Scientists are beginning to understand the effects of psilocybin mushrooms on bipolar disorder

Scientists are beginning to understand the effects of psilocybin mushrooms on bipolar disorder ...

The first study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology to investigate the psychological effects of psilocybin among bipolar individuals suggests that the experience is beneficial. However, many others experience unpleasant symptoms as a result of the consumption of the primary psychoactive component of psychedelic "magic mushrooms."

Psilocybin-assisted depression treatment is gaining momentum thanks to solid research findings over the last decade. Using certain psychedelic compounds in a controlled environment can improve mental health outcomes for individuals with various mental illnesses, although it is unclear whether psilocybin holds any promise for bipolar disorder.

Emma Morton, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of British Columbia and member of the Translational Psychedelics Research Program, has had a long history of use in indigenous medicines and customs. Despite some early evidence of their therapeutic potential, legislative obstacles have hindered research for many decades.

"Psilocybin is now being used in exciting new research, where some studies have shown it may improve mood symptoms, which is of great interest for bipolar disorders research, as depressive symptoms can be particularly harmful to people with bipolar disorder."

Morton explained that before we start clinical studies to assess whether or not psilocybin is safe for bipolar patients, we must first determine whether or not it is safe for them to use. Certain medications with a similar neurobiological mechanism of action may trigger manic episodes. That's why we reached out to community members to ask them about their experiences.

Researchers used a blog post on the CREST.BD website and social media ads to recruit a sample of 541 individuals who were at least 18 years old, had a self-reported bipolar disorder diagnosis, and had used psilocybin to complete a "complete psychedelic trip." Bipolar disorder II is characterized by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes. Most participants (56.6%) indicated that they were taking psychiatric medications at the time of ps

The most commonly cited reason for using psilocybin was to aid personal development, followed by to have fun. The least commonly cited reason for using psilocybin was escapism (to avoid pain or discomfort). The participants rated the harmfulness of their psilocybin experience as 1.6 on average. The perceived helpfulness of their psilocybin experience as 4.

However, 32.2% of participants reported experiencing adverse or undesirable results during or during the 14 days following a psilocybin visit. The most common side effect was the development of new or increasing manic symptoms. Eighteen people reported the use of emergency services during or during a psilocybin visit.

In terms of age, gender, diagnostic subtype, psychotic spectrum diagnoses, number of lifetime psychiatric hospitalizations, number of lifetime psilocybin trips, and adherence to prescribed psychiatric medication, individuals who reported negative results did not differ from individuals who did not experience side effects.

Morton said of the study that "unfortunately, we are not yet at a point where physicians may prescribe psilocybin for their patients," and that in many regions it remains classified as an illegal substance. "Using this medicine may be hazardous," according to the person."

More research (in the form of clinical trials) is required for psilocybin to reach a regulatory approval threshold for clinical use with bipolar disordered individuals. We have just started the first clinical study investigating the safety and feasibility of psilocybin for treating bipolar disorders in people.

If you answered this question open-ended, you replied: "Is there anything else you'd like us to know about your experiences with using psilocybin/hallucinogenic'magic' mushrooms?" Some 60% of participants agreed to this last point.

Morton explained that as part of our survey, people were permitted to leave comments on anything they thought might be relevant for our research. "Despite the fact that many people experienced negative or undesirable effects of psilocybin use, we were surprised by how many people commented on the beneficial effects that psilocybin had on their mental health, personal development, or spiritual growth."

"Many people described "mixed experiences," where psilocybin use had both positive and negative effects. For example, someone might have experienced an intense and sometimes debilitating psilocybin withdrawal but still felt relief for their mental health afterward."

Nonetheless, the research, as with all research, contains several limitations.

Morton said of the survey: “Our team conducted follow-up interviews with a small group of people to investigate the negative results.”

Semi-structured interviews with 15 participants on the subjective effects of the psychedelic substance were conducted in the follow-up study, which has been published in PLOS One.

Morton said that "cognitive variables, such as dosage, setting, usage of other substances, or previous sleep disorders, may have played a role in whether or not individuals experienced positive or negative outcomes." "This finding underscores how important it is to conduct additional study under controlled conditions to be more confident about the possible hazards and benefits of psilocybin use for bipolar disorder."

Morton said that due to its legal status, research into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin was limited. "We therefore relied on requesting the general public to express their opinions about using psilocybin."

"To do this, we partnered with CREST.BD, a collaborative research network that has a history of working hand in hand with people with bipolar disorder." People with lived experience of bipolar disorder assisted in the design of our survey, the interpretation, and publication of findings, as well as webinars to share the findings with the general public.

Emma Morton, Kimberly Sakai, Amir Ashtari, Mollie Pleet, Erin E Michalak, and Josh Woolley contributed to a global web-based research on'magic mushroom' consumption.

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