The Genesis Zone with Dr Brian Brown

Psilocybin: Is It A Miracle Treatment for Depression?

November 11, 2021 Dr. Brian Brown Season 2 Episode 54
The Genesis Zone with Dr Brian Brown
Psilocybin: Is It A Miracle Treatment for Depression?
Show Notes Transcript

 Unless you’ve been under a rock lately, you’ve probably heard some significant buzz about the natural compound psilocybin.

Today, I’ll be answering these questions and sharing research that’s less than 3 weeks old related to how this compound may help repair and heal certain brain conditions.

Show Notes
2:07     Positive impact of psilocybin on the brain
4:20     Reversing anxiety and depression
5:04     Prolonged antidepressant effects of the treatment
11:12   1 Step away from FDA approval for treating DEPRESSION
14:33   Is PSILOCYBIN a miracle drug for DEPRESSION
18:43    One and Done for PTSD?

I've created a five-day boot camp called the Gene Hack Boot Camp™. And I'd like to invite you to join, go to register.

Have a questions for Dr Brian?

Resources discussed in the show:

Paul Stamets

Hamilton Depression Rating Scale


Compass Phase 2 Clinical Study



psilocybin, depression, dose, milligrams, study, brain, compound, anxiety, treatment, research, controversial, psychedelic, researchers, dosing, effect

Dr Brian G Brown  00:00

The mission is simple: to help high achievers naturally eliminate emotional and physical obstacles, so they can optimize their life for higher achievement. 


Welcome, you just entered Genesis zone. Good day and welcome to the Genesis zone show. This is Dr. Brian Brown, thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to join us. So, the big question is:  


Is psilocybin the miracle depression treatment that is hailed as being?


Unless you've been under a rock lately, you've probably heard some significant buzz about the natural compound psilocybin. Is it controversial? If so, why is it controversial? Today I'll be answering these questions and sharing some research that's less than three weeks old, related to how this compound may help repair and heal certain brain conditions like depression and anxiety.


Dr Brian G Brown  01:04

You may recall me talking on a show a couple of months ago, about new psilocybin research that came out of Virginia Tech University. I mentioned it on a previous show and shared that it was a mouse model with psilocybin, and it showed that there was an significant increase in neuron volume, and it promoted growth and new nerve connections, neuronal connections throughout the brain. 


Well, Virginia Tech's neighbors, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine researchers, they're built upon this research with another mouse model, and published their findings three weeks ago, as they made the cover of the journal Cell Reports. 


These researchers discovered that psychedelic compounds similar to psilocybin,

-       Improved neuronal structures within the brain

-       Also positively modified the genetic environment itself

-       Psychedelics have an epigenetic impact on the brain in a positive manner. 


When I started reading about psilocybin and its effects on the brain with:

-       Attention

-       Concentration

-       Focus

-       Depression

-       Mood regulation

-       Anxiety regulation


I thought to myself, and this was over a year ago, this compound has an epigenetic impact on the brain. But we didn't have proof of that until now. So, the cool thing is that the changes that the researcher saw here at Virginia Commonwealth University, began with a single dose in as little as 24 hours after taking that dose. And it was found to be at its highest intensity of response at day seven, which was the final day of the measurement, by the way. And I kind of fault the study designed for only measuring up to seven days, I would love to have seen a longer measurement period to be quite honest with you, up to six weeks in 12 weeks. But anyway, they stopped measurement at seven days. 


So, a single dose within 24 hours had these drastic effects epigenetically on the brain. Now, no manmade antidepressant has the ability to do this without very prolonged repetitive use, and it's very minimal in its impact. In layman's terms. What does this mean for us? Well, it simply means that seeing these positive changes start in under 24 hours, and last for seven days with one single dose of a psychedelic compound is amazing. 


Knowing that previous research had pointed out that people who struggle with depression and anxiety have less dense neuron structures in the front part of their brain called the prefrontal cortex. These same researchers also found that one dose of psychedelic compound increased neuronal density. In other words, it kind of plumped up the front part of the brain and the prefrontal cortex of the study subjects, which is what needs to happen in order to reverse depression and anxiety


That's a bold statement reversing depression and anxiety, because currently, we only have treatments for it. But if we can cause a prolonged effect in neuronal structure and epigenetic impact, we can actually start to reverse these conditions. At least that's what appears like from these early studies. 


Additionally, gene expression was positively impacted in the areas of the brain associated with:

-       depression

-       anxiety

-       attention

-       concentration

-       focus

-       and even schizophrenia


Notice I said positively impacted. Their research also supported evidence for significant epigenetic change, impact in two key areas when it comes to treating depression and anxiety alone. 


The number one area is that it caused a prolonged antidepressant effect, with major positive changes at the cellular level, and at the sub cellular level. 


And number two, it led to an increase in neuroplasticity. Now, don't get hung up on that term. This is simply the process of growing new nerve cells, which is essential for learning new things and forming new memories, as well as healing the depressed and anxious brain. But it gets even better than this.


Check out this next study, which is with humans and not mice. After all, if we're going to say that psilocybin or psychedelic compounds are beneficial in humans, we're going to have to study it in humans, right? 


Well, a few days ago researchers published findings from yet another psilocybin study proposing that psilocybin is a viable option, a natural treatment option for major depressive disorder. It's been a well-established fact that people who struggle with depression have two clinical phenomenon that occur in the brain, one of them being cognitive rigidity, and the other being neuronal rigidity.


In other words, it's like the last study pointed out a depressed or anxious person has a less dense neuron capacity or neuron of structure in the brain, specifically, that front part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex. Now this results in more sluggish thinking, or cognition, and also results in lower brain volume or plumpness. We want our nerves to be nice and plump, surrounded by good healthy fats so that they can conduct their electrical stimuli very, very rapidly. And what we found in depressed and anxious patients; they almost have anorexic looking nerves. They're very, very stripped down, they're very, very low volume.


Dr Brian G Brown  07:02

But what they noticed was that there was an increase in plumpness. With psilocybin, and it also slowed the ability. 


But in depressed and anxious patients, there's also a slow inability to form new neurons well


So in contrast with the normal non-depressed on a brain, these areas are not rigid, instead have what is called plasticity. Again, that's the ability to be flexible and adjust and grow and make new connections. Now, this was a small pilot study with only 11 human participants, and they used ultra-low doses of psilocybin based on bodyweight, which translated to about 20 to 30 milligrams of psilocybin for a 140-pound person. Test participants were given two doses approximately two weeks apart. 


To give you some perspective of how ultra-low the dose was in the study, experts, like Paul Stamets* have protocols for finding your own personal therapeutic low dose, which is almost always below 1000 milligrams, but 50 milligrams or above. I'll explain more about this later. 


But for the sake of this study, the dose used was in the ultra-low dose category, which means it was under 50 milligrams. So, let's see what ultra-low dosing did for the study participants. In addition to measuring changes in cognitive and neuronal rigidity, researchers use a depression rating scale called the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale* to measure changes in depression symptoms. It's a very common scale, you'll either see the Hamilton Depression Scale used, or the MADRS Scale* the Montgomery Asper Depression Rating Scale. 


In this particular study, they use the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. There's nothing wrong with this perfect scale. And they found that psilocybin therapy robustly and significantly:


-       Decreased Hamilton depression scores as early as week one

-       Decreased Hamilton depression scores four weeks post treatment 

-       Cognitive rigidity, and neuronal rigidity significantly improved

-       The brain became more plastic, more pliable, more malleable, more adaptable


Dr Brian G Brown  09:32

What does this mean? Well, let me start by giving some perspective again, I've practiced psychiatry in some fashion for nearly 24 years. And I can tell you, it's extremely rare to get statistically significant improvement in mood scores, in as little as one week.


I don't care what therapeutic you're using, an improvement like that in one week just doesn't happen. It means that ultra-low doses of psilocybin hold significant promise in the treatment of major depressive disorder with regard to improving cognitive and neural neuroplasticity, as well as reducing symptoms of depression. 


Obviously, more research needs to be done with a larger set of study participants. But for the sake of this pilot study, and it was designed to be low, because it is a pilot study, it was an amazing start and shows significant clinical promise for those who suffer with depression. 


Are there any larger studies? That's the question. That's been the issue with psilocybin risk research from day one is that we have a plethora of anecdotal data, where we have all of these people that use psilocybin on their own, and they use low doses between 1000 milligrams and 50 milligrams, and they report these amazing results. But we don't have any studies that actually show that. 


Well guess what, just two days ago, the largest psilocybin study with human participants was published. But get this, it was a phase two clinical trial, which means it's one step away from being approved by the FDA for treating depression. The next step after the study will be a study with 1000 participants or more. Now, this particular study, with 233, participants passed with flying colors. And I expect that the next study will do the same. 


It's called the Compass Pathway Study*. As I previously mentioned, it's the largest study of psilocybin for treatment resistant depression to date, with 233 participants, and it's a phase two clinical trial study. Here's how they set the study up. 

-       233 Participants were randomized to receive a one milligram dose

-       a 10 milligram dose

-       or a 25-milligram dose

-       Throughout the study, the effects were measured for up to 12 weeks.


The 25 milligram of psilocybin group had a 6.6-point improvement in their MADRS scores, on the Montgomery Aspect Depression Rating Scale score, they had a 6.6-point improvement by week three. Now, you may not know much about the MADRS scale, but a 6.6-point move can move you from severe to moderate, or from moderate to mild, or from mild to no symptoms at all. So, depends on where you are on the MADRS scale, a 6.6 move, anywhere on that scale can move you into a different category, a better category. And that's exactly what happened by week three. But improvement was seen get this as early as day two, and lasted through the end of the study, which is week 12. 


So let me give you the breakdown on how this panned out:

-       36.7% of the 25-milligram group responded. at week three. Meaning they had some kind of meaningful clinical response by week 3.

-       20 9.1% of the 25-milligram group were in remission at week three. In remission, which means all symptoms of depression were gone. 

-       24.1% of the 25-milligram group had sustained responses at week 12.


Now lower test doses of one milligram and two milligrams had no statistical improvement whatsoever. The results occurred with one dose of psilocybin 25 milligrams.


Dr Brian G Brown  13:57

In my 24 years of clinical experience, I've never known of a therapeutic compound, or any therapy that could boast this kind of result with one treatment, much less a natural therapy. So back to the big question, is psilocybin the miracle depression treatment that is hailed to be?


I have to honestly tell you with early preliminary research that we have right now in front of us, and the plethora of research that's coming in on a literally day by day basis. I have to say that 


Psilocybin is probably a miracle compound 


What I don't want to see and I'm just going to go on record and say this. I don't want some big pharmaceutical company to come out and say, Okay, we're going to take what Mother Nature made, and we're going to create a manmade synthetic version of it so we can patent it and charge through the nose for it. That is ridiculous. That's what they did. 


There was a company that made Crestor which is a statin medication, the molecule for Crestor on the natural botanical compound called red yeast rice, a lot of people don't know that that particular company has sought legal action against the growers of red yeast rice worldwide for decades, because they don't want red yeast rice on the market. 


That's what's going to happen here. Big Pharma is allowed to get its hooks in this natural manmade compound called psilocybin. They're going to outlaw it; they're going to make it. It's already a “scheduled drug.” 


But here's the crazy thing, the American Medical Association and the American Nurses Association, so your MDS and the organization that controls your nurse practitioners, they have come out with policy statements already promoting and offering protocols and saying, yes, we agree with psilocybin as a treatment for major depressive disorder, post traumatic disorder, that I think they've now added anxiety has been added to the list. And they are they are condoning the use of psilocybin, even before it's FDA approved. And that's huge.


In my career lifetime, I've never seen that happen. So, it's really big when you have two major organizations, oversight organizations that are coming together and saying, yes, we see the promise here. And we want to be able to open this up to people that struggle with depression. We need to team together and make sure that big pharma doesn't do their thing. And we need to advocate for the natural compounds psilocybin, not some synthetic version. 


So, is it controversial? If so, why is it controversial? For those of you who may not know psilocybin is the compound found in magic mushrooms. Yes, the “party drug” Okay, the one that causes hallucinations and LSD like effect? Is it controversial? I guess in that respect, it is. But it really depends on what camp you come from. Because when you look at hallucinogenic doses of psilocybin, it takes around 1500 milligrams or more, usually around 3000 milligrams to get that huge hallucinatory effect. A lot of times when people use psilocybin for recreational use, they're using it in the 3000, 4000, 5000 milligram dosing range, typically speaking. So, when we're talking low dose and ultra-low dose, you don't get the hallucinatory effect. 


Dr Brian G Brown  17:57

Now, that makes me think from a clinical perspective as a treating health professional that can prescribe, are there any medications in our armament, which are pharmaceuticals that are put out there about Big Pharma that if we push the dose too much, we can cause side effects that we don't want?


I can't think of a single medication that that doesn't hold true for. So as long as we stay smart about this, the controversy goes away. As long as we keep the doses within ranges that we know, it's not going to cause a hallucinatory effect, then yes, we have one of probably the most powerful options for the natural treatment options for depression, and anxiety that ever existed. And there's current research being done for post-traumatic stress disorder, that is off the charts. 


Now, I will say this, when we talk about hero dosing, or those doses that are over 1000 milligrams, where we get into that hallucinatory effect, there is some really good research that is emerging. That done under supervision in a therapy model is a one and done post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD treatment.


That's hard to believe that you can go into a two-hour, three-hour, four-hour therapy session with one hero dose- that's a dose over 1000 milligrams and actually take care of all your PTSD in one fell swoop. It's happening left and right all across the country. 


There are universities that are doing research with this right now. They're currently enrolling study participants in this right now as we speak, and you only have to set up an appointment. They come in, they interview you, they determine Yes, you do have PTSD, and they put you in the protocol and it's a one and done treatment. And the results on that are absolutely amazing. 


So, I'm not saying we need to totally avoid a hero dosing because I think clinically it is going to have a place. If we keep the dose low and controlled, and I think you're looking at probably one of the best depression and anxiety treatments that's ever going to hit the market. 


I just again, I worry about what Big Pharma is going to do with this. Are they going to try to make it something, make it into a Frankenstein drug, something totally synthetic, that it was never meant to be? It's a good possibility. And we need to stand in that gap and advocate for the people that do struggle with depression and need this treatment. And it's a very cheap treatment guys. When we're talking about a natural compound, we're talking about a very cheap treatment.


So, is it controversial? Yes. It just depends on which camp you fall into. If you're a teetotaler, I can't do anything related to drugs type person, then yes, it's very controversial to you. If you're open minded from a clinical perspective, and you look at the studies and you look at the data, and you see that yes, this has hope for people who are hopeless, when it comes to treating depression, like treatment resistant depression, then it's  off the chart amazing. 


And the controversy disappears in my mind, when you strictly look at it from a clinical standpoint, is it like any other medication that needs clinical supervision? Absolutely. But is it 


    One of the best options (for treating Depression) that we are probably going to see in this century


I'm going to go on record early in the century in 2021. And tell you yes, it probably will be. So, if you or someone you know is struggling with depression, and is contemplating suicide, I encourage you to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


If you're curious about the Genesis Zone Advantage Method™, that's my proprietary method, where I profile you through a series an extensive series of questions, we determine which is the primary domino that needs to be toppled first. Once we understand that domino, then we can say these are the genes that we need to look at in order to correct that one domino. Once we topple that domino, the rest fall. That's the Genesis Zone Advantage Method™ in a nutshell. 


If you're curious about the Genesis Zone Advantage Method™ and what it can do for you, how it can help you get out of the depression and anxiety hamster wheel, or are you just simply want to know about how epigenetics in general can be the ultimate biohacking tool and help you optimize your biohacking journey.


Dr Brian G Brown  22:36

I've created a five-day boot camp called the Gene Hack Boot Camp™. And I'd like to invite you to join, go to register. 


Resources discussed in the show:


Paul Stamets 

Hamilton Depression Rating Scale 


Compass Phase 2 Clinical Study