Can Magic Mushrooms Help With Depression?


Depression is a massive problem in today’s society with an estimated 16 million people in the U.S. alone, who suffer from depression each year. Though there are medications that can help, it’s often a process to figure out which combinations are a good fit. Therapy is an important part of overcoming mental health issues, but is not always as helpful as we might hope.

With rates of suicide increasing each year, it’s more important than ever that we bring our attention to this serious issue and how we can help from a medical standpoint.

Though testing has been minimal, due to it only being legalized for medical research very recently, psilocybin (or magic mushrooms) has shown a lot of promise in its ability to help lessen the symptoms of both depression and anxiety.

How Does It Work?

Psilocybin creates psychoactive effects on the human brain. Once it’s ingested it is converted to psilocin, which is the psychoactive agent. This compound attaches to one of our serotonin receptors (5HT2A), which is what creates the good feelings and hallucinations associated with magic mushrooms.

When using mushrooms, the part of your brain responsible for over analyzing, ego and sense of self is dampened, while the part of your brain responsible for creativity, relaxation and imagination is enhanced.

For this reason, it is believed that mushrooms could play a larger role in medicating depression. The ego and over analyzing are often attributed to some of the symptoms experienced while suffering from depression. Being able to let go of these cycles of self doubt and overthinking, may help relieve depressive thoughts and feelings. 

Psilocybin As A Medication

Here’s where it gets interesting…

Psilocybin works by attaching and enhancing the 5HT2A receptor, but most of the drugs prescribed for depression these days actually repress that receptor. Essentially, psilocybin works in the opposite way that most of our current depression treatments do. 

Researchers at NYU and Johns Hopkins have both found similar results in studies of mushroom use. After one treatment, they saw a 60-80% decrease in anxiety and depression symptoms in participants, even 6.5 months after their initial treatment.

Though psilocybin may not be the right fit for everyone, those who have struggled with finding the right medication to treat their depression, may benefit from new drugs being developed from the psilocybin.

Many places all over the world have recently approved the research of psilocybin and it’s potential medical properties, so in the next few years, we may see more and more information and clinical trials come to light. 

Of course, the use and sale of mushrooms is still illegal in many countries. Always check the laws in your area and make your own critical choices. Be sure to have a discussion with your doctor before making any changes to your mental health treatment plan.

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