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Psychedelic-assisted therapy in advanced-stage cancer patients

42 months
Approved budget:
Dr Lisa Reynolds
Associate Professor Suresh Muthukumaraswamy
Dr Nicholas Hoeh
Associate Professor Frederick Sundram
Dr Alana Cavadino
Dr Nicola Lawrence
Health issue:
Cancer (oncology)
Proposal type:
Emerging Researcher First Grant
Lay summary
The administration of high-dose psychedelic compounds have shown clinically significant benefits in the treatment of psychological distress in advanced cancer patients. However, psychedelics at high doses can vividly alter perceptions; an experience that poses challenges in this vulnerable population. ‘Microdosing’ – repeated administration of psychedelics in low doses does not alter perceptions but may offer similar benefit in reducing anxiety, depression and existential distress. This study will evaluate the feasibility of conducting a randomised controlled trial comparing psychedelic-microdose assisted – Meaning Centred Psychotherapy to standard Meaning-Centred Psychotherapy in people who have advanced cancer and anxiety or depression. Participants will be randomised to receive psychotherapy alongside doses of either an LSD microdose or placebo. The feasibility, acceptability, safety and potential psychological benefits of this intervention will be assessed. Our findings will inform the development of a larger trial and provide initial indication of potential benefits of psychedelic microdosing in advanced cancer.