How does a psychedelic drug compare with an antidepressant for the treatment of depression? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Can the psychedelic drug psilocybin be used to treat depression? That possibility was examined in a recent study comparing psilocybin to escitalopram, an established antidepressant, in people with moderate to severe depression. Matthew Johnson, a psychedelics researcher at Johns Hopkins, describes the results.

Johnson: I think it’s an extremely positive development. And the development of psychedelic therapeutics in this head to head comparison. Essentially what you had was statistically on the primary outcome measure for depression, the two methods, the traditional antidepressant and psilocybin roughly equivalent. However there was a strong trend for psilocybin to do better, for depression to show a greater reduction.  :28

Johnson is encouraged by the results and hopes additional studies will examine the intervention over a longer period of time and look at additional outcome measures. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.