Can Psychedelic Therapy help with addiction?

Did you know that Psychedelic Therapy for addiction was first studied in the early 1950’s?  Shortly after gaining traction, the War on Drugs put these types of studies on the back burner.

In the Twenty-First Century, despite lingering taboos, studying psychedelics for therapeutic purposes has made a resurgence. Countless trials around the world have been focusing on Psychedelic Therapy for addiction and spoiler alert, it works!

In fact, John Hopkins recently received a federal grant to further explore the effects that a certain psychedelic substance has on addiction. This is HUGE!

Keep reading to learn more.

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Here’s what we’ll cover in this article: 

  1. What Are Psychedelics?
  2. Psilocybin and Addiction
  3. LSD and Addiction
  4. The Importance of Setting

psychedelics | The Peaceful Mind Counseling Center

What Are Psychedelics? 

Many people brush off “psychedelics” as a term describing dangerous party drugs for wayward souls. While it is true that psychedelics can be dangerous if used incorrectly, there is more to this story. Psychedelics have been hugely influential in shaping cultures and religions for thousands of years! And now, it may be shaping the way we look at treating mental health disorders and addictions. 

Psychedelics, also known as hallucinogens, are a class of substances that can temporarily change a person’s reality. They can alter mood, senses, perception, and cognitive processes. Some common forms include LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, MDMA, and ketamine. 

In a therapeutic setting, psychedelics (in small quantities) are combined with talk therapy. The heightened state of self-awareness allows individuals to confront underlying emotional and psychological issues that may contribute to their addition. 

There are many psychedelics that have potential to help with addiction, but in this article we are going to focus on LSD and psilocybin. 

psychedelic drug | The Peaceful Mind Counseling Center

LSD And Addiction

LSD is a synthetic drug that operates by altering perception and cognition, which leads to profound shifts in consciousness.

Did you know that approximately 10 years before the psychedelic craze of the 60’s and 70’s, scientists and psychiatrists were studying LSD in relation to addiction therapy? After trying it himself, Psychiatrist Humphrey Osmond set out to prove the benefits of LSD on addiction. He, along with his biochemist colleague, conducted a study of 200 alcohol abusers. They found that 40-45% of participants still had not returned to alcohol a year after their LSD treatment.

More recently, a 2020 study indicated that a small dose of LSD showed similar effects to twenty milligrams of oxycodone, a highly addictive and commonly administered painkiller. What if psychedelic therapy could help the devastating opioid epidemic in the United States? 

Psilocybin And Addiction

Psilocybin is the compound found in magic mushrooms/shrooms. The groundbreaking approach of psilocybin therapy has shown some amazing results in aiding individuals suffering from addiction.

A 201 Yale research study reported that a moderate dose of psilocybin showed the ability to increase the number of neural connections in the brain! And in October of 2023, John Hopkins received a federal grant of $4 million to continue their study of psilocybin and addiction. Still think the use of psychedelics are only for wayward, rebellious young adults?

In 2016, a study was conducted to help lifelong smokers give up nicotine. Up until the trial, nothing had worked for them. After psilocybin therapy, 80% of people gave up smoking! And the results remained at the 12 month check up. How amazing is that? 

Researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine did a study on psilocybin combined with psychotherapy. They found that all participants reduced their alcohol intake by 83%, and 48% gave up drinking altogether. 

These are just a few of the studies that show the groundbreaking effects that psychedelics have on addiction. 

Those who have taken psilocybin have reported profound spiritual experiences due to shifts of consciousness. Because psychedelics typically make a person open, expressive, and euphoric, patients are more likely to communicate openly with their therapist. It has also been theorized that, due to changes in perception, psychedelics allow a person to break harmful thought patterns and see themselves in a new, loving light. 

psilocybin shrooms | The Peaceful Mind Counseling Center

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Where Do Psychedelics Stand Now?

The first legal and licensed psilocybin center in the US opened in Oregon in June 2023. In 2024, the Colorado government will be accepting applications to open some of their own magic mushroom treatment facilities. In Australia, doctors can now prescribe psilocybin to their patients. 

Psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin still face many challenges, including simply being taboo. But, as clinical trials continue, it is likely that more states and countries will legalize psychedelic therapy in the coming years. 

The Importance of Setting

Over the decades, psychedelics have had many different reputations. Many people still fear them and think of them as a dangerous, recreational drug. And this can be true! They can be dangerous; this is why the setting is so important. 

Psychedelics should be taken in a safe, controlled setting with a trained professional. It is also extremely important to get the dosage right, hence needing the trained professional. 

When taken in combination with therapy, it can result in an optimal, breakthrough therapy experience. It can give the patient the ability to feel comfortable, open, loving, and safe enough to talk about difficult topics. It can also help a person have a brand new outlook on life and self.

therapist and patient | The Peaceful Mind Counseling Center

Final Thoughts on Psychedelic Therapy for Addiction

In the realm of addiction recovery, the traditional treatment route typically involves talk therapy and support groups. The therapeutic potential of Psychedelic Therapy lies in deep introspection, leading individuals to confront unresolved traumas and emotional struggles that fuel addiction. It can also help to break very harmful patterns of thought and beliefs. 

Amazing treatment results have come forth, and psilocybin is the shining star of this new wave. Small to moderate doses of psychedelics alter the consciousness and cognitive process just enough to give many people a truly life changing experience. How amazing would it be if addiction could be cured through a natural occurring substance like psilocybin?  

If you are struggling with any type of addiction, know that there is hope. Please contact us today to start your journey towards healing. 

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We do not currently offer psychedelic therapy, but we are hopeful that we will be able to in the future. Click here to be contacted once it becomes available!