MAGIC MUSHROOMS FOUND TO HELP PEOPLE WITH UNTREATABLE DEPRESSION
Magic Mushrooms are an unusual drug, usually taken by people looking for an all-natural psychedelic experience. But like marijuana, mushrooms are a natural drug that are illegal and can get you prison time for possession. Unlike marijuana, mushrooms haven’t experienced a by-state nebulous status for illegality. Mushrooms are just illegal. But a recent study has opened some new doors of possible medical use, as mushrooms were found to actually decrease symptoms of depression.
STUDY ALSO SHOWS PSYCHEDELIC PSILOCYBIN HAD MEASURABLE PHYSICAL IMPACT ON USERS BRAINS, LINKED TO LOWER DEPRESSION
The ingredient in magic mushrooms that elicits the psychedelic affects is called psilocybin. The new study was done by researchers in the United Kingdom and South Africa, which monitored the effects of psilocybin on people’s brains whose depression wasn’t helped by traditional methods. But incredibly, the group in the study not only enjoyed reduced symptoms of what had been untreatable depression, but their brains also showed a measured physical change after psilocybin use.
Namely, they found changes in certain kinds of blood flow and brain activity. “Decreased blood flow was found to correlate (in the amygdala) with reductions in depressive mood,” they write in the study, this week in the journal Scientific Reports.
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STUDY ENTAILED TWO WEEKS OF PSYCHEDELIC DOSES, MONITORING FOR FIVE WEEKS AFTER
The study followed 15 male and four female depressed patients (which ultimately became 12 and then 11 male patients) receiving two doses of the drug over two weeks, who were then monitored for five weeks after. All of the patients had fewer symptoms of depression in the first week, and around half showed improvement at five weeks.
Each patient then received brain scans which revealed a decrease in cerebral blood flow and a decrease in brain activity in some areas, like the amygdala. Scientists have previously associated this area’s activity with fear and anxiety, among other emotional responses.
STUDY COULD OPEN THE DOOR FOR NEW RESEARCH TO HELP UNTREATABLE DEPRESSION
The paper points out that this is a tiny study with no control, and the researchers reminded New Scientist that you shouldn’t try to self-medicate with psychedelics. But it’s also promising. “This is further evidence that psilocybin may turn out to be effective for the most stubborn depression,” Paul Morrison from King’s College London told them.
The study adds further evidence to past research from the team, demonstrating psilocybin as a potentially useful treatment for depression, as well as the effects of other drugs on MDMA.
Obviously, this is new research that is far, far away from something that would ever be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, especially as it is currently “scheduled.” But these findings may help open some more doors for research, especially as drugs like MDMA have recently been acknowledged for having value for research as well.