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Military veterans, especially those engaging in special operations, are at greater risk for developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). A recent study found that psychedelic drugs reduce the symptoms associated with PTSD and TBI and improve cognition in special operations veterans.

The study involved 86 male special operations veterans who had reported experiencing various mental and physical health disorders, including memory/concentration problems, TBI, depression, anxiety, PTSD, sleep problems, anger/rage, and fatigue. Each participant received a single oral dose of ibogaine hydrochloride. On a separate occasion, they received at least three incrementally increasing amounts (totaling 50 milligrams) of 5-MeO-DMT. Before and after each treatment session, they documented their emotional well-being and any other symptoms they experienced.

The participants reported marked improvements in their PTSD, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and anger symptoms, along with increased life satisfaction, even at six months post-treatment. In addition, their psychological flexibility and cognitive functioning increased, while post-concussion symptoms notably decreased, remaining improved at all follow-ups.

Participants reported positive changes in attitudes, behaviors, and relationships, and many considered the experience highly meaningful, spiritually significant, and psychologically insightful.

Ibogaine hydrochloride is a psychedelic drug found in the bark of the Tabernanthe iboga, a shrub native to Central and West Africa. It elicits prolonged effects (beginning 30 minutes to three hours after intake and peaking between 18 and 36 hours), often described as a “waking dream.”

5-MeO-DMT (5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine) is a psychedelic drug obtained from various plants and the glands of the _ Incilius alvarius_ toad. It is a fast-acting, short-duration psychoactive, inducing feelings of awe, visual and auditory hallucinations, and other sensations common with classic psychedelics.

These findings suggest that psychedelic drugs improve symptoms associated with PTSD and TBI in military special operations veterans. These improvements were still evident at the six-month follow-up when the study ended. It is possible the effects endured even longer. Learn more about the effects of psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs in this episode featuring Dr. Roland Griffiths.

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