New research reveals that magic mushrooms may be an effective treatment for depression!
Imperial College London researchers discovered that patients who take psilocybin, which is a psychoactive compound found naturally in magic mushrooms, decreased symptoms of depression weeks after treatment.
The study got approved by the National Research Ethics Service (NRES) committee London – West London and was conducted by the revised declaration of Helsinki (2000), the International Committee on Harmonisation Good Clinical Practice (GCP) guidelines and National Health Service (NHS) Research Governance Framework. Imperial College London sponsored the research which was conducted under a Home Office license for research with schedule 1 drugs. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approved the study. All patients gave written informed consent, consistent with GCP.
In the clinical tests, patients with treatment-resistant depression got two doses of psilocybin, 10 mg followed by 25 mg, one-week apart. And scientists concentrated on differences in the brain function before and after treatment with the drug. The findings were astonishing and revealed that the therapy produced “rapid and sustained antidepressant effects.”
Images of the patients’ brains before and after the treatment with psilocybin presented a decreased blood flow in parts of the brain responsible for processing emotional responses such as fear and stress. Researchers found increased stability in another brain network that has been previously connected to psilocybin’s immediate effects, as well as to depression itself.
Head of Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, led the small study of 19 people, and he stated:
“We have shown for the first time clear changes in brain activity in depressed people treated with psilocybin after failing to respond to conventional treatments.
Several of our patients described feeling ‘reset’ after the treatment and often used computer analogies. For example, one said he felt like his brain had been ‘defragged’ like a computer hard drive, and another said he felt ‘rebooted.’
Psilocybin may be giving these individuals the temporary ‘kick start’ they need to break out of their depressive states, and these imaging results do tentatively support a ‘reset’ analogy. Similar brain effects to these have been seen with electroconvulsive therapy.”
Furthermore, the tests showed that patients scoring highest on “peak” or “mystical” experience had more significant improvement with depression. This is consistent with findings from previous studies where such experiences can lead to long-term changes in the attitudes, behaviors, and values of patients treated with psilocybin.
Preliminary results of using psilocybin to treat depression prove promising. This discovery comes at a time when people seek natural alternative solutions to harmful pharmaceutical drugs. And with media coverage of the development gaining traction, we will no doubt see more remarkable results in the future as researchers explore the many facets of this miracle therapy.