Psilocybin research isn't just about magic mushrooms; it's about the talented minds behind the science. Explore how assembling a top team can open doors to groundbreaking mental health treatments.

There are no magic bullets for treating depression, anxiety and trauma. But there may be a magic mushroom. 

Psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in more than 200 species of fungi, is opening exciting doors in pharmaceutical research. From potential breakthroughs in mental health treatments to opportunities to ease the suffering of terminal cancer patients, psilocybin could be a vital key. It's a fascinating world of therapy that we're just beginning to understand, ranging from addiction treatment to alleviating severe stress disorders. Let's recap the history of psilocybin research and then explore what's happening in the field right now.

a brief history of psilocybin research

Psilocybin research spans three distinct phases. During the first phase, starting in the 1950s, pioneers like Timothy Leary began delving into psilocybin's effects, conducting research at institutions like Harvard. This led to a wave of interest but also considerable backlash as the recreational use of “magic mushrooms” and other psychedelics became more widespread.

During the prohibition phase of the late 1960s, legal restrictions and a shift in public opinion pushed psilocybin research into the background, putting promising studies on hold and leaving its potential medical benefits unexplored. But things started to change in the late 1990s. Organizations like the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and the Johns Hopkins Psychedelic Research Unit breathed new life into the field.

what’s happening in clinical trials?

Recent and ongoing research is probing the potential benefits of psilocybin in various therapeutic applications. Notable projects include:

compass pathways' psilocybin for depression study

This randomized controlled phase 2b study of psilocybin treatment in treatment-resistant depression is one of the largest psilocybin treatment clinical trials ever conducted, with 233 patients across 22 sites in 10 countries across Europe and North America.

NYU langone health's psilocybin cancer anxiety study

Focused on improving the quality of life in advanced cancer patients, this study explored psilocybin's effects on existential distress.

yale program for psychedelic science's efficacy of psilocybin in OCD

This research centers on the effects of psilocybin on obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms and corresponding neural changes.

the usona institute's psilocybin for major depressive disorder study

This is a Phase 2, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of single-dose psilocybin to treat major depressive disorder.

opportunities & staffing needs: the human element of psilocybin research

The future of psilocybin research shows promise, but it's also filled with questions and challenges that demand the attention of skilled professionals across various fields and disciplines.

Consider just a few of the roles required for this cutting-edge field. You'll need pharmacologists to understand how psilocybin interacts with the brain and body. Research scientists will be the architects of experimental studies, and neuroscientists will explore the neural connections triggered by psilocybin. Clinical research coordinators are the unsung heroes who ensure everything runs smoothly, managing the logistics and compliance of trials, while laboratory technicians are the diligent hands preparing samples and managing vital equipment.

In life sciences, finding this level of talent is a significant hurdle. According to a Randstad survey of life sciences and pharma employers, "talent scarcity" ranks as the top challenge. It's a vivid reminder that the people behind the research are as vital as the science itself.

Like cannabis and other once-taboo substances, psilocybin represents a new and exciting frontier in mental health treatment. With a focus on specialized staffing and a commitment to regulatory excellence, from IND submittal to FDA approval, Randstad is poised to be part of this exciting journey. Contact us today to learn how we can support your research and development efforts in this emerging field.