Doctors at an Australia hospital will treat terminally ill patients with psilocybin in a study to determine if the drug can ease the anxiety often experienced at the end of life. Researchers at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne plan to administer the hallucinogenic compound to 30 dying patients in April, according to media reports.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Margaret Ross said that terminally ill patients in the study would be given a single dose of a synthetic psilocybin drug. Initial studies have shown that one psilocybin treatment session can give patients an altered outlook on life for up to six months. The treatments are conducted by trained observers in a supervised setting and therapists recommend that patients not use the drug outside of the clinical environment.
Officials at St. Vincent’s say that three out of 10 palliative care patients experience extreme distress during the final months of life. The study to be conducted at the hospital took more than a year to be approved by an ethics committee and regulators at the state and federal level.
Similar Study Shows Success
A similar study of terminally ill cancer patients was conducted at Johns Hopkins University in 2016. Dr. Roland Griffiths, a professor of behavioral biology, said that