In a new recent study, mushrooms containing psilocybin have been found to treat symptoms of depression and PTSD.
A study was conducted at Yale School of Medicine in which researchers looked into the psychoactive ingredient found in some mushrooms, administering it to mice as part of the study.
When given to mice, researchers found that psilocybin causes neutron size and density in the front cortex of the brain to increase by 10% - which could lead to a “structural remodelling” with positive effects on the brain.
“Psilocybin is fascinating because it has an incredibly short half-life, which means that it gets out of the body quickly and yet has long-lasting behavioural effects,” said professor of psychiatry and neuroscience Alex Kwan.
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“We’ve seen that psilocybin can be effective in treating depression and other neuropsychiatric disorders. In this study, we wanted to investigate this mystery by observing individual connections in the mouse brain.”
Another recent study revealed that magic mushrooms could be “just as effective” as prescribed antidepressants, offering a “promising alternative” to chemically produced drugs.
Psilocybin stimulates serotonin receptors in the brain much like LSD and other psychedelics, and often causes “spiritual experiences” when taken in larger doses.
“I was inspired by Dr. Ronald Duman, who studied ketamine’s effect on spine density,” said Kwan on the new study.
"However, we chose to use psilocybin because it is so well-studied clinically. There is currently a large phase two clinical trial investigating the effects of psilocybin on major depressive disorder."
Research into psychedelics was stopped in the 1970s following America’s War On Drugs, and is now slowly being revived as positive research comes from the study into drugs such as psilocybin, LSD, mescaline, and others.
Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter