The drug psilocybin from magic mushrooms can lead to long-term improvements in the severity of depressive symptoms, a small study has found.
The study, conducted by the Imperial College of London, looked at brain scans of 60 participants and combined two trials in which psilocybin was administered.
In the first trial, everyone got psilocybin, and in the second, some got psilocybin and others took a different type of antidepressant. The peer-reviewed study was published Monday in Nature Medicine.
“In both tears, the antidepressant response to psilocybin was rapid, sustained and correlated with decreases in fMRI brain network modularity, meaning that the antidepressant action of psilocybin may depend on a global increase in brain network integration,” the study read.
This means that the functional networks of the brain became more functionally connected and flexible after psilocybin treatment.
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The study shows the potential of psilocybin therapy to treat depression, but the study’s researchers say the therapeutic benefits are not yet well understood and a person suffering from depression should not self-administer this medicine.
The trial was conducted in addition to therapy with mental health professionals, and brain scans.
This is not the first trial to experiment with psilocybin. According to the study, in the last 15 years, at least six separate clinical trials have reported impressive improvements in depressive symptoms with psilocybin therapy.