A new study has found that psychedelic mushrooms (aka magic mushrooms) can be used to treat depression without suppressing emotions like anti-depressants do. The drug, which is still considered illegal, has shown to be effective in treating patients who have shown no signs of improvement from their current medication.
According to the study, which was published in the journal, Neuropharmacology, most patients who have taken magic mushrooms were reported to experience a decline in their depression symptoms. More so, researchers said that it could also “cure deep psychological wounds”.
The main ingredient in magic mushrooms that counteracts depression is believed to be psilocybin. This compound has long been known for its therapeutic abilities, especially to people with depression. Researchers think this has something to do with how the drug increases emotional responsiveness in the brain.
As part of the study, researchers wanted to see the effects of psilocybin on 20 patients diagnosed with moderate to severe depression who were resistant to normal medication. While a previous study pointed out that psilocybin is able to refresh brain circuits in depressed people, researchers wanted this time around to see the effects of the drug on the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of the brain responsible for processing emotional responses.
Participants underwent fMRI scans before taking the drug. Then, on two different sessions one week apart, they took doses of psilocybin. They were scanned using fMRI again the morning after receiving the second dose.
While under fMRI monitoring, the participants were shown several images involving faces with fearful, happy, or neutral expressions. This is when researchers looked that the effects of psilocybin on the amygdala.
Most participants said that psilocybin eased their depressive symptoms, some even experiencing the benefits even five weeks later.
“It has been proposed that decreased amygdala responsiveness to negative emotional stimuli under SSRIs is a key component of their therapeutic action,” said the researchers.
Image Source: Geograph
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