Magic Mushroom Compound 'Promising' Against Depression: Stud
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A psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms is as good at treating symptoms of depression as conventional drugs, a small study by British researchers has found. Scientists said that psilocybin performed just as well as escitalopram, a widely-used antidepressant. The findings, also indicated that magic mushrooms could have a positive effect on improving someone's well-being.

What did the trial involve?

Participants were given a meaningful dose of either psilocybin or escitalopram, plus either a placebo or a negligible dose of psilocybin, and then quizzed on a range of topics such as sleep, energy, appetite, mood and suicidal thoughts. It is one of the first studies, which was carried out over a six-week period, to test the psychedelic head-to-head with a traditional depression treatment.

But the psychedelic drug performed considerably better when it came to measures of work and social functioning, mental well-being and the ability to feel happy. Treatment response, defined as a reduction of at least 50% in depression scores from baseline, was seen in 70% of people in the psilocybin group and 48% in the escitalopram group.

Results also showed that remission of symptoms – measured as a score of 0 to 5 at week six – was seen in 57% of the psilocybin group compared with 28% in the escitalopram group.

What does this mean for treating mental health problems?

The researcher warned that while these were initial findings, saying patients with depression should not try to self-medicate with magic mushrooms. The latest study was conducted under specific controlled conditions with two therapists and a regulated dose.

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