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Psychadelics & Depression

May 27, 2016

Hallucinogenic drugs could lead to new treatments for intractable depression.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Treating depression with magic mushrooms. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Hallucinogenic mushrooms get their psychedelic properties from a compound called psilocybin – a Schedule 1 substance, with no approved medical uses. In the Journal Lancet, Imperial College London psychopharmacologist Robin Carhart-Harris and his colleagues report administering psilocybin to twelve patients with moderate to severe depression who hadn’t responded to standard treatments. Afterwards, nine of the twelve were depression-free, and five were still in remission after three months.

ROBIN CARHART-HARRIS (Imperial College London):

What psilocybin and other psychedelics seem to offer is a sort of transient storm, if you want, that can shake things up, that can move people out of that inflexible state into which they’ve fallen.

HIRSHON:

He cautions that the study was preliminary, and shouldn’t be tried outside of a hospital. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.