New research shows that the psychedelic drug psilocybin, found in so-called magic mushrooms, can be as good as conventional medications at reducing symptoms of depression.
Magic mushrooms could become a new drug for depression. A new study from the Imperial College London Center for Drug Research, which examines the effects of various substances on mental health, presents findings showing that psilocybin is as effective as standard SSRI antidepressants. BBC reports.
SSRI worked as well
But the researchers warn that this is a small study and that more research is needed. The study included 59 people who were divided into two groups who received either psilocybin or the SSRI drug escitalopram. The study showed that both groups had reduced symptoms of their depression.
Their primary measurement points were self-perceived symptoms of depression based on patients’ responses to questions about sleep, energy, appetite, mood, and suicidal thoughts. These questions are largely negatively focused: They ask if someone feels sad, but not if they feel happy. BBC writes.
In some respects, psilocybin did better than the SSRIs. This applies to things that fall outside the researchers’ primary measurement points such as work, social function, mental well-being and the ability to feel happy.
“It delves deeper into the root cause.”
Study author Dr. Robin Carhart Harris He firmly believes in the power of drugs to overcome mental illness:
“They are more about the root cause of the suffering than the application of the patches or the relief of symptoms,” he says.
This study is the first of its kind to compare a narcotic substance with traditional medicine. According to the BBC.
The study did not prove that psilocybin is a better treatment than the standard treatment with escitalopram for major depression. However, it does give some interesting clues that it might as well be, “comments Jay Goodwin, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford study.