More than 264 million people in the world suffer from depression according to the World Health Organization. Unfortunately, the number of people who have symptoms of this mental disorder constantly rises, especially among the younger generations.
There is currently no cure for depression.
Some choose to deal with this problem through therapy sessions and lifestyle changes. Others take antidepressants to suppress the symptoms they experience. Scientists constantly look for new ways to effectively treat this disorder, and it looks like they may have found it.
What Is Psilocybin?
Psilocybin is a compound that occurs naturally and can be found in over 180 species of mushrooms. After you consume this compound, it transforms into psilocin.
Many people think psilocybin has psychoactive properties, but it’s actually psilocin that makes you trip. Psilocin has an incredibly similar structure to serotonin (the happiness hormone). Psilocin can bind to serotonin receptors in the brain because the structures of these two compounds resemble one another.
How Psilocybin Can Cure Depression
The first modern Imperial College London study to explore the effects of psilocybin on the mental health of patients suffering from depression was published in 2017. The findings noted that psilocybin could give patients a temporary “kick-start” to help break them out of their depressive states.
One of the participants in this medical trial was a 56-year-old man named Michael, who had been suffering from depression for 30 years. He reported feeling like a completely different person three months after he had taken just two doses of psilocybin. Michael became more confident and felt the desire to spend time with other people.
What’s even more impressive is that nearly half the patients who participated in the study felt their depression was significantly reduced five weeks after they took two doses.
Meanwhile, a recent study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology showed that a single dose of psilocybin can reduce or eliminate depression and anxiety experienced by cancer patients. The findings of the study are very significant, since roughly half the people diagnosed with cancer develop some type of anxiety or depression.
The FDA recently put a psilocybin-based drug tested by COMPASS Pathways on a research and approval process. The organization understands the benefits psilocybin can have on mental health and aims to develop the drug as soon as possible.
Psilocybin is an impressive way to treat depression because it quickly affects your brain function. As noted in the aforementioned study, a single dose can have a lasting positive effect on patients. That makes it a much better treatment option than antidepressants, which you have to take for years on end.
With mental health disorders on the rise, scientists have to get creative and try new things to find a cure. In recent years, we’ve found that psilocybin can help people who suffer from depression. Similarly, scientists have started using MDMA as a treatment for PTSD.
It could completely change how doctors treat mental health problems, so we’re excited about future research into magic mushrooms!