Magic mushroom, I'm sure, all of us have heard of this before. It's a hallucinogenic plant that when eaten induces hallucinations. Recently, researchers found out that magic mushrooms, or psilocybin can help alleviate anxiety and depression in terminally ill patients.
Psilocybin act on the receptors of the brain called, 5-HT2A, which causes its effects such as euphoria, hallucinations, and extreme emotions. As early as the 1940's it has been used as medicine to people with a brain disorder, but not until 1970 when it has been classified as a controlled substance.
published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, researched on the psilocybin's effect on people with depression and anxiety due to cancer. Researchers introduced moderate doses of the mushrooms to participants, and subjected them to therapy sessions facilitated by psychiatrists.
After six months, the result of the experiment was jaw-dropping! 80 percent of the participants said they have profound decreased anxiety, especially anxieties related to death. The patients had an incredible sense of optimism, some even said the experiment was life-changing.
"Before beginning the study, it wasn't clear to me that this treatment would be helpful, since cancer patients may experience profound hopelessness in response to their diagnosis, which is often followed by multiple surgeries and prolonged chemotherapy," said Roland Griffiths, a psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins medical school and lead author of the Hopkins study in an interview
. "I could imagine that cancer patients would receive psilocybin, look into the existential void and come out even more fearful. However, the positive changes in attitudes, moods, and behavior that we documented in healthy volunteers were replicated in cancer patients."
Though researchers are not sure yet on how long does a single dose of shrooms can positively affect the mental health of participants, the experiment was still a valuable proof that psilocybin can help with depression.