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Magic mushrooms could treat mental health conditions

magic mushrooms
magic mushrooms Image credit: livescience.com

Here’s a great story for our readers who enjoy going on a trip without travelling very far…Scientists have concluded the psychedelic drug psilocybin found in magic mushrooms can treat those suffering from their mental health.

That’s not all, the drug has no short or long-term side effects and helps control eating disorders.

We haven’t made this story up because we are off our heads at the moment (disclaimer – we are not!) a study by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (loPPN) has found providing psilocybin is given in doses of 10mg or 25mg to up to six patients there is little chance it will cause any harm.

On a serious note, the research suggests people suffering from mental health conditions such as depression and PTSD could benefit from the drug.

The same may apply for magic mushrooms, although to date there has been no human trials to support the theory.

A group of 89 participants signed up to the trial which saw 60 of them receiving a dose of either 10mg or 25mg of psilocybin.

The remaining participants were given a placebo drug.

All of the volunteers were monitored between six to eight hours and received psychological support.

Over a 12 week period they were assessed for their ability to sustain attention, memory, planning and emotional behaviour.

The study was led by Dr James Rucker, an honorary consultant from the National Institute for Health Research and the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.

Rucker told The Journal of Psychopharmacology: ‘This rigorous study is an important first demonstration that the simultaneous administration of psilocybin can be explored further.

'If we think about how psilocybin therapy (if approved) may be delivered in the future, it's important to demonstrate the feasibility and the safety of giving it to more than one person at the same time, so we can think about how we scale up the treatment.'

He added: 'This therapy has promise for people living with serious mental health problems, like treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and PTSD.

'They can be extremely disabling, distressing and disruptive, but current treatment options for these conditions are ineffective or partially effective for many people.'

Professor Guy Goodwin the chief medical officer at COMPASS Pathways, said: 'This study was an early part of our clinical development programme for COMP360 psilocybin therapy.

'It explored the safety and feasibility of simultaneous psilocybin administration, with one to one support, in healthy participants, and provided a strong foundation to which we have now added positive results from our Phase IIb trial in 233 patients with TRD, and from our open-label study of patients taking SSRI antidepressants alongside psilocybin therapy.

'We are looking forward to finalising plans for our phase three programme, which we expect to begin in Q3 2022.'

Looks like our weekends at Glastonbury Festival may have done us some good after all!

Stage two of the study has now been completed which explored the efficacy and safety of psilocybin in people living with TRD and PTSD.