Psilocybin's Therapeutic Potential for Alleviating Childhood Trauma-Related Psychological Distress

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A recent study conducted in Canada with over 1,200 participants has found that psilocybin may significantly alleviate psychological distress resulting from childhood trauma, particularly benefitting those with more severe adversity, suggesting its therapeutic potential in addressing long-lasting trauma-related symptoms.

Psilocybin has been known for it’s therapeutic benefits. A newly released study investigated those therapeutic effects which showed that using the psychedelic drug can help individuals who suffer from psychological distress they experienced due to their childhood trauma by easing their symptoms (1). Researchers from the study mention that the drug produced “particularly strong benefits to those with more severe childhood adversity,” (1).

The experiment took place in Canada where they observed 1,249 participants, ages 16 and older (1). Individuals involved in the study were required to complete a questionnaire that was utilized to determine an assessment on childhood trauma experiences. Participants were additionally asked about information regarding psilocybin use such as, when was the last time they consumed the drug, how often (frequency of use), and dosage strength.

“We found that the effect of adverse childhood experiences on psychological distress was lower among those who had used psilocybin compared to those who had not,” the study mentioned (1), “suggesting potential benefit of psilocybin in treating the psychological consequences of adverse childhood experiences.” Researchers added that, “The effect of adverse childhood experiences on psychological distress was lower for people who had recently used psilocybin.”


In the experiment, the authors commented that the data produced agreed with other published research. For example, there was a study conducted with more than 213,000 adults in the US which discovered that a lifetime use of psilocybin related to a lower risk of a past-year major depressive episode (1).

“Taken together, our results and the existing literature point to a positive therapeutic potential of psilocybin,” the report stated (1). “While naturalistic use of psilocybin is very different from therapeutic trials, our findings converge with emerging evidence from clinical trials and suggest that there may be benefits of use outside of therapeutic settings.”

Observed in the participant pool, 49.9% of subjects disclosed that they regularly use psilocybin to treat their emotional or mental health concerns. Only 32.2% of participants mentioned that they “sometimes used psilocybin for that purpose,” (1). The experiment showed that high-scoring childhood trauma experience sufferers were more inclined to consume psilocybin for their mental health. Additionally, high-scored individuals were not linked to having an increased chance of using the drug for other purposes. For instance, using psilocybin for pleasure, connecting with others, and enhancing the senses of the user.

Researchers detailed that (1), “there appears to be a dose response effect, with more exposure to psychedelics being associated with greater psychological effect and improvements to psychological well-being.”

“Psilocybin therapy may…feasibly help in supporting survivors of adverse childhood experiences with particularly strong benefits to those with more severe childhood adversity,” the authors said (1).

Additionally, researchers mentioned that (1), “feasibility studies suggest that psilocybin has a good safety profile and low addiction potential, particularly at low doses and even among those with complex psychiatric needs.”


  1. Adlin, B., Psilocybin Eases Psychological Distress In People Who Experienced Childhood Trauma, Study Suggests (accessed Oct 19, 2023).