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Psychedelic Experiences and Grief: Can Psilocybin help with anxiety and depression?

Updated: Sep 21, 2023

One of the reasons I came to working with plant medicine was from my own personal experience with grief. I lost my father to suicide in 2007. It took many years for me to come to a place where I could move past the feelings of grief, anxiousness, anger and guilt.

Grief is a normal and natural feeling when someone you love dies. It can be very hard to cope with grief, and sometimes people may feel sad, angry, or scared. Some people may also have trouble sleeping or eating.

Psychedelics are drugs that can help you change the way you think and feel. They can make you feel happy, relaxed, or connected to the world around you. Some people think that psychedelics can help people who are grieving by reducing their symptoms of anxiety and depression, and by helping them feel more connected to their loved ones.

Psilocybin studies showing help for depression and anxiety

Now, we are seeing more and more evidence that plant medicine can help. New studies are showing that psilocybin, the active ingredient that causes consciousness shifts in magic mushrooms are helping people with grief from losing a loved one or in facing terminal illness. As shown in the most recent Dosed Movie, there is hope for people who are dealing with loss.

  • A 2022 study by researchers at Imperial College London found that psilocybin can help with Depression and Anxiety. Professor David Nutt, Head of the Imperial Centre for Psychedelic Research, said: “These findings are important because for the first time we find that psilocybin works differently from conventional antidepressants – making the brain more flexible and fluid, and less entrenched in the negative thinking patterns associated with depression. This supports our initial predictions and confirms psilocybin could be a real alternative approach to depression treatments.”

  • A new study is beginning in Oct 2023 on the pragmatic trial of psilocybin therapy in palliative care at UCSF.

  • A study in 2018 showed that treatment resistant depression was markedly reduced after a high dose treatment as well as improvements in anxiety.

These are just a few of the studies that have been done on the effects of psilocybin on families that may have depression and anxiety and are relevant to those grieving from losing a loved one. The results of these studies suggest that psilocybin has the potential to be a safe and effective treatment for these families. As I have personally experienced after the suicide of my father, and the sudden death of my step mother during COVID, psilocybin sessions can greatly assist in feeling a sense of understanding and peace.

If you are interested in learning more about the potential benefits of psilocybin for families that are grieving from losing a loved one, I recommend talking to your doctor or a mental health professional. Additionally, you can schedule a discovery call to learn more about plant medicine and how it can help with the grieving process.

Additionally, there are studies on people facing potentially terminal illness in helping them cope with their experience.

  • A study with a macro dose of psilocybin produced large decreases in anxiety and depression as well as increases in quality of life, life meaning, and optimism, and decreases in death anxiety. After six months, the improvements were still noticeable with about 80% of participants continuing to show significant decreases in anxiety and depression. Participants felt that their improvements in mood, spirituality and relationships were directly linked to the macro dose experience. More than 80 percent of participants felt they had great well being and life satisfaction. Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial

  • A 2016 study by researchers at NYU Grossman School of Medicine found that a single dose of psilocybin can significantly reduce depression, anxiety, and hopelessness in cancer patients. The study also found that the positive effects of psilocybin were sustained for up to 6 months after the initial dose.

  • A 2020 study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that psilocybin can help people to come to terms with their own mortality. The study participants, who were all terminally ill, reported feeling less afraid of death and more accepting of their own mortality after taking psilocybin.

  • A 2021 study by researchers at the University of British Columbia found that small or microdoses of psilocybin can help people struggling with anxiety and depression. The study showed participants had "greater feelings of wellbeing." Microdosing is the use of sub perceptual doses of psychedelics to optimize and help alleviate anxiety and depression. You can learn about our Microdosing courses here.

These are just a few of the studies that have been done on the effects of psilocybin on the grieving process and facing terminal illness. The results of these studies suggest that psilocybin has the potential to be a safe and effective treatment for these conditions. We offer the integration for families who are grieving and need support during such difficult times.

Disclaimer: It is important to note that psilocybin is still a relatively new and experimental treatment. It is not yet approved by the FDA for any medical use. If you are considering taking psilocybin, it is important to weigh the potential risks and benefits with your doctor or a mental health professional.

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