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Psilocybin Mushrooms are Effective in the Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder By: Annie Gillis IDS 3303 April 2 nd 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "Psilocybin Mushrooms are Effective in the Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder By: Annie Gillis IDS 3303 April 2 nd 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 Psilocybin Mushrooms are Effective in the Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder By: Annie Gillis IDS 3303 April 2 nd 2009

2 Effects about 10 % of the entire population 4 th most common disorder in the world after phobias, substance abuse, and major depression. Characterized as “either obsessions (recurrent and persistent ideas, thoughts, or images) or compulsions (repetitive behaviors performed according to certain rules or in a stereotyped fashion)…both have the inability to inhibit or delay repetitive behaviors” –Goodman, Rudorfer,and Maser. Psychologists have concluded that OCD is due to serotonin abnormalities in the brain.

3 Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is located in the central nervous system Serotonin controls anger, aggression, mood, appetite, metabolism, human sexuality, and sleep. Psychologists believe that a chemical imbalance in serotonin cause psychosis. Serotonin Transport Inhibitors (SRIs) are used to treat OCD through their ability to block serotonin and then replicate it.

4 Cognitive Behavioral Treatment – therapy involving a patient and psychologist in different behavioral activities. While this treatment can work, it has a high drop out rate because many patients find the directions too hard to follow Medical Treatment - SRIs are the most common drug used to treat OCD, as well as the most effective. Clomipramine is a common SRI used. SRIs usually take six to eight weeks to start working and 40 to 60 % of patients are unimproved after an adequate trial with SRIs.

5 Psilocybin is the active ingredient found in “magic mushrooms.” Psilocybin Mushrooms are found in tropical and sub-tropical regions such as South America, Mexico, and the U.S. Symptoms of psilocybin include hallucinations that include magical thinking, altered sense of time, “feeling of one-ness”, a changed meaning of percepts, thought disorder, anxiety and panic, and motor abnormalities. Psilocybin is ingested orally and can be put in food or brewed in tea for better taste.

6 Psilocybin is dated back to 1000 BC. The Aztecs used the drug in rituals believing that they could cure the sick, talk to the Gods, and talk to the deceased while hallucinating. The drug was introduced to the general public in 1957 after Life magazine issued an article on it, causing many people to journey to Mexico in search of the “magic mushroom.”

7 Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert, two Harvard psychologists started the “Harvard Psilocybin Project” after their personal experimentation with the drug. Leary and Alpert were interested in the emotional and behavioral aspect of the drug on humans with a thesis that it would have a very positive effect in a clinical setting After two years of experimentation, the state of Massachusetts investigated the “Harvard Psilocybin Project” concluding that the two men were not fit to run human experiments because they were not doctors, but psychologists. Leary and Alpert were fired from Harvard, and the project was stopped.

8 In 1970 the U.S. government passed the “Drug Abuse and Prevention Control Act” placing Psilocybin mushrooms under the Schedule 1 drug class. According to the FDA Schedule 1 drugs are any drugs that have a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use, and a lack of safety for use of the drug in a medical setting.

9 The drug psilocybin is able to successfully block serotonin when entering the brain and then imitate the neurotransmitter, creating hallucinations and an altered sense of perception (Gahlinger, 2004). A study done by several psychologists supports the idea concluding “The hallucinogenic activity of psilocybin and psilocin is believed to be largely due to activation of 5- HT2A receptors, while the anti-OCD activity is associated with agonist activity at 5-HT2C” (2005). Therefore, psilocybin blocks serotonin when entering the brain and then mimics it, creating hallucinations that lead to altered sense of perceptions.

10 Molecular make up of serotonin and psilocybin. This chart came from the National Institute on Drug Abuse

11 The recent study done by Dr. Francisco Moreno called ““Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy, of Psilocybin in 9 Patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” showed the safety of psilocybin in a controlled setting and also showed positive results. The study used 9 OCD patients with moderate to severe symptoms, who all failed at least one type of OCD treatment before. Psychologists monitored patients for eight hours and asked them questions after 1, 4, and 8 hours.

12 A 23-100% decrease of symptoms occurred in all nine patients according to the Y-bocs scale (a scale used to measure severity of OCD). Most of the patients symptoms gradually came back between 24 hours to 3 days, although Dr. Moreno did follow one man who had a remission of symptoms for six months. The conclusion of the experiment was “In a controlled clinical environment, psilocybin was safely used in subjects with OCD and was associated with acute reductions in core OCD symptoms in several subjects” (Moreno, Delgado, Taitano, Wiegand, 2006). Dr. Moreno states “Currently, there is no treatment that eases symptoms of the disorder as fast as psilocybin appears to” (2006).

13 An article written by Linda Marsa in Discover Magazine provided a picture of the brain and what psilocybin does when in it. Marsa explains the thalamus as the “base” of the brain in which it is the “gateway of sensory information – taste, touch, vision, and hearing” (2008)

14 A study done by Dr. Roland Griffiths used 36 healthy volunteers with no psychotic disorders to prove the “mystical-type” experience that many people experience when hallucinating. The study claims that “no volunteer rated…psilocybin experience as having decreased their sense of well-being or life satisfaction” (Griffiths, 2006). The former National Institute on Drug Abuse director Charles Schuster described the study as a landmark.

15 MAPS or Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies funds much of psilocybin research along with the Heffter Institute. Randolph Hencken a spokesperson for MAPS stated “Our studies can cost anywhere from $100,000 to $1 million dollars and more depending upon what we are studying, how many people we study, which bureaucracies we have to pay and other factors” The government does not help fund experiments that involve psychedelic research.

16 The term “magic mushroom” or “shrooming” often comes with negative connotations, an article written by Ben Sessa in the British Journal of Psychiatry states “the image of psychedelics, severely damaged by the 1960s drug culture, is further spoiled by drug use in today's ‘rave’ scene. Finding unbiased information about psychedelic research is often difficult.” Dr. Paul Blenkiron of New York stated “I’m concerned that the study only measured effects up to 24 hours and OCD is a chronic condition” (2006).

17 Swiss Psychologist Franz Vollenweider states “Now we want to use the tools we’ve developed to see what is going on in real patients. If we could convincingly demonstrate hallucinogens alter these receptors, then we can find other compounds that have similar mechanisms but are less frightening” (2008). There has not been an abundance of studies on psilocybin and OCD, but the studies that have been done show promising results, and could lead to a new breakthrough for OCD treatments.


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