Perhaps naively, I was shocked to learn today that magic mushrooms have only been illegal for 10 years – however, what I wasn’t shocked to learn was that they’re apparently an incredible aid to fighting depression.
A study on people who had suffered from treatment-resistant depression for decades found that, after taking magic mushrooms for just one week, their symptoms had all reduced.
The study concluded that eight of the 12 volunteers (67 per cent) claimed that after taking the class A drug, they achieved total remission after a week and felt liberated from their troubles, The Guardian reports.
As part of the experiment, the patients had to take a high dose of psilocybin, which amounts to the same as eating several magic mushrooms – more than enough to make them trip.
They took the psilocybin for three months and, at the end of the study, seven patients showed continuing signs of improvement, five of whom claimed to be completely rid of their depression.
One man who took part in the experiment became ‘truly heartbroken’ after the death of his mother, but added that after taking mushrooms he was able to ‘stay connected’.
The study involved taking two doses of psilocybin, and both times I experienced something called ‘psychedelic turbulence’. This is the transition period to the psychedelic state, and caused me to feel cold and anxious. However, this soon passed, and I had a mostly pleasant – and sometimes beautiful – experience.
There were certainly some challenging moments during the sessions. For instance, when I experienced being in hospital with my mother, when she was very ill. And during the high dose session I visualised my grief as an ulcer that I was preventing from healing so that I could stay connected to my mother.
Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, the lead scientist on the study, from Imperial College London, added:
I think this is a serious breakthrough. Half the people went into remission within a week and they stayed in remission for up to three months. There’s nothing else.
These experiences with psilocybin can be incredibly profound. Sometimes people have what they describe as mystical or spiritual-type experiences – that’s not uncommon, particularly with the high dose. So it’s important that we provide psychological support afterwards.
And what better time to find these results than on Mental Health Awareness Week?
Have you ever contemplated suicide? Feel like you have nobody to speak to about your issues? There are plenty of websites and helplines available at every hour of the day.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.