FDA Gives Psilocybin Clinical Studies Breakthrough Therapy Status


By: Gaia Staff | Oct. 30th, 2018

The FDA recognized psilocybin, the psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, with “Breakthrough Therapy” designation for clinical trials studying it’s use for treatment-resistant depression by a company called Compass Pathways. The group plans to treat patients in Europe and North America over the next year in placebo-controlled studies to determine proper dosage and treatment methods.

Since hallucinogenic drugs were given Schedule I designation in 1966, psilocin and psilocybin have been villainized by the media and politicians who claim it has high potential for abuse and no medical application. But recent studies from esteemed research institutions, including Johns Hopkins and London’s Imperial College, have helped ease misconceptions and stigma surrounding the drug, and now government regulatory bodies are seeing its potential.

SIGN UP FOR FREE VIDEOS AND THE LATEST FROM GAIA

Compass Pathways, a life sciences company founded in 2016 whose focus is to “accelerate patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health,” specifically through research with psilocybin, was given the go-ahead by the FDA back in August, but the recent designation was an unexpected acknowledgement, according to some of those involved in its research.

According to the FDA, “Breakthrough Therapy” means it reviewed the findings of researchers it granted use of the drug to and viewed their results as:

“Preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development.”

Once this designation is given, the FDA expedites the development and review of the drug, hopefully allowing medical professionals to soon begin implementing it as a legal, viable treatment and eventually change the scheduling of the drug.

Dr. Roland Griffiths, one of the foremost researchers in government-sanctioned studies of hallucinogenic drugs, told Inverse he’s hopeful the regulatory approval will change, though he doesn’t envision it becoming available from a pharmacy anytime soon, if ever.

Griffiths and his colleagues have mostly advocated for its use in controlled settings with guided sessions from a trained psychologist. He’s also stated he believes it can be a dangerous drug when taken by those with certain pre-existing mental illnesses, notably schizophrenia.

But now that studies have shown psilocybin to act as a “reset mechanism” in the brain for those suffering from severe forms of depression, this latest recognition from the FDA may allow psilocybin treatment to become available for those desperately needing it. This breakthrough may also pave the way for FDA trials with other psychedelic substances, such as a LSD, currently studied by Griffiths and others in his field.

 

For more on Dr. Roland Griffiths’ and other’s cutting edge work studying clinical treatments with hallucinogenic substances, check out this episode of Psychedelica:

Recommended Articles

Mind. Blown? Elevate your inbox with weekly articles from Gaia

There's More To You Than You Think

Travel down a new road with Gaia, a member-supported conscious media company. Join our community of seekers, dreamers, and doers to empower your own evolution. Discover over 8,000+ ad-free, streaming videos to inspire and encourage curiosity. Everything is waiting for you; which path will you choose?

Why Does A Conscious Company Charge?

Provide an ad-free experience, no exceptions!
Pay the bills without selling your personal information.
Produce, edit, and share thought-provoking original shows and videos.
Bring scholars, scientists, and even shamans into the studios.
Make Gaia accessible on your favorite devices.
Keep our community active and support its growth.

Choose your plan

Monthly
$11.99/mo
Start Trial

Hide plan details

  • 2 Week Free Trial
  • /month after Trial
  • Stream 8,000+ Films & Original Shows
  • Ad-Free Streaming All Year

Best
Value

Annual
$99/yr
Start Trial

Hide plan details

  • 2 Week Free Trial
  • Stream 8,000+ Films & Original Shows
  • Ad-Free Streaming All Year
  • Save Over Monthly
Live Access
$299/yr
Select Plan

Hide plan details

  • Livestream All Gaia Events
  • Watch Live in English and Spanish
  • Ad-Free Streaming All Year
  • Unlimited Recorded Event Streaming
Prices in USD