Study raises new possibilities of treating depression with magic mushroom compound

Psilocybin appears to be capable of reducing depressive symptoms in patients, but scientists say more investigation needed, reports Samuel Lovett

Thursday 15 April 2021 00:14
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<p>Various cultures have long utilised psychedelic substances as part of traditional medicine and spiritual rituals</p>

Various cultures have long utilised psychedelic substances as part of traditional medicine and spiritual rituals

S

cientists are hopeful that a psychedelic compound unique to magic mushrooms could one day be used to treat people suffering from depression, after a new study showed it performed at least as effectively as a leading antidepressant currently prescribed to patients.

Researchers at Imperial College London found that psilocybin, a powerful hallucinogen that has similar effects to LSD, was capable of treating people with moderate-to-severe depression when combined with therapeutic support.

In a phase-two trial of 59 patients, the psychedelic was compared with an antidepressant called escitalopram, and worked more quickly in reducing self-reported depression scores.

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