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Magic mushroom treatment for depression one step closer after psilocybin passes safety test


(Newsweek) – Scientists hope the active ingredient in magic mushrooms is a step closer to being used as a treatment for depression, after it passed a clinical safety trial.

In what was the largest controlled study of psilocybin, researchers at King’s College London in the U.K. tested the drug on 89 volunteers aged around 35. They found psilocybin caused no serious problems, including to participants’ cognition and emotional functions.

The team at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience gave the participants either 10 or 25mg of psilocybin, or a placebo drug to the control group. The drugs were randomly assigned, and the subjects didn’t know which they would receive. The subjects were healthy, and didn’t have any past history of mental illness, including major depression, schizophrenia, psychosis or bipolar disorder, according to the researchers.

The participants received one-to-one support and supervision during the sessions, which lasted around six hours. They were allowed to go home once the “acute” effects of the drugs had worn off according to the researchers. After taking the psychedelic substance, the volunteers were encouraged to relax and engage in introspection.

As the experiment unfolded, the investigators made notes of the participants’ vital signs, and checked whether they appeared to have an increased risk of suicide.

The volunteers were assessed before and after taking psilocybin, and visited a therapist to discuss their experiences.

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