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Psychedelics 'faster and more effective' way of treating mental illness

Cover Media logo Cover Media 5 days ago
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Psychedelics provide faster and more effective treatment for mental illness than traditional treatments, new research suggests.

One in five U.S. adults will experience a mental illness in their lifetime, according to the country's National Alliance of Mental Health, with an estimated one in four people in the U.K. experiencing some kind of mental health problem each year.

However, while standard treatments can be slow to work and cause side effects, a Virginia Tech professor has conducted research into long-banned psychedelic drugs in mice - and found long-lasting results from just one dose.


Video: Psychedelics 'faster and more effective' way of treating mental illness (Cover Video)

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Using a process his lab developed in 2015, Chang Lu is helping Virginia Commonwealth University collaborators study the epigenomic effects of psychedelics. Their work looks at molecular changes in animal models, such as the brains of mice, allowing scientists to understand the biological processes at work.

In the joint study, the teams used 2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine, or DOI, a drug similar to LSD, administering it to mice that had been trained to fear certain triggers. Their findings show psychedelic substances like psilocybin, mescaline, LSD, and similar drugs may relieve symptoms of addiction, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The drugs also seemed to work faster and last longer than current medications - and with fewer side effects.

VCU pharmacologist Javier Gonzalez-Maeso said psychedelics have already shown promise in alleviating major depression and anxiety disorders as they "induce profound effects in perception."

Gonzalez-Maeso said research on psychedelics is still in its early stages but it's a promising start that could pave the way for treatment based on safe versions of these substances one day becoming widely available.

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