Magic Mushrooms Could Be the Future of Antidepressants

We spoke to Dr. Mark Bolstridge, a clinical psychiatrist searching for alternative and unusual treatments for depression.

Bolstridge, alongside David Nutt, president of the British Neuroscience Association and former government drugs advisor, initially applied to run a psilocybin trial in 2013. Nutt had previously conducted small experiments before more stringent regulations around psychoactive substances were put into place. He felt that psilocybin had the potential to alleviate symptoms of depression and wanted to carry out further experiments.

Bolstridge is already in the process of searching for alternative and unusual treatments. In particular, he’s been looking into the hallucinogenic compound found within magic mushrooms: psilocybin.

“There are a distinct proportion of patients who don’t get better despite taking lots of different antidepressants,” says Dr. Mark Bolstridge, an honorary research associate at UCL and a clinical psychiatrist. “That’s frustrating as a clinician, that even though we do have a lot of drugs at our disposal, for some people, none of them work.”

found that some drug companies were selectively publishing studies on antidepressants that showed the drugs had a benefit and shelving others that showed there was no overall effect.

, doctors treat the causes in a crude way, with drugs “aimed at the wrong target,” often focusing on reducing stress rather than depression itself. Others have suggested that

The science of antidepressants, is not, as it goes, an exact science. Two patients can react differently to the same drug. For some people, many of the existing drugs won’t have any effect at all.

 

 

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