The naturally occurring psychedelic compound psilocybin can significantly reduce symptoms of depression, according to data from the largest study of its kind ever conducted.
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LONDON – The naturally occurring psychedelic compound psilocybin can significantly reduce the symptoms of depression, according to data from the largest study of its kind ever conducted.
Psilocybin was given to 233 patients who had tried at least two antidepressants in the past with little success, suggesting the compound could have tremendous benefits for those suffering from difficult-to-treat depression.
After receiving the psilocybin, the patients would go into a “dream-like” state for four to six hours and leave the clinic once they had returned to their normal state.
The study found that a 25 mg dose of psilocybin given along with psychological support triggered a reduction in depression levels three weeks after treatment.
The study, published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, was conducted internationally by London-based COMPASS Pathways.
Around 100 million people worldwide suffer from treatment-resistant depression, and as such the study’s findings are a step in the right direction, according to James Rucker, a consultant psychiatrist and senior clinical lecturer at King’s College London, who was involved in the learning.
“Our task now is to investigate psilocybin in larger studies with more participants for treatment-resistant depression and to compare it with both placebo and established treatments,” Rucker said, according to a press release from King’s College London.
The drugs were tested at doses of 1mg, 10mg and 25mg and the side effects recorded in all groups were headache, nausea and suicidal ideation.
However, according to Ravi Das, an associate professor at University College London Institute of Mental Health, there were not the same number of “majorly depressed” participants in each dosing group, which “the paper does not appear to acknowledge,” as reported by Portal.
Critics have also raised concerns that this could lead to an increase in the use of magic mushrooms in non-pharmaceutical settings.