Studies Look into Magic Mushrooms as Treatment for Depression
Psychedelic mushrooms, or magic mushrooms, may eventually be used to treat depression, based on two small studies published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the British Journal of Psychiatry.
One study involved inserting psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, into the blood of 30 study participants, as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners measured changes in their brain activity.
For this study, it was observed that psilocybin lead to decreased activity in the “hub” regions of the brain – areas of the brain that are especially well-connected to other areas.
The second study, on the other hand, involved 10 healthy volunteers. The results indicated that psilocybin boosted the participants’ recall of personal memories and their emotional well-being for up to two weeks. What this may indicate, the researchers said, is that psilocybin may be useful as an adjunct to psychotherapy.
David Nutt of the Department of Medicine at Imperial College London served as senior author for both studies. He shared: “Psychedelics are thought of as ‘mind-expanding’ drugs, so it has commonly been assumed that they work by increasing brain activity, but surprisingly, we found that psilocybin actually caused activity to decrease in areas that have the densest connections with other areas… These hubs constrain our experience of the world and keep it orderly. We now know that deactivating these regions leads to a state in which the world is experienced as strange.”
The researchers stressed, however, the need for further research as both studies only involved small groups of participants.Tags: depression medication, depression treatment, magic mushrooms, psychedelic mushrooms, treat depression with magic mushrooms, treat depression with psychedelic mushrooms