ARE MAGIC MUSHROOMS GOING TO CHANGE THE WAY WE TREAT DEPRESSION?

Are Magic Mushrooms Going to Change the Way We Treat Depression?
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ARE MAGIC MUSHROOMS GOING TO CHANGE THE WAY WE TREAT DEPRESSION?



Written by Simon Doherty
Photos and illustrations by Oliver Hibert and Liberty Cap Cottage
16 Monday 16th October 2017

 

Magic mushrooms are fun. Fact. Anyone who has ever spent 20 minutes finding and analysing the faces of the royal family in the corners of their own shadow will attest to that.

Despite being literally the easiest and cheapest (if you had time to pick them with that guy from work) way of skipping back and forth through the doors of perception they are still very illegal.

Which is a bit funny, right? Because a new study - published by Imperial College of London - has just concluded that they could have a pretty groundbreaking therapeutic application when it comes to treating depression.

The 19 participants in the study, who suffered from depression, did not respond well to traditional treatments such as antidepressants or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. Some were given a dose of psilocybin (the magical ingredient in mushies) and the others formed the control group.

 

The participants in the former condition reported an uplift in mood and some said it lasted up to five weeks. These findings were backed up by the results of fMRI scans which can track neurological activity in the brain. Researchers argued that the scans showed evidence of the neuron pathways in the brain being "reset". This, they believe, could push patients out of a depressive state.

 

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"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," Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of psychedelic research at Imperial College London, said.

"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’."

 

Surely if we are seeing therapeutic potential with mushies (and other studies have shown that they are the safest illegal drug around) it's time to rethink the substance's legal status.

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