The earliest antidepressants in use today were initially tuberculosis drugs made from discarded World War II rocket fuel. Spravato, a substance first used as a veterinary anesthetic and then recreationally as a club drug, was licensed by the Federal Drug Administration in 2019 for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression.
Why shouldn't the antidepressants of the future similarly originate from unlikely places?
Many people are living in an unnatural environment due to the challenging economy and digital lifestyle. As a result, anxiety and a decline in social connections have caused depression in otherwise healthy individuals and a sharp rise in the number of antidepressant prescriptions.
Antidepressants can help some people avoid their recurring negative thoughts. Almost one in ten Americans use antidepressants. Unfortunately, more than a third of those with depression are resistant to the benefits of the best antidepressant medications for elevating mood.
What are antidepressants?
Antidepressants are a class of drugs used to treat a variety of mental diseases, including depressive disorder, anxiety, and PTSD. Since the 1950s, antidepressants have been prescribed based on the idea that depression is brought on by low levels of neurotransmitters, notably serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
Antidepressants work by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, in the brain. By doing so, they help to regulate mood and emotions and reduce symptoms of depression.
Since a comprehensive study concluded that there is "no convincing evidence" that low serotonin levels cause depression symptoms, experts have questioned the widespread usage of antidepressants and antidepressant effects.
How are psychedelics different?
Psychedelics, such as psilocybin and LSD, work by mimicking the act of altering serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating mood and emotions.
Specifically, psychedelics bind to serotonin receptors in the brain, leading to changes in the activity of specific neural circuits. These changes are thought to produce the unique therapeutic potential and effects of psychedelics, including altered perception, heightened emotions, and mystical experiences.
One key difference between psychedelics and antidepressants is the rapid onset of action seen with psychedelics. Psychedelics can produce noticeable improvements in mood and other symptoms within hours or days of administration, whereas antidepressants typically take several weeks to produce a similar effect.
Another difference is the potential for long-lasting effects with psychedelics. Some studies have reported sustained improvements in mood and other symptoms of depression for weeks or even months after a single dose of a psychedelic. Antidepressants, on the other hand, must be taken regularly to maintain their effects.
It's also worth noting that psychedelics can produce more intense and unpredictable experiences than antidepressants, which can be both positive and negative. Therefore, the use of psychedelics requires careful preparation, supervision, and integration to minimize potential risks and maximize therapeutic benefits. In summary, psychedelics and antidepressants have different mechanisms of action, which lead to different effects on the brain and different therapeutic outcomes.
Both treatments have benefits and limitations. In order to minimize risk please consult with a medical professional on your general health and medical history.
What is Microdosing?
Microdosing is the practice of taking small doses of a psychoactive substance, such as LSD or psilocybin mushrooms, to produce subtle, yet noticeable, changes in mood, cognition, and perception. Typically, microdoses are a fraction of a standard recreational dose, often about one-tenth or less.
The goal of microdosing is to experience the therapeutic benefits of a psychoactive substance without the intense and potentially overwhelming effects of a full recreational dose of psychedelic drugs. Microdoses are usually taken on a regular schedule, such as every three days, for several weeks or months.
Microdosing has gained popularity in recent years as a potential treatment for a variety of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Advocates of microdosing believe that it can lead to increased creativity, productivity, focus, and overall well-being.
Is Microdosing Safe?
The War on Drugs, which began in the late 1960s and severely restricted most of the study into psychedelics, prevented us from learning as much as we would have regarding safety. For the past five to ten years, this research has been revived, and several medical institutions are now studying psychedelics. Indigenous people have used psilocybin for generations and it is generally believed to be safe in modest doses.
However, it's important to note that the risks and long-term effects of microdosing psychedelics are not well understood. Some potential risks include increased anxiety, paranoia, and destabilization of mood.
There are also potential legal and ethical concerns associated with the use of psychedelics outside of a controlled and supervised therapeutic setting. A frightening, even traumatic experience might occur if one consumes a dose that is too high.
Almost 200 types of fungus (mushrooms) generate the chemical psilocybin, and the fungi must originate from a viable source. With the incorrect kind of mushroom, it is relatively simple to poison oneself.
Could psychedelics become safe if legalized?
Experts in the area believe that some psychedelics, notably psilocybin, and MDMA, may become completely authorized – for medicinal use, under supervision — within the next several years. Several public personas, mental health professionals, and policymakers think that decriminalizing these psychedelics and regulating their cultivation and manufacture will improve their safety. Psychedelics are no longer considered illegal in numerous localities around the world.
Some proponents of decriminalization anticipate a safer product and more access, which may include the ability to use psychedelics without a prescription or under a doctor's supervision. The concern of skeptics is that unrestricted access to these medications
The Benefits of Psychedelics vs. Antidepressants
Psychedelics and antidepressants are two types of treatments that can be used for depression, but they have different mechanisms of action and benefits.
Benefits of Psychedelics for Depression:
- Rapid onset of action: One of the most significant benefits of psychedelics is their rapid onset of action. Psychedelics like psilocybin and ketamine can produce a noticeable improvement in depressive symptoms within hours or days of administration, whereas antidepressants can take weeks or even months to produce effects.
- Long-lasting effects: Studies have shown that a single dose of psychedelics can have a long-lasting effect on depression. Some studies have reported sustained improvements in mood and other depressive symptoms for weeks or even months after a single dose of a psychedelic.
- Unique therapeutic effects: Psychedelics may have unique therapeutic effects not seen with traditional antidepressants. For example, psychedelics can produce mystical experiences that are associated with positive changes in mood, attitudes, and behaviors.
Benefits of Antidepressants for Depression:
- Widely available: Antidepressants are widely available and have been used to treat depression for decades. They are prescribed by doctors and can be obtained at most pharmacies.
- Evidence-based: Antidepressants are supported by a large body of scientific evidence demonstrating their effectiveness in treating depression. They are considered a first-line treatment for moderate to severe depression.
Microdosing Psychedelics for Major Depressive Disorder
Microdosing psychedelics, such as LSD and psilocybin, have gained popularity as a potential treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD), despite limited scientific evidence. There is limited research specifically on microdosing psychedelics for MDD, but some studies have suggested that it may have potential as a treatment option. For example, a small study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that microdosing LSD was associated with reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in a group of self-selected participants. Another study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that microdosing psilocybin was associated with increased emotional stability, reduced symptoms of depression, and improved attentional abilities in a group of self-selected participants. It's also important to note that microdosing is not a standalone treatment for MDD and should be used in conjunction with other forms of therapy and support, such as talk therapy and behavioral interventions.
Should I start with Psilocybin Mushrooms or LSD for Microdosing vs Antidepressants?
It's important to note that the practice of microdosing is not yet well understood, and there is limited scientific research on its safety, effectiveness, and long-term effects. It's important to note that the use of psilocybin outside of a controlled and supervised therapeutic setting is illegal and can be dangerous. Psilocybin therapy should only be conducted by trained professionals in a safe and controlled environment.
Potential Future for Mushroom Microdosing Protocol
There is no doubt that psilocybin-containing substances like magic mushrooms are rapidly approaching widespread acceptability and legality, at least in a therapeutic setting. Microdosing is the ideal technique to experience a wide variety of positives with nearly undetectable versions of the negatives to go with them. Full dosages of psychedelics may be a very intense experience. The experience will also become more efficient and safer to get in easy-to-administer forms as more study is done on the specific effects of microdosing various kinds of psilocybin mushrooms. In the future, purchasing and administering little doses of psilocybin mushrooms will likely be as simple as it is right now to do the same with painkillers or antidepressants.
In conclusion, both psychedelics and antidepressants have benefits in treating depression. Psychedelics may have a more rapid onset of action and unique therapeutic effects on depression severity, whereas antidepressants are widely available. While the limited research on microdosing psychedelics for MDD suggests that it may have potential as a treatment option, further research is needed to understand its safety, effectiveness, and long-term effects. It's important for individuals who are considering microdosing to do so in a safe and controlled setting. The choice of treatment should be made in consultation with a medical professional, taking into account the individual's medical history, depression scores, symptoms, and preferences.
Vivien Freeflow · 3/27/2023