Back to Projects

The Effect of Psilocybin on MDD Symptom Severity and Synaptic Density

Project initiator

PSIPET: The effect of psilocybin on symptoms of depression and synaptic density

More than 260 million people suffer from depression worldwide which makes it the leading cause of disability according to the World Health Organization. The Swedish Public Health Agency reports that one in five Swedes have been diagnosed with depression.

The antidepressant medications used today are of great value to many patients, but they are not effective for everyone. Studies show that many patients do not achieve effective alleviation of depression symptoms after trying multiple treatment regimes. In all of the standard treatment interventions of depression today, there are problems with a high recurrence rate after completion of treatment. There are also side-effects and withdrawal symptoms for some existing treatment models.

Several independent trials using psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy have shown promising results on depression, including a trial at Imperial College London comparing psilocybin with a standard SSRI medication. For a recent review, see Więckiewicz et al., 2021. However, these studies have important limitations and more research is necessary to make any claims of efficacy.

The clinical trial at Karolinska Institutet is a PI-initiated trial made possible by a donation from Norrsken Mind, through its predecessor organisation Osmond Foundation, and regulatory support by HumanKindLabs AB (previously Osmond Labs). The trial is a groundbreaking study with the potential to not only advance research on the antidepressive potential of psilocybin, but also the scientific understanding of the mechanisms behind depression.

The trial is fully funded and expected to be completed in 2023. Read more about the study at the Karolinska Institutet website.