Magic Mushrooms; Help for Depression?

According to new research published in The Lancet [1], “magic mushrooms” may be helpful in combating depression. Though the study was a small one (only containing twelve individuals, without a control group), the researchers found their results to be astonishing enough to publish regardless.

“This is the first time that psilocybin” — a mind-altering chemical in several species of mushroom — “has been investigated as a potential treatment for major depression,” lead author Robin Carhart-Harris of Imperial College London said in a statement.

Metro Canada [2] has a wonderful article on the topic:

Clinical depression is a debilitating disease that affects tens of millions of people worldwide.

Antidepressants and talk therapy don’t work for about one in five patients, highlighting the need for alternate treatments.

Psilocybin stimulates receptors for serotonin, a naturally occurring chemical in the brain that affects mood.

Many antidepressants — known as SSRIs — are designed to boost serotonin levels.

In the experiment, Carhart-Harris and colleagues gave two doses of psilocybin, a week apart, to six men and six women suffering moderate to severe depression.

The first dose was small, to test for adverse side-effects.

The next dose, 25 mg, was strong enough to cause hallucinations.

Patients lay in beds in a quiet room, listening to classical music. They were encouraged to “explore their own mental space,” or imagine a pleasant landscape.

They all reported mild nervousness as the drug took hold within 30 to 60 minutes, but there were no serious side-effects.

Seven of the group continued to show marked improvement, and the remaining five were in remission. For more, check out the original Metro article here, or the research paper here. Or, if you’d like to read more about antidepressants, check out our article here!

[1]The Lancet
[2]Metro Canada
[Original Image]

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