Has psilocybin been used for treatment of anxiety disorder? I've mostly found it used in the treatment of depression in patients diagnosed with cancer (Nichols et al. 2017) and patients not diagnosed with anything at all (Griffiths et al. 2006). Alternatively, how legitimate is it to generalize the results of the cancer patients to a chronic anxiety disorder patient?

Nichols, D. E., Johnson, M. W., & Nichols, C. D. (2017). Psychedelics as medicines: an emerging new paradigm. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 101(2), 209-219.

Griffiths, R. R., Richards, W. A., McCann, U., & Jesse, R. (2006). Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Psychopharmacology, 187(3), 268-283.


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There has been some preliminary research in the 1960's. From "The neurobiology of psychedelic drugs: implications for the treatment of mood disorders" by Vollenweider and Kometer:

Psycholytic therapy was introduced by Ronald Sandison and applied in Europe at 18 treatment centres. In psycholytic therapy, low to moderate doses of LSD (50–100 μg), psilocybin (10–15 mg) or, sporadically, ketamine were used repeatedly as an adjunct in psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy to accelerate the therapeutic process by facilitating regression and the recollection and release of emotionally loaded repressed memories, and by increasing the transference reaction. A review of 42 studies reported impressive improvement rates in (mostly treatment-resistant) patients with anxiety disorders (improvement in 70% of patients), depression (in 62% of patients), personality disorders (in 53–61% of patients), sexual dysfunction (in 50% of patients) and obsessive–compulsive disorders (in 42% of patients).

Unfortunately, the majority of these studies had serious methodological flaws by contemporary standards. In particular, with the absence of adequate control groups and follow-up measurements and with vague criteria for therapeutic outcome, the studies did not clearly establish whether it was the drug or the therapeutic engagement that produced the reported beneficial effect. It was also difficult to draw firm conclusions regarding potential long-term efficacy. Nevertheless, the studies provide a conceptual framework for the application of psychedelics, with the data suggesting that the most promising indication for psychedelic use might be found in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders.


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