They have kept you extra happy during makeshift psychedelic parties, they’ve made you see do incredibly(stupid) things, they’ve taken you trips to underland on lazy Saturdays and they’re hopefully the only thing you’ve contracted from the hippie chick you did last summer.
Psilocybin mushrooms, also known as psychedelic mushrooms or magic mushrooms, are mushrooms that contain the psychedelic compounds psilocybin and psilocin. They have chemical properties that make the consumer experience hallucinations which are popularly known as the mushroom trip. While for centuries, humans have been using magic mushshrooms and other hallucinogens for their mind-expanding properties. Research and popular use of psychedelic drugs like mushrooms and LSD surged in the 1960s as they entered mainstream culture.
But if science is to be believed they could also have been the reason why you are not suffering from crippling depression. According to a study published in the Lancet Psychiatry Journal by a team of scientists from Imperial college London, it has been found that a hallucinogenic chemical found in magic mushrooms has successfully lifted severe depression in previously untreatable patients.
Scientists at Imperial College London induced intense psychedelic trips in 12 people using high doses of the banned substance psilocybin. A week after the experience all the volunteers were depression-free, and three months later five still had no symptoms of the condition.
The psilocybin is believed to cause relief from depression by targeting receptors in the brain and disrupting the Default Mode Network, which is responsible for sense of self and is overactive in depressed people.
The authors are now seeking further funding from the Medical Research Council and other bodies to carry out fuller trials.
But before you go popping shrooms, you may want to hear what Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, the lead author on the study has to say:
“Psychedelic drugs have potent psychological effects and are only given in our research when appropriate safeguards are in place, such as careful screening and professional therapeutic support. I wouldn’t want members of the public thinking they can treat their own depressions by picking their own magic mushrooms. That kind of approach could be risky.”