The use of psychedelics, such as MDMA and psilocybin, as a potential treatment for long COVID has garnered attention recently. One 41-year-old woman shared her remarkable experience of finding relief from her long COVID symptoms through the use of these mind-altering substances under the guidance of a therapist. While the FDA has not authorized the medical use of MDMA or psilocybin at a federal level, some states like Oregon and Colorado have voted to legalize certain psychedelic-assisted therapies. This case study sheds light on the potential of psychedelics in addressing a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

The Case Study

The woman in the case study was previously healthy before contracting COVID-19 and had received three vaccinations. Her long COVID symptoms included severe anxiety, depression, headaches, and cognitive difficulties. Despite trying various methods like fasting, massage therapy, and meditation, she found little to no relief. After being on a waitlist for a long COVID clinic, she decided to explore psychedelics as a treatment option. In May 2022, she started with a dose of ‘golden teacher’ Psilocybe cubensis mushrooms followed by MDMA and psilocybin. The patient reported significant improvement in her symptoms, allowing her to resume her PhD studies and eventually return to full-time work by the end of 2022.

Potential Mechanisms

Research suggests that long COVID may involve brain damage, with symptoms like brain fog being common among sufferers. Psychedelics, which interact with the brain, could potentially have a positive impact on these symptoms. However, it is important to note that the case study lacks randomization, a control group, and dosage control. While anecdotal reports of psychedelics benefiting long COVID exist, rigorous scientific research is essential before considering them as approved forms of treatment. A small pilot trial at Columbia University aims to investigate the effectiveness of hallucinogenic treatments in alleviating long COVID symptoms.

The case study highlighting the use of psychedelics for long COVID treatment offers a glimpse of hope for individuals struggling with the condition. While the findings are promising, more research is needed to establish the safety and efficacy of psychedelics in managing long COVID symptoms. As the medical community continues to explore alternative therapies, including psychedelics, it is essential to approach these treatments with caution and scientific rigor to ensure the well-being of patients.

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