OPEN Foundation

Day: 13 January 2015

Classic psychedelic use is associated with reduced psychological distress and suicidality in the United States adult population

Abstract

Mental health problems are endemic across the globe, and suicide, a strong corollary of poor mental health, is a leading cause of death. Classic psychedelic use may occasion lasting improvements in mental health, but the effects of classic psychedelic use on suicidality are unknown. We evaluated the relationships of classic psychedelic use with psychological distress and suicidality among over 190,000 USA adult respondents pooled from the last five available years of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2008–2012) while controlling for a range of covariates. Lifetime classic psychedelic use was associated with a significantly reduced odds of past month psychological distress (weighted odds ratio (OR)=0.81 (0.72–0.91)), past year suicidal thinking (weighted OR=0.86 (0.78–0.94)), past year suicidal planning (weighted OR=0.71 (0.54–0.94)), and past year suicide attempt (weighted OR=0.64 (0.46–0.89)), whereas lifetime illicit use of other drugs was largely associated with an increased likelihood of these outcomes. These findings indicate that classic psychedelics may hold promise in the prevention of suicide, supporting the view that classic psychedelics’ most highly restricted legal status should be reconsidered to facilitate scientific study, and suggesting that more extensive clinical research with classic psychedelics is warranted.

Hendricks, P. S., Thorne, C. B., Clark, C. B., Coombs, D. W., & Johnson, M. W. (2015). Classic psychedelic use is associated with reduced psychological distress and suicidality in the United States adult population. Journal of Psychopharmacology. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881114565653

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Recreational Use, Analysis and Toxicity of Tryptamines.

Abstract

The definition New psychoactive substances (NPS) refers to emerging drugs whose chemical structures are similar to other psychoactive compounds but not identical, representing a “legal” alternative to internationally controlled drugs. There are many categories of NPS, such as synthetic cannabinoids, synthetic cathinones, phenylethylamines, piperazines, ketamine derivatives and tryptamines. Tryptamines are naturally occurring compounds, which can derive from the amino acid tryptophan by several biosynthetic pathways: their structure is a combination of a benzene ring and a pyrrole ring, with the addition of a 2-carbon side chain. Tryptamines include serotonin and melatonin as well as other compounds known for their hallucinogenic properties, such as psilocybin in ‘Magic mushrooms’ and dimethyltryptamine (DMT) in Ayahuasca brews.

Aim: To review the scientific literature regarding tryptamines and their derivatives, providing a summary of all the available information about the structure of these compounds, their effects in relationship with the routes of administration, their pharmacology and toxicity, including articles reporting cases of death related to intake of these substances.
Methods: A comprehensive review of the published scientific literature was performed, using also non peer-reviewed information sources, such as books, government publications and drug user web fora.
Conclusions: Information from Internet and from published scientific literature, organized in the way we proposed in this review, provides an effective tool for specialists facing the emerging NPS threat to public health and public security, including the personnel working in Emergency Department.

Tittarelli, R., Mannocchi, G., Pantano, F., & Saverio Romolo, F. (2015). Recreational use, analysis and toxicity of tryptamines. Current Neuropharmacology, 13(1), 26-46. https://dx.doi.org/10.2174/1570159X13666141210222409
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Psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence: A proof-of-concept study

Abstract

Several lines of evidence suggest that classic (5HT2A agonist) hallucinogens have clinically relevant effects in alcohol and drug addiction. Although recent studies have investigated the effects of psilocybin in various populations, there have been no studies on the efficacy of psilocybin for alcohol dependence. We conducted a single-group proof-of-concept study to quantify acute effects of psilocybin in alcohol-dependent participants and to provide preliminary outcome and safety data. Ten volunteers with DSM-IV alcohol dependence received orally administered psilocybin in one or two supervised sessions in addition to Motivational Enhancement Therapy and therapy sessions devoted to preparation for and debriefing from the psilocybin sessions. Participants’ responses to psilocybin were qualitatively similar to those described in other populations. Abstinence did not increase significantly in the first 4 weeks of treatment (when participants had not yet received psilocybin), but increased significantly following psilocybin administration (p < 0.05). Gains were largely maintained at follow-up to 36 weeks. The intensity of effects in the first psilocybin session (at week 4) strongly predicted change in drinking during weeks 5–8 (r = 0.76 to r = 0.89) and also predicted decreases in craving and increases in abstinence self-efficacy during week 5. There were no significant treatment-related adverse events. These preliminary findings provide a strong rationale for controlled trials with larger samples to investigate efficacy and mechanisms.

Bogenschutz, M. P., Forcehimes, A. A, Pommy, J. A., Wilcox, C. E., Barbosa, P. C. R., & Strassman, R. J. (2015). Psilocybin-assisted treatment for alcohol dependence: A proof-of-concept study. Journal of Psychopharmacology. https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0269881114565144

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