Study Reveals Magic Mushrooms May Rapidly Treat Depression

Since the onset of the pandemic, depression has become more prevalent among the world's population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global prevalence of depression and anxiety increased by 25%. Multiple factors contributed to the rise in the depression, such as increased loneliness, fear, loss of loved ones, and disruption of mental health care.

Commonly, depression is treated with medications called antidepressants. According to the Cleveland Clinic, these medications can cause a range of side effects such as dizziness, low libido, insomnia, and suicidal ideations in those aged 18-24 years old. Usually, antidepressants must be taken for 4-8 weeks in order to reap the full benefits. Some people elect to use natural methods, such as herbal supplements and yoga, to manage their depression (via Healthline). New research has identified a natural treatment that shows promise in improving the severity of depression.

Psilocybin shows improvement of depression on brain scans

A study published in Nature Medicine has shown that psilocybin, a magic mushroom drug, can have anti-depressant effects. Two trials were conducted among 60 patients at the National Institute for Health Research Imperial Clinical Research Facility. Some of the participants received psilocybin while others received a different antidepressant. The brain scans of participants in both trials revealed that psilocybin had a rapid, sustained antidepressant effect. After the use of psilocybin, the functional networks of the brain became more flexible and functionally interconnected. Over the last 15 years, 6 other clinical trials have demonstrated substantial improvements in depression with psilocybin therapy (via USA Today).

It is important to note that trial participants were given the psilocybin therapy in a safe environment that included mental health professionals and brain scans. Therefore, researchers advise that people should not self-administer this drug. Although psilocybin treatment shows promise in treating depression, the therapeutic benefits aren't understood well (via USA Today).