Magic mushroom treatment for depression: To micro dose or get completely blitzed. New research shows that magic mushrooms can help people with depression where other treatments have not worked. This gives new hope to long time depression sufferers. Psilocybin is the main mind-altering substance contained in magic mushrooms. It alters your perception, changes the meaning of time, sensory perceptions and alters your moods.
Magic mushroom treatment for depressionThis ground-breaking research questions the belief magic mushrooms negatively affect people’s mental health. Previous research shows some evidence of harm from magic mushrooms. This includes negative psychological effects and even leading to thoughts of suicide for some people. The psilocybin in magic mushrooms targets the same serotonin receptors of the brain that antidepressants target. And the current research suggests psilocybin could have similar results as man-made drugs. Antidepressants are the normal treatment for depression. But antidepressants do not work for one in five patients and they often relapse.
Antidepressants most commonly usedAntidepressants are one of the most commonly used drugs in the United states. In the period between 2011 and 2014, 12.7 percent of Americans over the age of 12 had taken antidepressants. The preliminary results of several studies show positive outcome using psilocybin for people with untreatable depression. But, it is only the beginning.
Psilocybin relieves depression in some patientsA 2016 study by Imperial College London looked at how psilocybin could help long-term depression sufferers. Six men and six women enrolled in the study. None of them were responding to traditional treatments. They had all had severe untreatable depression for an average of 17 years. All had taken two courses of antidepressants for a period of 6 weeks or more without success. also, eleven of the patients had also been psychotherapy without success. None of the patients came from a family with a history of depression or suicide. Also, they were not drug or alcohol dependent either.
10 milligrams dose of psilocybinAll participants had two days of treatment. The first day they had a dose of 10 milligrams of psilocybin. A week later they had a 25-milligram dose. Patients took the drug in a relaxing environment where they could lie down. The special treatment room had music playing and dim lighting. There were two psychiatrists in attendance at all times. The psychiatrists supported and watched over participants throughout the process. Patients experienced psychedelic effects up to an hour after taking psilocybin dose. These reached its full effect within three to four hours. Patients could go home 6 hours after taking the psilocybin.
Follow-up sessionsAll study participants attended a follow up session after the first dose. After the second dose they all had a magnetic resonance imaging scan. Follow-ups continued at 1, 2, 3 and 5 weeks after the second dose. And, then at 3 months. The results showed psilocybin, along with supportive therapy, is safe and well received. At this point half the participants had a reduction in symptoms of depression. A week after the second dose, there was an improvement in depression symptoms in all patients. Eight even went into temporary remission. At the 3-month mark, seven patients continued to improve. And, five out of them even continuing to experience remission. Another of the five subjects also experienced different levels of relapse.
Psilocybin works same as antidepressantsResearchers said psilocybin worked in the same way as antidepressants but acted faster. But, there needs to be more research done to confirm the long-term benefits of this treatment. This trial did not include a placebo group for comparison so more research is required in this area. University of Oxford Professor Philip Cowen said the results noted at three months were promising. He said this was a short time when people had a long-term illness so they needed to do more research. This is difficult as there is an intense debate into the harms of using recreational drugs. He said that it may be that the results could be influenced by the differences in people’s personalities. Other influences could be the different types of supportive therapy and people’s environment.
Small study with big resultsAnother small study in 2017 had a total of 19 patients. All had a single dose of psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient in magic mushrooms. Three patients dropped out of the study for various reasons leaving a final study group of 16. The results were 50 percent of patients had a drastic reduction in symptoms that lasted for 5 weeks. Conducted by an Imperial College of London team, they warn people not to self-medicate. The team did brain scans of all patients before and after taking the psilocybin. The scans showed it affected two areas of the brain:
- The default mode network of the brain became more stable.
- The amygdala became less active. The amygdala is the area of the brain that deals with emotions like anxiety and fear. The less active this area became the better the result for patients.