It does appear that with the legalization of weed in 2018 – there has been many steps taken to explore the potential benefits of other ‘illicit’ drugs. One of those being the magic mushroom!
In a small clinical trial, MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) patients took two doses of psilocybin with accompanying psychotherapy showed a decrease in depressive symptoms. The even greater news is that these therapeutic side effects lasted up to 4 weeks allowing for minimal depressive side effects.
So why is this so important? Well it is important to note that according to the National Institute of Mental Health – approximately 17.3 million adults in the US have experienced some kind of depressive episode.
Right now – the leading therapy for those suffering from MDD is a combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy. For many this has been an effective route however, many are looking for an alternative option.
Why try mushrooms for depression?
Let’s chat about the current common therapy option – as we stated before most often those suffering from MDD are prescribed a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressants. Those antidepressants are ketamine-like drugs that have proven to be effective but do have some side effects.
According to the FDA – the current use of ketamines is effective and can last up to 2-3 days after treatment but they still carry some difficult side effects. Some people who have taken these ketamine like drugs have complained about a feeling of numbness, challenges speaking and an overall bizarre or strange feeling.
Not only do these ketamine-like drugs pose some mental and physical side effects it is also important to note the addictive qualities of these types of drugs. There have been studies done about low-dose ketamine treatments that have led to thought impairments and possibility of drug abuse.
So – why try mushrooms for depression? Well we think the reasons are clear – but just to make it clear, the use of psilocybin does not lead to drug abuse or the potential for an overall bizarre feeling.
As studies continue it has been proven that there are great positive benefits to the use of psilocybin as an antidepressant. It is important to note that the use of the psilocybin as an antidepressant offers the MDD patient a treatment with low addictive properties. Psilocybin research continues to branch out to explore the positive attributes this drug has for depression.
One study completed by John Hopkins University added to the validity of the studies on mushrooms effectiveness for depression – this adds great quality to all previous studies.
The study goes on to state that the use of mushrooms against drug resistant depression has proven to be very effective.
Mushrooms & MIcrodose
How does the Magic Mushroom clinical trial work?
In the John Hopkins clinical trial – which ran from August 2017 to April 2019 – recruited adults who suffered from MDD but were not currently taking antidepressants and did not suffer from any suicidal attempts, psychotic disorders or hospitalization. Patients a part of the study were subjected to one of two situations – either an immediate treatment group or a delayed treatment group.
The 24 patients who were involved participated for 8 weeks. This involved 18 in-person visits and 2 days for psilocybin treatment.
The two groups were then subjected to different timelines for the treatment in order to monitor the effects. Those in the immediate treatment group were given psilocybin treatment during an 11 hour psychotherapy session. There was also an allowance of 1.6 week break between the first and second dose of psilocybin. The delayed treatment group on the other hand waited 8-weeks before receiving their psilocybin therapy.
Severity of Depression Reduced after using Magic Mushrooms
When the patients enrolled in the study they were monitored for their level of depression, most had a score that demonstrated moderate depression. Those in the immediate treatment group demonstrated some significant changes within the first 5 weeks of the trial. Many dropped from a moderate depression to a mild depression.
It was proven that after 1 week of psilocybin treatment 67% of the patients experienced a decrease in the severity of depressive symptoms. After 4 weeks – that number increased to 71%.
Even more impressive was the fact that after 1 week – 58% of the cohort no longer classified as clinically depressed. And after 4 weeks – 54% of all participants were no longer clinically depressed.
Clinical Trials Don’t Answer All Questions
There has been discussion about the limitations related to this particular study. For example – the individuals involved do not effectively represent society as the representation was very limited.
There is acknowledgement by the scientists of the need to provide proper representation as all people are at risk of suffering some kind of depressive episode.
Not only is the trial limited with the sample of patients – but it is also limited in its length. The study does not explore the long term impacts of psilocybin treatment for depression.
And lastly – the lack of a placebo group also puts the study into question. But these questions are not abnormal – but answering them will provide a stronger look into the impact psilocybin treatment can have on clinical depression.
Magic Mushrooms and depression
Although many questions remain about the official clinical use of psilocybin for depression in relation to the John Hopkins study – it is clear that it does offer the possibility for a new choice of antidepressant. Considering the side effects of the current ketamine-like drugs this chance for a change to something with little addictive properties could be life changing for many.
Whether you choose to use psilocybin to treat your depression, alter your general mood or to just escape this reality – the benefits are strong and the side effects are little. What more could you ask for!