A UK company studying the active ingredient found in magic mushrooms just got their research fast tracked by the Food and Drug Administration.
In what is being described as a landmark moment for the field of psychedelic research, the FDA has granted COMPASS Pathways a "breakthrough therapy designation" for their trials into psilocybin as a treatment for depression. This designation essentially means the FDA will fast track their research because they believe "the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy."
Past research on the effectiveness of psilocybin in treating depression in end-of-life cancer patients has had encouraging results and Compass hopes to prove psilocybin has wider application for the general public. They will be recruiting 216 participants for their upcoming study of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression—nearly ten times as many as the only other study focusing on psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression in non-end-of-life patients.
Assuming all goes well with Compass' trial, Rick Doblin, founder of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), says both psilocybin and MDMA—which has also shown similar success in battling PTSD—could be legal for clinical use by 2021.
To clarify, this doesn't mean you would be able to get a prescription for magic mushrooms from your doctor. Instead, psilocybin would be administered by a therapist for the purpose of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. This means the patient takes the drug under the supervision of a trained therapist, or therapy team, that would help guide them through the trip and help them process their experiences afterwards.
Compass' trail will likely have wider implications for psychedelic research, too, making it easier for other studies to get FDA approval. This loosening of psychedelic research could lead to novel solutions for not just treatment-resistant depression but also addictions and other mental illnesses.
H/T: Rolling Stone