Cigarettes have remained one of the world’s most tough-to-beat addictions, with 10% of Canadians over the age of 20 craving nicotine on a daily basis. Nicotine, the stimulating chemical found in tobacco, and now vapes, acts as a mood-regulator by releasing neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine. The boost of pleasure from nicotine inhalation, AKA a spike in endorphines, can induce feelings of well-being, relaxation, stress relief, and mood improvement. It is understandable how these effects of smoking can make it incredibly addictive and an undeniable struggle. Because of the fast-acting yet very temporary qualities of smoking, many are left reaching for more once the onset reward has dulled.
With fewer than 1 in 10 adult smokers succeeding in quitting each year, more and more users are desperate for new strategies to help combat the ongoing nicotine epidemic— that’s where shrooms come in.
In a study by John Hopkins University, 15 participants seeking to quit smoking took psilocybin and delivered substantial results of an 80% abstinence rate over the span of six months. With a notably higher success rate than most cessation trials involving common addictions, the power of psilocybin in monitored context prevails once again. The success of this study can be highly attributed to its intentional and cautionary preparation, paired by proper counseling and other therapeutic interventions to explore the efficacy of psilocybin in a safe manner.
Among the study were 10 men and five women, deemed as both mentally and physically healthy to participate. Reportedly smoking an average of 19 cigarettes a day over the span of 31 years, the majority of the participants claimed little to no experience in psychedelics. Researchers suggest that the use of psilocybin may assist in breaking long held addictive patterns and behaviors that come as a result of smoking, making it easier to quit.
Despite the success of the trial conducted some years ago, the reason remains unknown as to precisely why psilocybin may be an effective tool in kicking addiction. However, John Hopkins University researchers aren’t the only ones who want to know. For the first time in half a century, a federal grant has been given in order to study psychedelics as a means of possible treatment. The grant offered by The National Institutes of Health provides a major leap in psilocybin research, cracking down on a long-term research hurdle caused by lack of funding. The result of this funding will allow controlled studies to flourish as the benefits of psilocybin are explored, surging an air of hope as new results begin to uncover the truth behind psychedelics.
As for John Hopkins researchers, they are now in the midst of leading a new study funded by the NIH federal grant, comparing psilocybin to the commonly used nicotine patch as a way to quit smoking. The study remains ongoing. Although there is a variety of products on the market such as patches, gums, lozenges and prescription drugs created to aid in the quitting process, these products can also carry addictive properties of their own.
Because psilocybin is non-addictive, it can also show viability in the beneficial effects that take place for potentially days after consumption. When it comes to battling addictive behavior, getting to the route of the problem and breaking the pattern of addiction is where astounding results can occur, which is why psilocybin might be so promising in this field of research.
The therapeutic benefits of psilocybin continue to show face in a range of different contexts. With the contribution of professionals dedicating research to showcase the capabilities of psilocybin, the horizon is bright for the future. When we imagine a time where all-natural substances are seen as effective tools in mental health and addiction treatments, we can also see a monumental increase in healthy, happy people. The well-being of the general public is something worth fighting for, and it seems the fight has entered the right hands.
I will be sure to update this article once the results of the current trials as mentioned have concluded. For now, stay mindful, stay elevated, and always remain kind to yourself, regardless of the hurdles in your midst.
Your fellow psychedelic optimist,