A single dose of magic mushrooms can reduce stress and anxiety in cancer patients for as long as five years.
More research continues to be published showing the potential impact
that psychedelic compounds can have on mental health treatment.
A team at New York University‘s Grossman School of Medicine recently conducted followup research
to the 2016 study which showed that cancer patients who took psilocybin
noticed “significant improvements” in their levels of stress and
anxiety. The 2016 study was actually a follow-up of groundbreaking research that began at John’s Hopkins University in 2012. All of the studies have had very similar results.
In the 2016 study, patients taking psilocybin along with therapy noticed “immediate,
substantial, and sustained improvements in anxiety and depression and
led to decreases in cancer-related demoralisation and hopelessness,
improved spiritual wellbeing, and increased quality of life.”
In the newest study, researchers found that test subjects later said
that the experience led them to make positive changes in their lives. The research is published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
According to the study:
“Participants overwhelmingly (71 to 100 per cent)
attributed positive life changes to the psilocybin-assisted therapy
experience and rated it among the most personally meaningful and
spiritually significant experiences of their lives.”
Researchers are still unclear about how this process works
mechanically in the brain, but there are theories that psilocybin
relaxes areas of the brain associated with rumination, worry, and rigid thinking.
Gabby Agin-Liebes, a lead author of the most recent study, explained:
“These results may shed light on how the positive
effects of a single dose of psilocybin persist for so long. The drug
seems to facilitate a deep, meaningful experience that stays with a
person and can fundamentally change his or her mindset and outlook.”
With so many new studies showing the potential of these compounds for
therapeutic use, steps are being made to bring legal psychedelic
treatments to the market.
It was announced last year that a startup called Compass Pathways
had received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to develop
treatments for depression and possibly even pharmaceuticals containing
psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic “magic mushrooms.”
Compass Pathways launched in the UK in 2016 thanks to funding from PayPal founder Peter Thiel. While the company is just now receiving approval to run trials in the U.S., they were already approved in Canada, the Netherlands, and at their base of operations in the UK.