Therapeutic Properties of Mushroom Helps Battle Depression

Magic mushrooms to help patients cope with depression and anxiety

According to a study published in journal Scientific Reports in October 2017, a type of mushroom has the capacity to help battle depression by resetting the brain.

Scientists at Imperial College London conducted a study on 20 patients suffering from depression. The patients were administered with psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. These patients were selected depending on one major factor—they did not undergo any other treatment for depression, prior to or in combination with psilocybin. Patients were first given a 10mg dose of psilocybin, followed by 25mg dose, the week after.

Scans of each patient were taken prior and post treatment. The outcome of the treatment was effective, as patients reported to have felt better a week after treatment, while half of them reported the sustained felling of betterment even after five weeks. The post treatment brain scans showed that there was less blood flow in the amygdala—the part of the brain that processes emotions.

Brain scans while on drugs showed disintegration or less connectivity between different parts of the brain. Researchers revealed that this disconnection is responsible for loss of sense of self or ego, when an individual is on drugs. Scans taken after intake of drugs showed the presence of more connectivity and integration, suggesting that psychedelics function by breaking down old patterns in the brain and making up new ones.

The study proved the expected results, however, this was a small study conducted on a small group of people, without a control group. Also, therapeutic benefits of the mushrooms are dependent on controlled environments and might not be good for mental health if taken in large amounts.

Scientists at the Imperial College London are planning on reaching out a larger group for their next study, by testing the efficiency of psychedelics against antidepressants. Positive results have the potential to help patients around the world cope with depression effectively.

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