Drugs

'Shrooms' Could be Useful in Treating Depression Says London Research Team

Boxes containing magic mushrooms sit on a counter at a coffee and smart shop in Rotterdam November 28, 2008.
Boxes containing magic mushrooms sit on a counter at a coffee and smart shop in Rotterdam November 28, 2008. Jerry Lampen/Reuters

New studies suggest ‘magic mushrooms’ may have lasting benefits for depressed people, enhancing personal memories and lowering brain activity associated with depression.

David Nutt and Robin Carhart-Harris of Imperial College London led two studies of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, or shrooms. They found less brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, typically hyperactive in depressed patients, and enhanced memories.

“Our findings support the idea that psilocybin facilitates access to personal memories and emotions,” Carhart-Harris said in a statement. “This effect needs to be investigated further but it suggests that used in combination with psychotherapy, psilocybin might help people recall positive life events and reverse pessimistic mindsets.”

Shrooms are considered a schedule I substance in the U.S., defined as having a high potential for abuse and no legitimate medical purpose.

The studies are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the British Journal of Psychiatry

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