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Psychadelics & Depression

May 27, 2016

Hallucinogenic drugs could lead to new treatments for intractable depression.



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.


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.