Psilocybin, the psychedelic drug and the effective ingredient in “magic mushrooms”, has the ability to improve mood, decrease anxiety and stress in cancer patients that are terminal, stated by Los Angeles researchers.
One small does of this drug, that had bad press back in the 60’s due to non medical use and moral oversights by researchers. Researchers currently state that this hallucinogen drug does hold the ability for improving patients functioning ability for up to six months which permits them to live out their last days more tranquil.
This research was a pilot study which consisted only of twelve patients, however it is looked at as the very beginning to reinstating the integrity of this drug.
Dr. Stephen Ross, clinical director of the Center of Excellence Addiction at New York’s University’s Langone Medical Center. Dr. Ross was not in any way connected to or took part in this study. Dr. Ross has stated that this is a landmark study in several ways. This is the first time since in forty years a paper such as this one has been published in a distinguished psychiatric journal.
Dr. Ronald Griffiths, Ph.D, and professor of behavioral biology at John Hopkins University, who also took no part in this study, states the research which was done on psychedelic drugs in 50’s and 60’s held promise, but by no designation had it obtained the scientific standards that are expected today.
This new research is just a pilot study and without a doubt needs to be acknowledged initially, however it does show that this type of research can be administered with care and that the doses have relief outcomes.
Both Dr.’s Ross and Griffiths have continuing studies analyzing the use psilocybin in cancer patients, however, recognition needs to go to Dr. Charles Grob, a psychiatrist at Harbor UCLA Medical Center and also the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, for being the first to report these findings.
Dr. Grob and his associates studied twelve patients aged 36 to 58 years old, that had advanced staged cancer and anxiety coming from their diagnoses. Each patient had two sessions, in one session they had received the drug, in the other session they had gotten a placebo of niacin. Niacin brings about a physiological but not a psychological response. Even though the doses administered were obscured patients around 80% of the time could distinguish between the two drugs.
The patients had received the drugs in a hospital research unit and closely observed for six hours. They were advocated to wear shades, listen to music and lay in bed during the sessions.
The patients had received basically low amounts of psilocybin at the amount of 0.2 mg for each kilogram of their body weight. Nevertheless, the research team did report in the Archives of General Psychiatry, that all patients had displayed a noticeable improvement in mood for about two weeks after receiving the psilocybin treatment and up to six months improvement on a scale which measures depression and anxiety. Most of the patients also noted they used less narcotic pain relievers. No negative reactions were seen.
Dr. Grob states that these type of patients usually have poor response to psychological therapy, however his study indicated that the drug holds immense hope for the relief of anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms.
Dr. Ross and Griffith are using psilocybin doses50% greater than those in the study and are getting the same outcomes as stated in interviews. All three of the researchers had to go through immense bureaucratic red tape both on the federal and local regulations in order to obtain approval for the research.
Dr. Griffith states now the issue is obtaining participants due to the fact that the drug has a blemished history which is making a lot of oncologists unenthusiastic to refer volunteers.
All three of the doctors are discouraging cancer patients to use this drug on their own accord. Dr. Griffith states that hallucinogenic drugs are in reality extremely dangerous and when not used under medical conditions persons can have reactions that are fearful, causing panic and can partake in dangerous behavior which could cause harm to themselves. The study does place emphasis on the fact that persons are screened and prepared in ways that can diminish any harmful reactions.
The Department of Justice makes it known that Psilocybin is on the list in the same classification of drugs like LSD and Heroine.
Cancer patients face immense amounts of anxiety, pain and depression over diagnoses of disease along with the symptoms and side effects from treatments such as chemotherapy. Many cancer patients today along with families and nursing staff to to alternative treatments as additional aide.
There are some alternative treatments to help ease this ordeal:
A study from Ferrel-Glick conducted in 1992 had demonstrated that cancer patients who had received thirty minute massages had positive results which included decreased pain and anxiety and elevated moods.
Acupuncture is one of the alternative treatments recommended by the American Cancer Society for the treatment of cancer related symptoms. It has positive results for symptoms including nausea, vomiting and pain.
Chiropractic treatments have been proven to effectively reduce pain and the suffering associated in numerous cancer patients. Chiropractic care is one of the top alternative treatments in cancer pain management.
Aromatherapy is another recommended alternative treatment in aide for cancer patients listed by the National Cancer Institute. There are different theories as to why it works. One is that the receptors of smell in the nose seem to react to the smells of essential oils by transmitting chemical messages by way of the nerve pathways to the brains limbic system that affects moods and emotions.
A few ways it is used can be:
Direct inhaling by use of a room diffuser or placing a few drops in small bowl close by.
Putting a few drops in cold humidifier to project through the air.
Used in aromatherapy massage where the oil is diluted usually with carrier oil since it comes into direct contact with the skin.
Putting the oils in a bath or in lotions.Sources:
National Cancer Institute