Instead of Zoloft you may want to pop a psilocybin mushroom, say psychiatrists at Johns Hopkins University
Psilocybin mushrooms provide fast-acting, long-lasting relief from major depression, a new major study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds.
Also known as magic mushrooms, just two doses of the humble fungi eliminated symptoms of depression faster and kept them away longer than typical pharmaceutical antidepressants, a team of psychiatrists and neurologists from Johns Hopkins University found.
“The effect was more than four times greater,” Johns Hopkins psychiatrist Alan Davis told NPR.
“The effect happened within one day after the first session and sustained at that reduced level through the second psilocybin session all the way up to the one-month follow-up,” he says.
The study was a follow-up to earlier research that found psilocybin alleviated depression in cancer patients. It sought to determine whether it would have the same effect on major depressive disorder, which the researchers refer to as a “substantial public health burden.”
The promising results provide hope for people with treatment-resistant depression, the researchers say.
The study’s 27 participants received two doses of psilocybin on two different days, along with several hours of psychotherapy after each dose.
The mushrooms were taken in a supervised yet homey setting designed to put participants at ease.
“They have a blindfold on, they have headphones on, listening to music,” Davis says. “And we really encourage them to go inward and to kind of experience whatever is going to come up with the psilocybin.”
The study is notable for its scientific rigor, says Dr. Charles F. Reynolds, distinguished professor emeritus of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine.
“It offers, I think, a good deal of promise as a feasible approach to treating particularly chronic forms of depression,” Reynolds told NPR.
The state of Oregon just legalized magic mushrooms, authorizing them for therapeutic use and decriminalizing possession, so it looks like Oregonians will be the first to enjoy the seemingly “magic” medicinal mushroom.