coined in 1956 by Humphry Osmond “to describe drugs like LSD and psilocybin that produce radical changes in consciousness.”

At a stop on his national tour to promote the book, he sat down for an interview that touched on everything from DMT extracted from toads and the brain’s “default mode network,” to the benefits of dissolving your ego and Pollan’s personal experiences taking various psychedelics with a series of underground guides.

Cannabis Now: You write about the ineffable nature of psychedelics, meaning the experience of taking them is difficult or impossible to describe in words. Given that challenge, I love your description of tripping as being like “shaking the snow globe” of the mind. But what does that mean exactly?

Michael Pollan: The snow globe metaphor comes from Robin Carhart-Harris, one of the leading neuroscientists studying psychedelics today, and the researcher who’s probably done the most analytical work to try to understand how psychedelics affect us and why they might be therapeutic. He’s even been using MRIs and other brain imaging tools to see what happens neurologically during a psychedelic trip. Just imagine being injected with psilocybin [the active compound in “magic” mushrooms] or LSD and then sliding into an MRI. That sounds like a recipe for disaster, so these are volunteers to whom we should all be grateful.

Anyway, what the researchers discovered really surprised them. Turns out one particular brain network called the default mode network was downregulated (i.e. suppressed) during the psychedelic experience.

What does that system do? And why might disrupting it prove beneficial?

The default mode network is a network of brain structures that are tightly linked, so they communicate a lot with each other. And what they do is connect structures in the cortex — the most evolutionarily recent part of the brain, where executive function takes place — to much older and deeper structures involved in memory and emotion. So this is a very important transit hub.

The brain has a hierarchical structure, and the default mode network kind of rides over the whole thing. It’s involved with self-reflection and self-criticism. It’s where our minds go to wander when we’re not doing something. It’s where we get our ability to think about the future or the past. And finally, it’s involved in what’s called “the autobiographical self” — a function of the brain that integrates all of your experiences into the story of your life and keeps that story going. Because without that story, you don’t really exist as an independent self.

Michael Pollan Illustration Cannabis Now

Illustration Ryan Garcia for Cannabis Now

If the ego had an address, it would be the default mode network. So how interesting that when psychedelics temporarily put that network offline, people report “melting away” with no sense of self.

Now, why dissolving one’s ego might be helpful — that’s a whole other discussion. For starters, it’s possible that having a hyperactive default mode network could be responsible for various kinds of mental illness, especially those that involve obsessive rumination and getting stuck on really destructive stories about yourself. For instance: “I can’t get through the next hour without a cigarette.” Or: “I’m unworthy of love.”

That kind of rigidity of thinking is characteristic of anxiety, depression and addiction, which happen to be the three indications which, so far, psychedelics have proven the most valuable in treating.

What about the risks?

Psychedelics are not addictive or drugs of abuse. If you give rats a lever that dispenses cocaine, they’ll press it until they die, but give them the same lever with LSD and they’ll pull it once and never again. So the risks are largely psychological — and there are people who have psychotic episodes triggered by psychedelics, especially people at risk for schizophrenia.

Before moving forward with my own psychedelic experiences, I actually went to my cardiologist and told him what I was planning, and the only psychedelic he warned me off of was MDMA (ecstasy). He basically greenlighted the others, so off I went, on a series of really interesting journeys, all but one of which were guided by trained underground therapists.

Ideally, I would have participated in one of the fully legal clinical trials currently underway, but I didn’t qualify for any of them and perhaps they didn’t want a journalist hanging around anyway. So I took psilocybin from psychedelic mushrooms, LSD, 5-MeO-DMT from dried toad venom and ayahuasca. They were all very interesting experiences that taught me important things about myself and allowed for a certain stock-taking of life that I found invaluable.

Why do you think the authorities have been, at least until relatively recently, so hostile to psychedelics and the psychedelic mind state?

When psychedelics arrived in the United States, largely in the 1950s and ’60s, they arrived naked. Which is to say that these incredible molecules showed up, with very powerful properties, and unlike many other cultures which had long traditions of ceremonial and shamanistic use, we didn’t know how to use them. In those other cultures the psychedelic experience was regulated, guided and to some extent controlled by elders with decades of experience, but that’s not what happened here.

And so, while a lot of people had very positive experiences simply taking psychedelics at a concert or during a walk in the woods, some got into trouble. The experience of feeling your ego dissolve can be ecstatic but it can also be terrifying. And if there’s no one there to help you with that, you can get into a very dark place and have a panic reaction.

So that partly explains how the authorities reacted. But another big part of this is that psychedelics became a sacrament for the counterculture. Which was a very positive thing for the counterculture, but not for members of the establishment who were trying to send young men off to Vietnam to fight a war.

Psychedelics therefore became very frightening to the authorities.

Your experiences varied pretty widely, based on the specific psychedelic and set-and-setting. Which did you find most useful?

The most valuable experience was my guided psilocybin trip, where a lot of interesting things happened, but what was perhaps most helpful was having my sense of self dissolve completely. I saw myself blown into the wind like a sheaf of little Post-it notes, and I was fine with it. I had no desire to compile myself back together.

The consciousness that was perceiving this was not my usual consciousness. Aldous Huxley [author of “Brave New World”] would say it was “the mind at large.” And this is what I think has helped terminal cancer patients who’ve been given psychedelics to help deal with end-of-life anxiety. Taping into this kind of universal consciousness that doesn’t have the usual ego defenses attached to it can be incredibly liberating. It also could have been terrifying, but I felt safe and that’s really what’s important about having a guided experience.

You’re going to have to put down all of your mental defenses when taking a high-dose psychedelic trip and if you do that in a situation where don’t feel safe or trust the person that you’re with, it can be terrifying. But I did trust my guide, and so I was able to let go and surrender to the experience.

And the insight I brought away was, “Wow, I’m not identical to my ego.”

Ego is really important. Ego gets the book written, but it also gets in our way, and walls us off from other people and from strong emotions. I think ego consciousness is at the root of tribalism and the environmental crisis, because it separates us from nature. So to find out there’s another ground on which to stand, for me that was a real epiphany. I could have gotten there probably via 20 or 30 years of psychoanalysis, but I got there in an afternoon and that’s the power of psychedelics when used in the right context.

Then, after the experience comes the most important part, which we don’t talk about enough because we tend to focus on the trip itself. But if you’re engaged in therapist-assisted psychedelic therapy, as I was, there’s a formal session where you share your experience with the therapist and attempt to integrate it into the rest of your “normal” life.

When I reported my surprise at finding that I’m not the same as my ego, and how liberating that felt, the therapist said, “Well, that’s really worth the price of admission isn’t it? You’ve had a taste of another way to be and now you can cultivate that feeling and exercise that new muscle.”

TELL US, do you see a medical value in psychedelics?

Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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When Your Partner Doesn’t Smoke…

For a true cannabis connoisseur, almost nothing sounds better than having a loving partner who you can share your most favorite thing with. Aside from always having a go-to person for a smoke sesh, the two of you get to compare notes about your favorite strains, geek out over new infused products and never have to worry about the other person judging you for doing something you enjoy. But, sometimes it doesn’t always work out that way. The way life works out, you may find yourself involved with someone who is anywhere from casually uninterested in cannabis to deeply critical about its use.

Kristen Bell recently made headlines when she admitted that she regularly smokes in front of her husband, Dax Shepard, who prefers not to partake for personal reasons. Luckily for the two of them, it’s a non-issue but for other couples, it can definitely create some friction unless you have some tips for keeping communication around it open and honest. It can be more than a bummer when your special person is weird or judgmental about smoking cannabis or eating edibles — it can actually be a deal breaker.

Before it gets that far, though, there are some things you can do to ease any potential tension. Educating your partner about cannabis is one of the most important things you can do. So many people misunderstand how useful cannabis can be for so many different people for many different reasons. Some people use it to help manage their pain, depression or anxiety while others incorporate it into their yoga practice, wellness routines and diets. Still, there are other people who just like chilling out, being social and enjoying a mental break. All reasons for use are valid and you should feel comfortable expressing where you fall on that spectrum.

You can also set some healthy boundaries that the both of you can work on together. For example, if smoke bothers your partner, you can agree not to smoke directly in front of them and use a vape or enjoy edibles instead. If their shady comments and subtle eyerolls whenever you pull out your paraphernalia for the third time that day get under your skin, talk to them about toning it down. You can also encourage them to do something that helps them unwind and chill out as well. Maybe they can stretch or meditate for 15 minutes while you smoke. Perhaps they can pour themselves a glass of wine and sip at their own leisure. Giving them something to do or an activity to keep them from getting bored while you smoke can help them from feeling like smoking takes away from your time together.

Still, with your best efforts, differences in lifestyle can be too much to handle for some relationships. It’s up to you whether or not you feel like breaking up over your partner’s attitude towards cannabis is worth it or not. On the surface it may seem like it’s just about cannabis but the real issue is whether or not your partner accepts you and your lifestyle as is. It’d be the same if you were vegan, agnostic or into longboarding — if your person can’t respect how you choose to live your life and makes you feel bad about it whether it’s intentional or not, then it’s probably best to part ways.

It’s okay if you have a partner that prefers not to use cannabis but just make sure that they are open to you being yourself, want you to feel comfortable doing something you enjoy and are willing to compromise if necessary.

TELL US, does your partner smoke cannabis?

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Why Marijuana and Yoga Is a Match Made in Nirvana

In a 2001 Time Magazine article, The Power of Yoga, Dr. Timothy McCall, author of Examining Your Doctor: A Patient’s Guide to Avoiding Harmful Medical Care said:

“One lesson of the alternative health-care movement,” McCall warns, “is that the public is not going to wait for doctors to get it together.”

This could not be truer both of marijuana and yoga.

While we have amassed thousands of years of anecdotal evidence of yoga’s benefits, we are only beginning to delve into a scientific basis to justify its legitimacy in Western society. In the same way, we are only beginning to discover the psychological and physiological benefits of marijuana. We waded patiently through tidal waves of trendy prescription drugs, brand name surgeries and expensive specialty doctors. Through it all, people have only become less happy and sicker. Ambivalence in western medicine is becoming clearer and increasingly more people are looking to other sources for answers.

Many have heard that yoga can lower stress levels, increase endurance, flexibility and strength and make a person feel happier day-to-day. However, studies of yoga are now showing that the practice also helps with many of the illnesses in which people use marijuana to medicate.

One study found a yoga series to significantly decrease hand pain and increase hand flexibility and function in osteoarthritis patients. Yoga has been shown to improve bronchial asthmacoronary atherosclerosischronic lower back pain and depression. If you suffer from a condition that is improved with marijuana, chances are yoga would help too. Additionally, yoga has been shown to improve mood, cope with stress and increase extroversion.

Marijuana and yoga can, singularly or in tandem, affect a sense of enhanced body awareness.

You may not have noticed that crick in your neck until you sat down with a vaporizer after a long day, or that deep knot in your back until you were stretching it out on the mat. This also holds true of awareness of your surroundings — how bright a light is, a sensitivity to certain smells. We’re often too busy or too distracted to notice these micro-stressors and consequently, they grate against your subconscious creating an all-too-commonly difficult day.

A blend of cannabis to calm the mind and ease symptoms of illness or unease and yoga to reclaim and reintroduce us to our body can help re-teach us to be aware of ourselves and our environments.

If you need another reason to combine marijuana and yoga, research is finding yoga can significantly improve visual and verbal as well as spatial memory. Since we now understand memory function can be inhibited with moderate to heavy marijuana use (don’t worry it bounces back!) Yoga may help with some of the memory-related side effects of cannabis usage.

TELL US, do you go to a cosmic place when you combine marijuana and yoga?

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FDA Accelerates Psilocybin Research For Major Depressive Disorder

The Food and Drug Administration has designated psilocybin mushrooms as a “Breakthrough Therapy” for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), a move that will accelerate research and review of new medications developed with the hallucinogenic compound. The Breakthrough Therapy classification is designed to speed up the development and approval of new drugs.

The new Breakthrough Therapy designation for MDD, more commonly referred to as depression, was granted to Usona Institute, which recently launched a phase 2 clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of a single oral dose of psilocybin as a treatment for depression. The Usona Institute is a non-profit medical research organization that “conducts and supports pre-clinical and clinical research to further the understanding of the therapeutic effects of psilocybin and other consciousness-expanding medicines.” Usona is currently recruiting volunteers for the clinical trial.

At least 17 million adults in the United States have depression, the leading cause of disability in the nation for those 15-44. Worldwide, it is estimated that more than 300 million people have MDD. Prior research has shown that terminally ill patients who were treated with psilocybin showed a significant decrease in depression and anxiety. A similar study is being conducted in Melbourne, Australia.

“The results from previous studies clearly demonstrate the remarkable potential for psilocybin as a treatment in MDD patients, which Usona is now seeking to confirm in its own clinical trials,” said Charles Raison, MD,  the director of clinical and translational research at Usona, in a press release.

Not the First Time

This is the second time in just over a year that the FDA has designated psilocybin as a Breakthrough Therapy. In October, 2018, the agency granted the designation to COMPASS Pathways for its use of psilocybin as a treatment for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). TRD is defined as symptoms of depression that do not improve with the use of two or more traditional therapies. In October, the University of Texas Science Health Center in Houston (UTHealth) announced that researchers there would be conducting a study on the effectiveness of psilocybin as a treatment for TRD.

“What is truly groundbreaking is FDA’s rightful acknowledgement that MDD, not just the much smaller treatment-resistant depression population, represents an unmet medical need and that the available data suggest that psilocybin may offer a substantial clinical improvement over existing therapies,” said Raison. “Given that there is so much complexity with psilocybin and that Usona is charting new ground, these interactions will ensure that Usona and the FDA are aligned in approaching the development program with acceptable best practices.”

Although psilocybin is listed as a Schedule I controlled substance at the federal level, local jurisdictions have begun to relax the laws prohibiting psychedelic mushrooms. In May, Denver residents voted to approve a measure that effectively decriminalized adult possession of psilocybin mushrooms by making enforcement of laws prohibiting them the city’s lowest law enforcement priority and prohibiting the use of public funds to prosecute offenses. The following month, a similar measure to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms and other entheogenic plants was approved by city leaders in Oakland, California.

The post FDA Accelerates Psilocybin Research For Major Depressive Disorder appeared first on High Times.

University In Houston Testing Psilocybin For Treatment-Resistant Depression

On the heels of its decriminalization in a handful of US cities, psilocybin is being explored by the scientific establishment for evidence of therapeutic effectiveness. Researchers at the University of Texas Science Health Center in Houston (UTHealth) have announced that they are studying psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression.

The study is inspired by past scientific investigations that suggest that psilocybin works to create new mental circuitry. One 2012 study concluded that the substance can enable “a state of unconstrained cognition.” Another study conducted at Johns Hopkins University and published in 2016 found a link between psilocybin use and decreases in depression and anxiety.

“It is a medication that can change or alter perceptions, cognition, thinking, and how minds see the environment,” Sudhakar Selvaraj, MD, PhD, assistant professor at UTHealth, said in a statement. “This therapy, if it works, could help at least a portion of people get relief from their depression and get back to day-to-day life.”

The UTHealth study will rely on a double-blind method, meaning neither patients nor study physicians will know what dosage of psilocybin is taken by study participants. After ingesting 25, ten, or one milligrams of psilocybin, patients will hang out in a comfortable treatment room for eight hours, supervised by therapists.

Before and after they trip, participants will fill out questionnaires regarding their symptoms of depression. They’ll record their mental state again one, three, six, nine, and 12 weeks later.

Sound nice? If you’re between the ages of 18 and 55 and have treatment-resistant depression, you can still apply to be in the study.

Psilocybin and Mental Health

It is thought that psilocybin affects depression by the interaction between a chemical produced by the body upon its ingestion, called psilocin, and the body’s serotonin system.

In recent months, other breakthroughs have taken place in the realm of psilocybin. Last week, Miami University researchers announced that they have discovered a method of producing the compound that relies not on the cultivation of mushrooms, but via splicing their DNA into the E. coli bacteria.

Last year, a team at Johns Hopkins University concluded that mushrooms could actually aid people in quitting cigarettes. That educational institution, led by psychopharmacologist Roland R. Griffiths, has conducted psychedelics research since 2000 and was the first research group to be approved by the US federal government to conduct such tests. Griffith holds that psychedelics can accomplish mental shifts in one session that years of counseling and pharmaceuticals cannot achieve.

The school has since proven to be one of the leaders in the United States when it comes to its commitment to investigating the beneficial effects of hallucinogens. Last month, Johns Hopkins announced the formation of its Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, which will be headed up by Griffiths and which administrators say will prioritize research on how psilocybin affects our bodies and minds.

Happily, these findings are arriving around the same time as a nascent movement to widen access to consciousness-expanding substances. Oakland and Denver both decriminalized magic mushrooms earlier this year, though neither city has gone so far as to legalize their sale.

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CBD strains for Anxiety and Depression

Charlotte’s Web is a cannabidiol (CBD) forward strain that was developed for the purpose of alleviating a young girl’s epilepsy. CBD strains have also been known to relieve anxiety and depression, but only for certain people. Perhaps only benefiting half of a crucial system is the reason. This system helps to regulate your eat, sleep, […]

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