A single dose of the hallucinogenic chemical psilocybin was given to 19 individuals in this little trial. Half of the patients no longer felt depressed and their brain activity changed for around 5 weeks.
However, the Imperial College London team advises against self-medicating. A number of modest studies have suggested that psilocybin may play a role in helping with depression, functioning as a “lubricant for the mind,” allowing patients to break free from a loop of depressive symptoms.
Though, it was unclear what effect it would have on brain function in the long run. Imperial College researchers used MRI brain images before and after psilocybin therapy (when the patients were “sober” again). Psilocybin had an effect on two crucial areas of the brain, according to the study, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The amygdala, which is important for processing emotions like fear and anxiety, became less active. The higher the reduction, the better the reported symptoms will be. After consuming psilocybin, the default-mode network, which is a collaboration of several brain regions, became more stable.
The sad brain was “clammed up,” according to Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, Imperial’s head of psychedelic research, and the psychedelic experience “reset” it. He shared, “Patients were very ready to use this analogy. Without any priming they would say, ‘I’ve been reset, reborn, rebooted’, and one patient said his brain had been defragged and cleaned up.”
However, this was a small study with no “control” group of healthy persons with whom the brain scans could be compared. Furthermore, larger trials are required before psilocybin can be acknowledged as a depression treatment. New therapy approaches, on the other hand, are unquestionably required.
Professor Mitul Mehta from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, has concluded that what is impressive about these preliminary findings is that brain changes occurred in the networks that are involved in depression, after just a single dose of psilocybin. This is a big indicator that looks at the long-term mechanisms at play in these controlled studies.
There’s no doubt shrooms have helped many people get over their depression. It would be really great to see the developments of this natural antidote over time.
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