Psilocybin: One Dose of Magic Mushroom Psychedelic Can Ease Major Depression

From Alex Millson, published at Thu Aug 31 2023

A single dose of psilocybin can lead to a “rapid, robust, and sustained reduction” in symptoms of severe depression when taken in conjunction with psychotherapy, according to a new study.

Patients across the US were given either a 25mg dose of the drug, found in magic mushrooms, or a B vitamin, before spending between seven and 10 hours with therapists. They were encouraged to cover their eyes and listen to a curated playlist during the session.

Afterward, they were invited to discuss their experiences with the same therapists. Depression levels were measured before treatment and five times during the following 43 days.

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Participants who received psilocybin showed a “clinically significant reduction in depressive symptoms,” and fared significantly better than those given the vitamin that served as a placebo, the study found. The benefit was maintained throughout the following six weeks, according to the report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study adds to a growing body of evidence that shows psychedelics can help patients open up and engage with therapists on subjects they often avoid or suppress.

“Psilocybin treatment was associated with a clinically significant sustained reduction in depressive symptoms and functional disability, without serious adverse events,” researchers concluded. “These findings add to increasing evidence that psilocybin — when administered with psychological support — may hold promise as a novel intervention for major depressive disorder.”

In July, Australia gave a world first approval to use MDMA and psilocybin — better known as ecstasy and magic mushrooms — to treat post-traumatic stress disorder and treatment-resistant depression.