Therapeutic Potential of Psilocybin for Treating Psychological Distress among Survivors of Adverse Childhood Experiences: Evidence on Acceptability and Potential Efficacy of Psilocybin Use

Kiffer G. Card, Ashmita Grewal, Kalysha Closson, Gina Martin, Laura Baracaldo, Sandra Allison, Daniel J. Kruger, Zach Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Survivors of adverse childhood experience are at elevated risk for psychological distress. In recent years, renewed interest in psychedelic medicine has highlighted the therapeutic potential of psilocybin for those who have experienced childhood adversity. However, recreational psilocybin use remains illegal and access to approved therapies is difficult. Such use provides an opportunity to explore the therapeutic potential of psilocybin for psychological distress among people with adverse childhood experiences. Therefore, we conducted an online survey to assess interest in, acceptability of, and experiences with psilocybin. We further explored whether the association between Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACEQ) scores and psychological distress was lower among those who had used psilocybin in the past three months. Results showed high levels of interest in and acceptability of psilocybin that did not differ across ACEQ scores. Results also showed that the effect of adverse childhood experiences on psychological distress was lower for people who had recently used psilocybin (p =.019). Taken together, these findings suggest that psilocybin therapy may be potentially acceptable and may feasibly help in supporting survivors of adverse childhood experiences with particularly strong benefits to those with more severe childhood adversity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Psilocybin
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • psychological distress

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