A study carried out by researchers at the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London has led to breakthrough discoveries about the impact psilocybin, or magic mushrooms, has on depression. The study found that treating depression with psilocybin may be at least as effective, if not more effective as antidepressants.
According to researchers, in the most rigorous trial to date assessing the therapeutic potential of a ‘psychedelic’ compound, researchers compared two sessions of psilocybin therapy with a six-week course of a leading antidepressant (a selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor called escitalopram) in 59 people with moderate-to-severe depression.
The results of the study were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. According to the study, both groups had reduced symptoms of depression, however, the reductions occurred more quickly in the psilocybin group and were greater in magnitude.
After six weeks, the self-reported results from the patients suggested the psilocybin was just as effective as the pharmaceutical, and in many cases showed a slightly bigger – but ultimately statistically insignificant – improvement in symptoms.
“We strongly believe that the … psychotherapy component is as important as the drug action,” Imperial College London neuroscientist Robin Carhart‑Harris said.