Study: Psilocybin Shows Promise in Treating Depression

According to a new study compiled by UK researchers, psilocybin — the naturally occurring psychedelic in so-called “magic mushrooms” — shows promise as an effective treatment for depression.

Full story after the jump.

A recent study in the United Kingdom found that psilocybin, the naturally occurring psychedelic compound in hallucinogenic (or “magic”) mushrooms, is an effective treatment for depression.

Researchers behind the study found that psilocybin outperformed niacin (or Vitamin B), microdoses of other psychedelics, and a placebo in the treatment of depression symptoms, according to a Medical News Today report.

The peer-reviewed research, published in The BMJ, represents a systemic review and meta-analysis of past studies. Researchers utilized seven randomized controlled trials that included studies comparing psilocybin’s efficacy as a depression treatment to other substances, and studies utilizing psychotherapy under both the experimental and control conditions so that psilocybin’s effects could be distinguished from those of psychotherapy, the report said.

The report’s authors called for more research into the subject before considering or enacting changes at the clinical level.

Dr. Akanksha Sharma — a neurologist, neuro-oncologist, and palliative medicine practitioner at Pacific Neuroscience Institute in Santa Monica, California — told Medical News Today that psychedelics like psilocybin can re-wire the brain’s response to stress and negative emotions, but that scientists do not fully understand the process.

“At this point, we know that altered states of consciousness can help patients face and process difficult emotions associated with their mental health condition or disease. In this state with the right guides, we can potentially reframe and accept our condition or find peace.” — Dr. Sharma, in the report

Meanwhile, according to research published last year in the journal Psychedelic Medicine, a majority of American Psychiatric Association members believe that hallucinogens show promise in treating psychiatric conditions.

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