The use of psychedelic drugs for therapeutic purposes was largely derailed in the 1960s as many drugs – notably LSD – were adopted by the counter culture and became totemic for a generation encouraged to turn on, tune in and drop out.
But the times, they are a changing and scientists, researchers and doctors are again looking at psychedelics to see what benefits they may have for some patients.
Over a two-year period starting in 2019, a number of Irish people were given a dose of psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms in a HSE community mental health service in Tallaght as part of the Compass Pathway Trial, an international study into the use of psychedelic therapy for people with treatment-resistant depression.
The soon-to-be-published results will show that 37 per cent of participants who received the 25mg dose had a 50 per cent or more decrease in their depressive symptoms.
Patrick Freyne spoke to the researchers involved in the Irish subset of the trial which has been described as “promising”.
He talks to In The News about the trial, what it might mean for future therapies and the sometimes clandestine history of psychedelics over the last 100 years.