EU awards €6.5 million for psychedelic drug trial

The study will focus on treatment for four medical conditions.

The European Union awarded €6.5 million to PsyPal, a consortium of 19 partners from nine different European countries, for a study on the psychedelic compound psilocybin.

PsyPal includes:

Psychiatrists
Palliative care physicians
Psychologists
Experts in psilocybin therapy
Researchers focusing on spiritual care
Representatives from religious institutions

The trial will study psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for psychological and existential distress in people who are diagnosed with one of four conditions:

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD)
Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Atypical Parkinson’s disease (APD)

Tadeusz Hawrot, executive director of the Psychedelic Access and Research European Alliance, told Psychedelic Health: “It is particularly crucial to explore (psychedelic compounds’) potential in areas with significant unmet mental health needs, where commercial interest is lacking, such as in palliative care. With a growing body of promising results in the medical use of psychedelics, what we urgently need now are more European multisite studies.”

The consortium of 19 European organizations from nine countries are as follows:

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Bispebjerg Hospital
Champalimaud Foundation
European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC)
European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA)
European Psychiatric Association (EPA)
HumanKindLabs
IESE Business School
Lung Alliance Netherlands
Madopa
National Institute of Mental Health in the Czech Republic
Norrsken Mind
OPEN Foundation
University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
University of Copenhagen
University of Groningen
University of Stockholm
Uppsala University

PAREA is also actively involved.

According to Psychedelic Health, the trial will be led by the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) in the Netherlands in collaboration with HumanKindLabs and will begin early this year. Locations for the trial include the UMCG, the Champalimaud Foundation in Portugal, the National Institute of Mental Health in the Czech Republic, and the University of Copenhagen and the Bispebjerg Hospital in Denmark.

According to Psychedelic Alpha, two dosing sessions will be employed, with recipients receiving either psilocybin (a lower dose will be administered in the first of the two sessions) or placebo. The outlet wrote that “patients will receive three preparation sessions, one of which will focus on each individual’s specific healthcare needs. Psychedelic Alpha understands that the dosing sessions will be followed by one integration session.”

In a statement, Robert Schoevers, head of psychiatry at the UMCG and principal investigator of PsyPal, stated: “We are eager to see if we can ease the suffering of these patients whilst also examining longer-term patient and family outcomes of this treatment, something that often gets overlooked but that is of enormous importance.”

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