This systematic review (2020) looked at 10 modern studies (n=188) on psychedelics (psilocybin, ayahuasca, LSD) for the treatment of a variety of mental health disorders. The review found the studies to provide evidence for efficacy (up to months later) and safety.
“Objective: To conduct a systematic review of modern-era (post-millennium) clinical studies assessing the therapeutic effects of serotonergic psychedelics drugs for mental health conditions. Although the main focus was on efficacy and safety, study characteristics, duration of antidepressants effects across studies, and the role of the subjective drug experiences were also reviewed and presented.
Method: A systematic literature search (1st Jan 2000 to 1st May 2020) was conducted in Pubmed and Psychinfo for studies of patients undergoing treatment with a serotonergic psychedelic.
Results: Data from 16 papers, representing 10 independent psychedelic-assisted therapy trials (psilocybin=7, ayahuasca = 2, LSD=1) were extracted, presented in figures and tables, and narratively synthesized and discussed. Across these studies, a total of 188 patients suffering either anxiety and/or depressive symptoms associated with cancer (C-RPD), major depressive disorder (MDD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or substance use disorder (SUD) were included. The reviewed studies established feasibility and evidence of safety, alongside promising early data of efficacy in the treatment of depression, anxiety, OCD, and tobacco and alcohol use disorders. For a majority of patients, the therapeutic effects appeared to be long-lasting (weeks-months) after only 1 to 3 treatment session(s). All studies were conducted in line with guidelines for the safe conduct of psychedelic therapy and no severe adverse events were reported.
Conclusion: The resurrection of clinical psychedelic research provides early evidence for treatment efficacy and safety for a range of psychiatric conditions, and constitutes an exciting new treatment avenue in a health area with major unmet needs.”