Doctors from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston have suggested the use of active ingredients in “magic mushrooms” and other psychedelics to bring comfort to women with late-stage cancer.
Conventional approaches to soothe women suffering from malignancies such as late-stage gynaecological cancer include psychotherapeutic approaches like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) but take too long to change old habits and need much stamina, wrote the researchers in a commentary published in the International Journal of Gynecological Cancer.
Late stages associated with poor prognosis and chronic side effects of treatment add to the woes of women, the authors said. The commentary underlined that up to a quarter of ovarian cancer patients report depression, anxiety and death anxiety.
The doctors cited recent studies that showed that psychedelics, especially psilocybin, have promising effects in treating various psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and end-of-life distress. It has also been shown to have beneficial effects when combined with psychotherapy in just one or two sessions, they added.
A recent analysis of 10 clinical trials found that one or two doses of psilocybin can have “rapid and sustained” antidepressant effects that lasted for up to six months, the doctors said.