Patients taking psilocybin to treat depression show reduced symptoms weeks after treatment following a ‘reset’ of their brain activity.
The findings come from a study in which researchers from Imperial College London used psilocybin – the psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in magic mushrooms – to treat a small number of patients with depression in whom conventional treatment had failed.
In a paper, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers describe patient-reported benefits lasting up to five weeks after treatment, and believe the psychedelic compound may effectively reset the activity of key brain circuits known to play a role in depression.
‘Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms’ by Carhart-Harris, R, et al. is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Main article image: Carhart-Harris, R, et al. Scientific Reports.
Image one: Magic mushrooms (Shutterstock)
Image two: Robin Carhart-Harris (Imperial College London / Thomas Angus)