Magic Mushrooms Ingredient May Lessen Depression Symptoms

Psilocybin, the active ingredient in “magic mushrooms,” can help treat anxiety and depression, according to two new studies that involved people with advanced cancer. U.S. researchers say a single dose of psilocybin can alleviate symptoms for six months or longer. “I think it is a big deal both in terms of the findings and in terms of the history and what it represents,” said Stephen Ross, a director of addiction psychiatry at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. Research on such chemicals “was part of psychiatry and vanished and now it’s been brought back,” he said. The Guardian reports that volunteers had profound spiritual experiences that made many participants “rethink life and death, ended their despair, and brought about lasting improvement in the quality of their lives.” The Journal of Psychopharmacology published the results of the research with commentaries from experts in palliative care and psychiatry, many of whom had backed similar research independently in their careers.