The psychedelic compound found in “magic mushrooms” may be as effective in fighting depression as leading antidepressant drugs or even more so, according to a new UK study into psilocybin and mental health treatment.
In the first direct comparison of its kind, British scientists weighed the effects of the naturally occurring psychedelic with escitalopram, a drug commonly prescribed for depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Not only did the researchers find the psychoactive ingredient had promise as a potential mental health treatment, their findings also showed psilocybin could be twice as effective in helping patients out of severe depression as the antidepressant.
Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of the centre for psychedelic research at Imperial College London, told The Guardian: “I think it is fair to say that the results signal hope that we may be looking at a promising alternative treatment for depression.”
He said that while Escitalopram helps reduce stress levels, the psychedelic is more about a release of thoughts that when guided with psychotherapy produce positive outcomes.
He added the findings “offer the most compelling evidence yet to support efforts towards licensing psilocybin therapy as a regulated mental health intervention.” Read the full story here.