Fri, 21 Feb 2020

Washington D.C. [USA], Jan 25 (ANI): The debate around the effects of getting high is soon going to be the centre of a new mini-series which will deal with the case of psychedelics influencing one's mind, while scientists are also getting inclined towards a positive role of psychedelics.

According to a CNN report, Gwyneth Paltrow's new Netflix mini-series 'The Goop Lab' deals with the case of how psychedelics can influence one's mind. To gain information for their first episode, Paltrow sent a troupe to Jamaica to test magic mushrooms under the immense guidance of psychotherapists.

A young traumatized woman post her father's suicide openly shared that she went through years of therapy in about five hours.

The scientists are getting inclined towards a positive role of psychedelics on our psyche.

Despite being illegal, the substance has been the major focus of research for the past decade. The results have even convinced the governments around the world to allow more research on the topic.

Scientists have delved into finding the effect of hallucinogens on treatment-resistant depression, addictions, cancer-related anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even anorexia.

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies or MAPS in 2008 received FDA approval to study LSD-assisted psychotherapy on end-of-life anxiety. The study found 'positive trends' in the reduction of anxiety after two sessions of LSD administered under the guidance of a psychotherapist.

Fears of any permanent damage from psychedelics were eased by a large 2015 study of 130,000 American adults, comparing users to non-users. The study found no link between the use of LSD, psilocybin or mescaline and suicidal behavior or mental health problems.

Studies also show that a minority of people experience 'bad trips' fueling speculation that the chance of negative experiences may differ depending on the type of hallucinogenic, the dose, even the type of mental disorder.

In addition, people who have used anti-depressants for a long time fail to respond well to some psychedelics, leading to concern about their use in chronic anti-depressant users.

To avoid negative experiences, MAPS and other organizations say having trained therapists on hand to guide one through the experience, along with a supportive setting, appropriate expectations and proper dosage is the key to get proper results.

The dosage has become a focus of interest. "Micro-doses' of shrooms and other psychedelics is a recent trend; users claim tiny, daily doses can improve mood and concentration without the commitment to an hours-long high. Research on micro-dosing is in the early stages.

MAPS is in the final phase of a gold-standard study administering MDMA [Ecstasy] to 300 people with severe PTSD from any cause. Results of the second phase showed 68% of the people no longer met the criteria for PTSD at a 12-month follow-up; before the study, they had suffered from treatment-resistant PTSD for an average of 17.8 years.

The results are so positive that in January the FDA declared MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD a 'Breakthrough Therapy'. MAPS hopes to turn the therapy into an FDA-approved prescription treatment by the end of 2021 to treat sexual assault, war, violent crime, and other traumas.

"We also sponsored completed studies of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for autistic adults with social anxiety, and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for anxiety related to life-threatening illnesses," the group says.

Ayahuasca has been shown to significantly improve depression and appears to be helpful in treating alcohol, tobacco and cocaine addiction.

LSD has been shown to help anxiety, and studies find it provides a "blissful state" for the majority of users. Study participants report greater perceptiveness, insight, feelings of closeness to others, happiness, and openness. Some even say they experience long-term, positive restructuring of their moods and attitudes.

But some studies have found unpleasant effects from LSD, both during the high and after. People with negative reactions can have difficulty concentrating, dizziness, lack of appetite, dry mouth, nausea and/or imbalance for up to 10 to 14 hours after taking LSD; headaches and exhaustion can last up to 72 hours.

In the end, it's too early for science to provide psychedelics a full seal of approval. One of the caveats of this research is that the drugs are administered with psychological support. When that is removed, studies found the benefits were minimal, and in rare cases, may even worsen mental health symptoms. (ANI)

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