For many of us, magic mushrooms are nothing more than a thing to be used in jokes. For a certain category of people, it is also a recreational drug. However, there is one more use that can become standard: scientists have suggested using psychedelic hallucinations caused by these mushrooms to treat those suffering from treatment-resistant depression.
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One shroom makes you larger
Psilocybin mushrooms, which are commonly called magic mushrooms or shrooms, are notorious for being able to induce psychedelic hallucinations, and that is why they are so popular both among those looking for unusual feelings and in culture, where dozens of movies, especially comedies, use the mushrooms to show how ludicrous it is when a person consumes them and experiences bursts of laughter and other symptoms.
However funny it may seem to most people, magic mushrooms are prohibited in many countries, because they are mind-altering and can cause disorders, such as panic disorder, hallucinogen persisting perception disorder, etc.
Despite the global ban of psilocybin, researchers do not stop trying to find what applications there may be in terms of using these mushrooms for medical purposes. In a new study, they claim the trippy mush can be used to treat drug-resistant depression.
And one shroom makes you small
A team of researchers from Imperial College London reported that psilocybin, a chemical found is magic mushrooms and causing hallucinations, can be used as a medication in patients with depression that fails to respond to common drugs.
According to them, the substance can change attitudes and beliefs in both healthy volunteers and those with the disease. In the course of the experiment, they asked a group of patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression to take two doses of the chemical divided by a one week gap. Before and after the administration of psilocybin, the investigators measured the participants’ nature-relatedness, or their level of connection to nature, and authoritarianism. There were only seven volunteers in the group, but the scientists say the findings suggest the mushrooms can be a new medicine.
After the two doses were administered, the team measured the two parameters again and found that while authoritarianism appeared to decrease, the level of nature-relatedness increased. The two doses of psilocybin induced significant changes that remained consistent for quite a long time – after 12 months, the changes could still be seen. The scientists also compared the results of taking psilocybin with those of healthy participants who did not take the substance. The investigators noted that while most people are quite conservative and cling to their beliefs for a long time, the changes seen in the experiment group suggest magic mushrooms can be a new option for those who do not respond to standard medications.
One of the previous studies demonstrated that taking psilocybin is associated with changes in brain activity resulting in alleviation of depression symptoms. The volunteers who took part in that project reported they felt as if their brains were rebooted or defragged – they appeared to break out of the depressive state and feel better afterwards.
However, one should not be taking magic mushrooms for whatever purpose, as a drug is still a drug, and the way it alters mind is not a thing that can benefit health: it is not forbidden for nothing.