5 Conditions Psychedelic Therapy Can Treat – According to Research

5 Conditions Psychedelic Therapy Can Treat - According to Research | HealthSoul

Modern clinical research on psychedelics has generated interesting outcomes in different clinical conditions and controlled settings. These studies herald an opportunity to rethink the regulations on drug research and use more broadly.

In many recent, well-controlled studies, psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy has shown a promising therapeutic potential to treat symptoms of various mental health illnesses. Read on to learn more.

Terminal Illnesses

Studies have shown that psychedelic therapy may ease existential fear and dread felt by patients with serious and deadly diagnoses of terminal conditions, such as life-threatening cancer.

In one 2016 study, 29 cancer patients had reduced their anxiety, dread, hopelessness, and depression to their diagnosis immediately after taking a dose of psilocybin mushrooms. These improvements persisted even after six months.

Another study in the same year arrived at similar conclusions. In this study, 51 patients with life-threatening cancer took different doses of psilocybin. Significant improvements in mood, relationships, and other domains of functioning were found in those who took high-dose psilocybin. Similar to the first study, these improvements persisted after six months.

In both 2016 studies, participants reportedly had mystical and spiritualistic experiences that helped them contemplate the connectedness of everything, death, and the divine. Both studies suggested that these experiences mediated rates of cancer-related existential angst and may play a role in the mental health benefits of psychedelics.

Depression and Anxiety

Evidence has also shown that the anxiety and depression symptoms in people with no terminal illnesses may also be eased by psychedelic therapy. For instance, a 2023 study found reduced symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress (DAS) in 164 participants. They self-reported these reductions for the first five weeks following psychedelic experiences.

However, since it relied on self-reporting, this study didn’t conclusively prove their effect on mental health. Instead, the study suggested a mechanism through which psychedelics may lead to a healthier mind: greater self-compassion and less frequent rumination.

Another study in 2017 showed similar results. They looked at 20 people with treatment-resistant depression and found a significant reduction in their symptoms after taking two doses of psilocybin seven days apart. After a month, nine participants responded to treatment, while four had remission from depression. The researchers concluded that quality psychedelic experiences during the drug dose may lead to more improvements.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

An emerging body of research suggests that the psychedelic effects of hallucinogenic medications may ease post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For instance, a 2020 systematic paper reviewed studies on MDMA, a stimulant and psychedelic drug commonly known as ecstasy, and found moderate evidence supporting its effectiveness.

In the same year, another study on AIDS survivor men had similar findings. The participants reportedly have symptoms of demoralization. Demoralized patients may have sleep, appetite, or energy disturbances or, worse, be suicidal. In the study, after attending group therapy sessions of eight to ten and taking one dose of psilocybin, participants showed clinically significant reductions in their symptoms.


Some symptoms of addiction may also be eased by psychedelic-assisted therapy. This may be because substance use disorders (SUD) and some mental illnesses like depression typically occur together, as research has shown. By reducing mental health symptoms, psychedelics make it easier to quit substance abuse.

A 2015 study observed ten volunteers with alcohol addiction and concluded they were likelier to quit drinking with intense psychedelic experiences. At first, they received motivational enhancement psychotherapy for four weeks, but their alcohol use didn’t decrease. However, after taking psilocybin, they drank significantly less.

Not only drinking but also psilocybin may help people quit smoking. A 2016 study also observed 15 volunteers with smoking addiction. The researchers found that a psilocybin-facilitated cognitive-behavioral therapy-based quit-smoking program had higher success rates than other treatments. Specifically, the study was able to help 67% of the participants quit smoking a year later.

Eating Disorders

Like addiction, eating disorders and other mental health symptoms usually occur together. The mystical and psychedelic experiences a person may experience during psychedelic therapy may ease the symptoms that could lead to disordered eating.

This can be seen in a 2020 systematic review. During the psychedelic therapy, several participants claimed they gained new insights encouraging them to shift their body image away from unhealthy thoughts and embrace healthier habits.

Another study in the same year showed similar results. It studied 28 people with eating disorders. After undergoing psychedelic-assisted therapy, there were significant reductions not only in their disordered eating but also in their symptoms of depression.

How Much Does Psychedelic Therapy Cost?

The costs for psychedelic therapy vary depending on the type, clinic, and location. It can be as low as around a hundred dollars per week for three months (e.g., at-home virtual ketamine care) or as high as a thousand dollars or more. Consult a clinic for more exact pricing and inquire about available financial options to help you reduce costs.

Some insurance may provide coverage, but only in part. They often cover the preparation and integration sessions but not the medicine itself. Speak to your insurance provider for more details. Reach out to your company’s human resources (HR) to see if they can help you.

If you’re underinsured or uninsured and your current finances aren’t enough, continue to seek other affordable alternative treatments, and don’t give up. Take advantage of promotional offers like Prozac Savings Offer or government initiatives like sliding scales or programs to help you defray the cost.

Final Thoughts

There’s a growing interest in psychedelic-assisted therapy and its potential use to promote better mental health worldwide. However, psychedelics are still mostly banned in many countries. Be sure to consult your doctor about it.