The psilocybin in magic mushrooms might relieve symptoms of depression
(Mirror Daily, United States) – Although magic mushrooms are now illegal, people have been using the hallucinogen component in it for many years. This component, called psilocybin, might have some benefits for a certain group of people. Researchers from Imperial College, London, developed a controlled study, and discovered this psychoactive component could ease the symptoms of depression.
Magic mushrooms might ‘kick’ people out of depression
Humans have been using magic mushrooms for thousands of years, and some of their positive effects are quite popular. Therefore, researchers have decided to see if these hallucinogens are really that good, so they started analyzing the effect of psilocybin on the brain.
After performing several brain scans on the participants, they observed how this component instantly had the effect of an antidepressant. However, the study, published in the journal Science Advances, has its limitations. The number of participants was quite small, and it lacked a control group, which should have received a placebo.
Researchers gathered 19 people with depression and gave them two doses of magic mushrooms in a highly controlled environment. Then, they performed fMRI brain scans on them both before and after taking their doses. The symptoms of depression were carefully assessed through questionnaires.
Researchers need more results before reaching a conclusion
Researchers were aware that people who took magic mushrooms experienced feelings of relief right after the dose. Now, they were able to prove these feelings did actually occur, as the depressive symptoms got reduced. The fMRI scans showed how psilocybin affected the area of the brain which controls emotional responses.
All patients reported feeling relieved and ‘rebooted’ after taking magic mushrooms. Therefore, psilocybin could give them that short boost which was enough to help them overcome the symptoms of crippling depression. However, researchers insisted on warning people about the results.
The study is only at the beginning, and more results are needed before establishing the effect of magic mushrooms on a wider sample of people. Therefore, depression patients should not attempt taking the drugs in a non-controlled environment, as the hallucinogens might have unwanted effects.
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