Clinical study of psychedelic drugs for cancer patients could be a game-changer

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Psychedelics have been shown to help patients dealing with their own mortality.

(Renee Bright | KUER) Researchers are studying whether psychedelic medicine can help relieve anxiety in cancer patients.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people in America develop depression and anxiety following a cancer diagnosis. At present, doctors can’t do much to treat these conditions, says Dr. Anna Beckoncologist and director of end-of-life care at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

“You can’t throw anxiety or depression medication at that kind of existential distress,” Beck said. “You need something that’s really out of the box.”

In the spirit of original thought, Beck and a team of Huntsman researchers are exploring an experimental treatment for the low spirits and anxiety that often accompany cancer: psychedelic group therapy.

They want to see if group psychotherapy, combined with psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, can safely help people come to terms with feelings of their own mortality.

To learn more about how psychedelic drugs might help patients, visit KUER.org.

This article is published through the Utah News Collaborative, a partnership of Utah news organizations that aims to inform readers across the state.

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