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Effects of Psychedelic Drugs Can Last for Days or Weeks, Research Shows

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According to experts, the story of a pilot who was off-duty and attempted to crash an airplane a few days after consuming "magic mushrooms" should serve as a warning.

After an Alaska Airlines pilot, who was off-duty at the time, was accused of attempting to crash a plane during a flight and claimed he had eaten "magic mushrooms" before landing, psychedelic researchers argue that this event should serve as a cautionary tale, especially for those who think they can self-treat persistent mental illness caused by the independent use of psychedelic drugs.

Over the past five years, research into psychedelic drugs as part of the treatment for mental conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and addiction has surged. The initial study results were so promising that in June, the Food and Drug Administration released draft guidance on planning clinical trials of psychedelic drugs, including MDMA and psilocybin, for the treatment of mood disorders, anxiety, and substance use.

It remains unclear whether the 44-year-old pilot, Joseph Emerson, who was off-duty at the time, was trying to convey to authorities that he was struggling with depression, attempting self-treatment by consuming psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, after an unsuccessful attempt to shut down the plane's engines.

Nevertheless, as states consider the possibility of legalizing or decriminalizing psilocybin (clinics in Oregon began offering psilocybin therapy earlier this summer, and Colorado voters approved legalization in 2022), some psychedelic researchers are concerned that dangers are being overlooked.

"I've been following the increasing momentum of decriminalization and was waiting for a headline like this," said Dr. Joshua Schlegel, a psychiatrist working on a psychedelic research program at Washington University in St. Louis. "I hope this leads to a rational conversation about the benefits and risks."

Under controlled circumstances, which include screening for psychosis or a history of bipolar disorder, careful dosing, preparation for what to expect, and rigorous medical supervision during the "trip," psychedelics can lead to impressive results, researchers say.

Dr. Boris Heifets, an anesthesiologist and co-director of the therapeutic research lab at the Stanford University School of Medicine, said the therapeutic potential for a wide range of mental illnesses is simply remarkable.

"But any medicinal treatment, especially one as intense as psychedelics, will have both benefits and risks," Heifets said. "It's a non-trivial risk if you don't know for whom it's not intended."

Current research excludes patients with bipolar disorder and individuals with personal or family histories of psychosis, Heifets said.

In combination with psychotherapy, there is growing evidence that psychedelics can work when other treatment methods fail.

"Our trials have shown very positive results," said psychiatrist Dr. Joshua Woolley, director of the translational psychedelic research program at the University of California, San Francisco.

"The trials are very well-controlled, and dosing is always facilitated," Woolley said. "Patients meet with a therapist in advance, receive information about what they might experience, and have the opportunity to practice in the room where the treatment will take place."

Translate this text into Russian: Effekty psikhodelicheskikh preparatov mogut prodolzhat'sya neskol'ko dnei ili nedel', pokazyvayut issledovaniya

Po mneniyu ekspertov, istoriya pilota, kotoryi byl vne dezhurstva i popytalsya sbrosit' samolet cherez neskol'ko dnei posle priema "volshebnykh gribov", dolzhna stat' predosterezheniem.

Posle togo, kak pilota Alaska Airlines, kotoryi byl vne raboty v eto vremya, obvinili v popytke sbrosit' samolet vo vremya poleta i zayavil, chto pered posadkoi on s'el "volshebnye griby", issledovateli psikhodelikov schitayut, chto eto sobytie dolzhno sluzhit' predosterezheniem, osobenno dlya tekh, kto dumayet, chto oni mogut samostoyatel'no lechit' stoykoe psikhicheskoe zabolevanie, vyzyvaemoe nezavisimym priemom psikhodelicheskogo preparata.

Za poslednie piat' let issledovaniya v oblasti psikhodelicheskikh preparatov v kachestve terapii psikhicheskikh sostoyanii, takikh kak posttravmaticheskoe stressovoe rasstroistvo, depressiya, trevoga i zavisimost', znachitel'no narosli. Pervye rezul'taty issledovanii byli naстol'ko mnogoobeshchaiushchimi, chto v iiune Upravlenie po sanitarnomu nadzoru za kachestvom pishchevykh produktov i medikamentov opublikovalo proekt rukovodstva po planirovanii klinicheskikh ispytanii psikhodelicheskikh preparatov, vklyuchaya MDMA i psilotsibin, dlya lecheniya rasstroistv nastroeniya, trevogi i upotrebleniya psikhoaktivnykh veshchestv.

Ostaetsya neyasnym, pytalsya li 44-letnii pilot Dzhozef Emerson, kotoryi byl vne dezhurstva v to vremya, posle neudachnoi popytki vыklyuchit' dvigateli samoleta soobshchit' vlastyam, chto on borolsya s depressiei, zanimayas' samolecheniem, prinimaya psilotsibin, aktivnyi komponent volshebnykh gribov.

Tem ne menee, pokа shtaty rassmatrivayut vozmozhnost' legalizatsii ili dekriminalizatsii psilotsibina (kliniki v Oregone nachali predlagat' psilotsibinovuyu terapiyu ranee etogo leta, a izbirateli Kolorado odobrili legаlizatsiyu v 2022 godu), neskol'ko issledovatelei psikhodelikov obespokoены tem, chto opasnosti ignoriruyutsya.

"Ya sledil za rostom dinamiki dekriminalizatsii i zhdal poiavleniya takogo zagolovka", - skazal doktor Dzhoshua Sigel, psikhiatr, rabotayushchii nad programmoy issledovaniya psikhodelikov v Vashingtonskom universitete v Sent-Luis. "Nadeyus', eto privodit k ratsional'nom