This meta-analysis (2020) reported favorably on four trials (n=117) that studied the effect of psilocybin-assisted therapy for anxiety and depression.
“The current meta-analysis examined the effects of psilocybin in combination with behavioral interventions on anxiety and depression in samples with elevated symptoms. Across four studies (one uncontrolled; three randomized, placebo-controlled; N = 117), within-group pre-post and pre-follow-up effects on anxiety and depression were large (Hedges’ gs=1.16 to 1.47) and statistically significant. Across three placebo-controlled studies, pre-post placebo-controlled effects were also large (gs = 0.82 to 0.83) and statistically significant. No serious adverse events were reported. Limitations include the small number of studies and risk for bias within studies. Results tentatively support future research on psilocybin for the treatment of anxiety and depression.“
Authors: Simon B. Goldberg, Brian T. Pace, Christopher R. Nicholas, Charles L. Raison & Paul R. Hutsong
“The current meta-analysis evaluated effects of psilocybin coupled with supportive behavioral interventions on anxiety and depression. Although a small number of studies were included, available data were promising. Within-group effects at post-treatment and six-month follow-up showed large reductions in anxiety and depression symptoms with no evidence of publication bias.”
“Additional large-scale studies examining the effects of psilocybin on treatment-resistant depression may be warranted, as only one of the four studies focused on this population. It may be valuable to evaluate various behavioral interventions to support or extend benefits of psilocybin treatments.”
The study didn’t get financial support directly, but two authors are affiliated with Usona Institute.
The studies included in the meta-analysis were:
- Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: a randomized double-blind trial (Griffiths et al., 2016)
- Pilot study of psilocybin treatment for anxiety in patients with advanced-stage cancer (Grob et al., 2011)
- Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study (Carhart-Harris et al., 2016)
- Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: six-month follow-up (Carhart-Harris et al., 2018)
- Rapid and sustained symptom reduction following psilocybin treatment for anxiety and depression in patients with life-threatening cancer: a randomized controlled trial (Ross et al., 2016)