Magic mushrooms has unexpectedly helped people with severe depression who are not helped pills
Scientists from the universities of London and Cardiff conducted research into the substances psilocybin derived from magic mushrooms Psilocybe. It has demonstrated efficacy in the treatment of chronic depression.
Fungi of the genus Psilocybe are known for their ability to enter the person into an altered state of consciousness. These mushrooms are extremely common in nature. Of these, there are the active ingredient — alkaloid psilocybin. Chemical structure of psilocybin is similar to the neurotransmitter serotonin — the «happiness hormone».
British psychiatrists decided to test how psilocybin will affect patients with severe chronic depression which does not respond to treatment. For their study, they invited a group of 19 volunteers, who suffered from prolonged depression. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in patients examined the state of the brain before the experiment, after which they began receiving psilocybin.
At the beginning of the experiment, they received 10 mg, and in a week another 25 mg of the drug. Effect on reception were quite strong, and all participants almost immediately felt relief of symptoms of depression. According to scientists, patients compared their new as to restart the computer.
«Some of our patients have described the feeling of «reset» after treatment and often used a computer analogy,» they write. The effect of psilocybin continued until five weeks after his admission.
MRI scans also showed significant changes in the activity of those brain areas that are directly related to mood. So, there was a noticeable decrease in blood flow in the amygdala region of the brain, which plays a key role in shaping emotional reactions, and in the temporal lobes.
Despite these impressive results, scientists still remain cautious and are against possible self-treatment of people with mushrooms or their components. In addition, as noted in the article, the sample size of 19 people is not enough to confirm effective treatment.
«We need more research to see if you can repeat this positive effect on larger number of patients. But the initial findings are exciting, they way for further research,» write the authors.
A study published in the journal Scientific Reports.