This narrative review (2020) evaluates the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and MDMA for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety. The review explains the need for effective mental health treatments and highlights the lack of dose-response studies in placebo-controlled settings with a real-world clinical population.
“Introduction: Mental illness has a chronic course of illness with a number of clinical manifestations. Affected individuals experience significant functional, emotional, cognitive and/or behavioral impairments. The growing prevalence of mental illness has been associated with significant social and economic costs. Indeed, the economic burden of mental illness is estimated to exceed $1.8 trillion USD over the next 30 years. A significant number of individuals affected by mental illness fail to respond to first-line treatment options. Therefore, there remains an unmet need for rapidly attenuating therapeutic options for mental health disorders with minimal social and economic burden.
Areas covered: The paucity of novel treatment options warrants a renewed investigation of psychedelic-based psychotherapy. Herein, the authors will evaluate the therapeutic potential of traditional psychedelics, psilocybin and MDMA, in the treatment of mental illness with a narrative review of available literature.
Expert opinion: Psychedelics, such as psilocybin and MDMA, offer an alternative avenue of therapy for many mental health disorders. Available evidence indicates that psychedelics may offer a single-dose, rapid effect model that have robust effects with treatment-resistant mental disorders and a unique advantage as a possible monotherapy for mental illness. Novel clinical trials that evaluate the safety, tolerability and efficacy in clinically representative populations are warranted.”
Authors: Hartej Gill, Barjot Gill, David Chen-Li, Sabine El-Halabi, Nelson B. Rodrigues, Danielle S. Cha, Orly Lipsitz, Yena Lee, Joshua D. Rosenblat, Amna Majeed, Rodrigo B. Mansur, Flora Nasri, Roger Ho & Roger S. McIntyre
Roger S. McIntryre is the CEO of Apotheosis Scientific which is developing psilocybin- and MDMA-related treatments for mental illness.
Joshua D. Rosenblat is the medical director of CRTCE, a private clinic providing intravenous ketamine infusions and intranasal esketamine for depression.