In recent years there has been a spate of research suggesting psychedelic drugs can help people manage mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, chronic pain or even eating disorders. But a growing body of data points to one as the leading contender to treat the intractable disease of substance abuse. Psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, has shown promise in limited early studies, not only in alcohol and harder drugs, but also nicotine — all of which resist long term treatment.
“The old rule of thumb is that one-third of people get better, one-third stay the same, and one-third continue to get worse,” said Dr. Michael Bogenschutz, a psychiatrist at New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine studying psilocybin-assisted therapy as a treatment for alcohol abuse. “What’s fascinating to me about this whole process is how many different kinds of experiences people can have, which ultimately help them make these profound changes in their behavior.”
Take Aimée Jamison, who several years ago wanted to kick her cigarette habit before her 50th birthday. Statistically speaking, Ms. Jamison’s chance of success wasn’t great. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 55 percent of adult smokers tried to quit in 2018, but only 8 percent were successful.