Could Magic Mushrooms Be Our Answer To Treating Depression?

Categories: Health & Nutrition

Results raise hopes that active substance in class 1 drug could be used to treat mental health conditions in future.

Magic mushrooms have lifted severe depression in a dozen volunteers in a clinical trial, raising scientists’ hopes that the psychedelic experiences beloved of the Aztecs and the hippy counter-culture of the 1970s could one day become mainstream medicine.

A clinical trial, which took years and significant money to complete due to the stringent regulatory restrictions imposed around the class 1 drug, has found that two doses of psilocybin, the active substance in the mushrooms, was sufficient to lift resistant depression in all 12 volunteers for three weeks, and to keep it away in five of them for three months.

The size of the trial and the absence of any placebo means the research, funded by the Medical Research Council and published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal (pdf), is a proof of principle only.

Those are some pretty rad results, man.

In an effort to lift resistant depression, researchers in London gave 12 patients psilocybin, the same compound that makes magic mushrooms so magical. The patients—who had been clinically depressed for an average of nearly 18 years—responded remarkably well. Psilocybin succeeded where typical drugs, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and electroconvulsive therapy had failed. One week after taking the substance, all patients reported feeling better, and three months later, five of them had not relapsed.

via PBS

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