Psychedelic benefits after single dose may persist for years

It's no secret that psychedelics have helped many people who suffer from depression and anxiety, though the substances aren't without risk. The promising benefits have paved the way for renewed research into psychedelics and the ways they may help people who haven't responded well to other, more traditional treatments. The latest research on this topic has found that benefits from a single dose may persist for many years.

The details come from a new study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. Researchers with New York University Grossman School of Medicine followed up on their groundbreaking study from 2016 to find that cancer patients who had been given a single dose of the psychedelic compound psilocybin were still experiencing the benefits around half a decade later.

For those who missed it the first time around, the 2016 study looked into the effects of psilocybin combined with psychotherapy in cancer patients. It was found that for most patients, the single-dose treatment had resulted in persistent reductions in depression and anxiety, as well as things like existential distress associated with having cancer.

In a follow-up study published today, the team details the results in a 'subset of participants' from the 2016 study. After 4.5 years, the researchers found that between 60-percent and 80-percent of the study participants still experienced 'clinically significant' reductions in anxiety and/or depression after that single dose.

As well, more than 71-percent of the participants said they had experienced 'positive life changes' as a result of the single treatment, saying it was 'among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant' things they had ever experienced. The findings indicate that psychedelics combined with therapy may be an effective tool at helping cancer patients deal with the depression and anxiety they may experience related to their condition.