Drug Compound Found in Magic Mushrooms May Aid In Treating Depression

sad and depressedA small study suggests that a drug compound found in a psychedelic “magic mushroom” may help in treating a type of depression that does not respond to other conventional treatments. A compound called psilocybin, which is found in psychedelic mushrooms, may be used to treat severe depression. The findings were published in the journal, The Lancet Psychiatry.

A small study conducted by researchers from the Imperial College London treated 12 patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression with psilocybin capsules. The participants received two capsules of psilocybin one week apart. The first one contained a low 10mg dose while the second one contained a higher 25mg dose.  The patients were then assessed a day after the first dose and then on the first, second, third and fifth week. The patients were also assessed again three months after the second dose.

After a week of the first dose, 8 of the 12 participants experienced full remission from the condition. Three months after taking  the treatments, 7 of the patients continued to show improvements while five of them remained depression-free.

For the small trial, the participants had to take large doses of psilocybin. And because of this, the patients have to deal with the psychedelic symptoms as well and experience its hallucinogenic effects. This required the patients to undergo psychological support in order to cope with these effects. While the patients experienced anxiety with using psilocybin, the treatment produced only a few adverse side effects such as confusion, headaches and nausea.

The patients tested were either diagnosed with  moderate to severe depression and have undergone two different types of anti-depressant drug treatment and were not responding positively to them. But despite the positive effects, the small trial involving only 12 participants may not be a good indication of its effectivity. More trials and tests may be needed in order to conclusively discover whether psilocybin can become a potential treatment for severe depression.

Source: Science Daily


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