Psilocybin, the primary element in hallucinogenic mushrooms, has been shown to provide distinct benefits for persons suffering from depression. There were significant differences in brain rhythms linked with depression among those receiving psilocybin-assisted treatment and those in the comparison group. Along with these alterations in the brain, many people also experienced less depression.
Psilocybin-assisted treatment for depression as well as other diseases, including alcohol abuse disorder, has shown encouraging outcomes in clinical & animal trials. The mechanisms by which these medications alleviate patients’ symptoms remain largely a mystery to us.
Two prior small-scale psilocybin experiments yielded similar results. Psilocybin and an active placebo were administered to individuals with milder forms of depression in one study, while treatment-resistant depression was treated in the other (an SSRI antidepressant). These individuals had their brains imaged beforehand as well as after their medication, which involved psychotherapy.
Individuals with depression have an extremely linked and inflexible brain, particularly in areas related to cognition & attention. People using psilocybin had less brain connection in the same areas, while those taking an SSRI had no such problems, according to the results of this study. People with depression seemed to have increased connection between previously unconnected parts of their brain, according to the study’s findings. Psilocybin users’ brains become more organized as a consequence of these changes, according to the authors.
There was also a correlation between changes in the brain and an improved quality of life for patients whose brain scans indicated these changes at a higher level. And the effects lasted at least three weeks after the 2nd intake, when the research concluded.
Researchers’ results seem to confirm that psychedelics such as psilocybin may give an alternative to standard depression therapy that unfortunately does not work for many people suffering from the disease of depression.
The study was published in Nature Medicine.