Vilified by many, and outlawed by most, psychedelic drugs have a turbulent history.
Far from the psychedelia of 1960s America, scientists have made extraordinary progress in developing mental health treatments through the use of psilocybin, the now-infamous compound found in hundreds of mushrooms.
As companies like Compass Pathways and Delix Pharmaceuticals continue to gain traction, increased funding and research is changing the way the world of psychedelic medicine is perceived.
Archaic laws still inhibit scientific progress in this space, but is the tide turning? Is 2023 set to be a game-changer in the way we treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, bulimia, and many other mental health problems? Whether it’s a reality or a faraway fantasy, researchers need the freedom (and the funding) to explore the potential.
In a 2022 study by John Hopkins Medicine, researchers show that psilocybin treatment has alleviated symptoms of major depressive disorder in patients for up to a year when combined with other forms of therapy (behavioural therapy and psychotherapy, for example).
Recent clinical trials across the UK, Europe, and America provided yet more insight into the positive outcomes of psilocybin treatment, with patients’ depression scores improving immediately after completing each arm of the trial.
As with all forms of emergent treatment, wider-scale clinical trials are needed to further assess the efficacy of the drugs, yet barriers to meaningful progression still stand in the way.
As time goes on, the sustainability factor of psilocybin as a form of long-term treatment will become clearer, but as of right now, small-scale studies and a missing ‘gold standard’ for placebo control have proved to be limiting.
Continued research from Compass Pathways, Mindstate Design Labs, Seelos Therapeutics, and many others is yielding some incredibly valuable results that seem to point to the dawn of a new era of treatment.
Barriers to Progress
Psychedelics are still illegal in the majority of countries. Combine that with stigma, misunderstanding, and media sensationalism, and you’ve got a difficult setting to research in.
Regulations are yet to catch up to many emerging areas of study in the life sciences, not just psychedelics. It’s an ongoing communication error between the science and the policymakers, and it inhibits a large area of scientific progress.
In the UK psychedelic research space especially, there have been calls for rule reformation in an effort to catch up to countries like Germany and the United States.
Science stands at the forefront of discovery, driving innovation and transforming the reality we know today. As a result, huge commercial opportunities arise in a heartbeat, and the same can be said for the realm of psychedelic treatment.
The psychedelic substances market is estimated to grow to a value of $10.75 billion by 2027, a huge leap from $2 billion in 2020.
Increased funding, greater awareness and a swathe of commercial opportunities makes for an enticing landscape.
To continue over the precipice and into a new era of treatment and research, the right talent must be on board.
If you’re hoping to take your life sciences career into the fast-growing world of psychedelics, then it’s a good time to get started.
Here at BioTalent, we’ve got a wealth of experience in helping people find their calling in the life sciences. Our specialist consultants can support you along every step of the journey, from finding a new position to the interview process and beyond.
If you need somewhere to start, reach out to the team today – we can match you with an opportunity that enables you to thrive in the world’s most exciting industry.
The Future of Psychedelic Treatment
The world is experiencing a mental health crisis. Psychedelic treatments have a long way to go to make any kind of major impact, but the push to bring potentially life-changing drugs to market is on.
The conversation has started, the foundations for clinical research and development are in place, and the future looks exciting for this corner of the life sciences.