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Psychotropic drugs

Psilocybin shows potential as treatment for depression

First of its kind clinical trial shows drug found in ‘magic mushrooms’ reduces symptoms of severe depression.

Source: Shutterstock.com

The psychedelic drug found in ‘magic mushrooms’, psilocybin, relieved symptoms of severe depression in a small trial of 12 patients

Psilocybin, the psychedelic drug found in ‘magic mushrooms’, has previously been found to help patients with drug addictions, end-of-life anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorders.

Researchers from Imperial College London conducted a small trial to test the drug in moderate to severe depression.

A group of 12 men and women were given two single doses of psilocybin (10mg and 25mg) a week apart. Patients’ average score on the Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptoms, which determines a patient’s level of depression before, during and after treatment, dropped from 19.2 out of 27, indicating severe depression, to 7.4 one week after the second dose (P=0.002). The average score three months later was 10.0, indicating mild depression (P=0.003).

Reporting their findings in The Lancet (online, 17 May 2016)[1], the researchers say further trials with more rigorous designs are needed to fully explore the therapeutic potential of psilocybin.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/CP.2016.20201222

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Supplementary images

  • "Magic" mushrooms that contain psilocybin

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