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Depression? Help hallucinogenic mushrooms

14 June 2016, 10:15

Scientists claim that hallucinogenic compounds, which are contained in some fungi, can help in the development of drugs from depression.

Psychedelic (causing mental and physical impairment of body functions), the effect of certain species of fungi is associated with the substance contained in it - psilocybin, and scientists believe that this substance can help people with addiction to alcohol, anxiety, neuroses (obsessive). As some studies have shown, people who take psychedelics are less prone to suicides and less susceptible to psychological stress.

The action of psilocybin is analogous to antidepressants, it acts on receptors in the brain and, according to scientists, it can be useful in the treatment of depressive conditions.

For the treatment of depression, antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy are now most commonly used, but in 1 out of 5 cases treatment is ineffective, in addition, relapses often occur.

In the Imperial College (London), experts led by Professor Robin Carhart-Harris studied the effect of psilocybin on the condition of people with depressive disorders. The study involved 12 people (6 men and women each) who had mild and severe manifestations of depression. Each of the participants received 2 courses of antidepressants, but the treatment did not lead to the expected result. All but one volunteer attended a therapist. In the history of the family, the participants in the study had no psychotic disorders, the relatives did not suffer from any mental disorders, alcohol or drug dependence.

Scientists for each volunteer prescribed 2 courses of psilocybin - in the first week of 10 milligrams, the second for 25 milligrams. The treatment was supervised by psychiatrists, in a special room with dim lighting and music. Doctors throughout the treatment period helped patients and monitored their condition.

During the treatment, as well as after the end of the course of psilocybin, the participants were given a magnetic resonance imaging. As a result, scientists have found that maintenance therapy with psilocybin has a positive effect on the condition of patients, in addition, the drug is safe and well tolerated. Three months after the end of the course of treatment, half of the participants decreased the symptoms of depression. 

Specialists note that psychedelic effect is observed after 30-60 minutes after taking the drug. The volunteers did not show any serious adverse reactions, before the drug the patients felt anxious, but after psilocybin began to act the excitement passed. Nine people had confusion, 4 experienced temporary nausea, and four others were being harassed for a headache.

After 7 days, in all patients, experts noted improvements, in 8 - temporary remission. After 3 months, 7 people of the condition continued to improve, 5 of 7 people had a remission stage.

According to scientists, despite the fact that psilocybin, like antidepressants, acts on the receptors of the brain, it acts faster.

According to the authors of the study, it is necessary to conduct a number of additional studies to confirm the effectiveness of psilocybin and compare its effect with the action of other drugs used to treat depression.

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Medical expert editor

Portnov Alexey Alexandrovich

Education: Kiev National Medical University. A.A. Bogomolets, Specialty - "General Medicine"

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