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Mental Health Monday: Psychedelic drugs offer hope for treatment-resistant mental illness

Click to play video: 'Psychedelic drugs offer hope for treatment-resistant mental illness' Psychedelic drugs offer hope for treatment-resistant mental illness
Powerful pyschedelic drugs are now being looked at for their ability to achieve 'breakthrough' results when it comes to treating depression and anxiety as well as post-traumatic stress disorder. Travis Lowe reports. – Apr 5, 2021

There’s new research that is promising some hope for those people who suffer from treatment-resistant mental illness and it centers around the use of psychedelic drugs.

The research is focusing on three drugs; Ketamine, which is an anesthetic, MDMA or ecstasy, and psilocybin, more commonly known as magic mushrooms.

“It’s psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, so it’s not just using the substances on their own,” UBC Okanagan associate professor Zach Walsh told Global News.

“It’s in a context and a frame of a lot of psychological support.”

READ MORE: COVID-19 ‘a perfect time’ for psychedelic drug therapy: treatment centre 

Walsh is an expert in the use of herbal cannabis and mental health and has also participated in several research assignments with psychedelic drugs and mental health.

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According to Walsh, the drugs can allow traditional treatment-resistant patients to access and unlock emotions while being attended to by clinical psychologists in a controlled environment.

“It can be a very powerful, profound experience,” Walsh said.

“It can allow people to get in touch with past traumas in a safe way that can be so powerful in combating depression.”

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The controversial buzz surrounding psychedelic therapy – Jun 13, 2020

Combatting depression is one of the main reasons that former pro-hockey player Brady Leavold uses psilocybin mushrooms.

“I’ll tell you it has been a life-changer for sure,” Leavold explained.

Leavold says past childhood trauma led him into a life of addiction that ruined his NHL career and eventually ended him in jail.

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Now out of jail and on the road to recovery, Leavold says he microdoses psilocybin in pill form for his mental health.

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“You are not getting high, you are not hallucinating at all, it’s more or less a light feeling, a natural antidepressant is the best way I can describe it,” Leavold said.

It’s extremely important to note that the use of illicit psychedelic drugs for mental health is still in the research phase.

However, Walsh maintains that the emerging field shows promise, despite being years away from becoming mainstream medicine.

“It’s probably one of the biggest developments in my lifetime in my career as a mental health professional,” Walsh said.

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