The magic in psychedelic mushrooms turns out to be a lot more interesting than the hippies ever imagined. Most anyone who ever dosed on shrooms will tell you how downright fun it can be, just sitting in the living room and watching Dr. Seuss cartoons, with something like Atom Heart Mother on the surround sound. Besides being relatively harmless adult recreation, psilocybin “may be able to relieve symptoms in adults suffering from major depressive disorder for up to a year.”
Lasting magic in mushrooms
After ingesting a gram or so of magic mushrooms, your average psychonaut can expect to start feeling something in around 45 minutes or so. After another couple of hours where your muscles don’t quite want to listen to the messages the brain is sending them, and vice versa, things start to ease up as your body gets accustomed to being directly connected to the entire universe for a while. That’s about when everything lights up and goes electric.
Depending on dosage and the individual, effects generally continue for another six hours or so, but can persist “around the edges” for days. This new study says the beneficial anti-depressant effects last even longer.
Timothy Leary tried to tell the world how great psychedelics can be but was instantly labeled a heretic. Now, the karma wheel’s turned full circle and “scientists have been increasingly investigating whether psychedelics could have therapeutic use for those struggling with poor mental health.”
They found out decades ago that “psilocybin, found in magic mushrooms, has suggested that it can relieve depressive symptoms for a month.”
Over at John Hopkins Medicine, they passed out more mushrooms than Tim Leary could have ever imagined, until they got enough data to publish a study in Journal of Psychopharmacology. Their research suggests that the goodness persists much longer than expected and “the positive effect of psilocybin can last for a year.”
Compared to standard antidepressants, “which must be taken for long stretches of time, psilocybin has the potential to enduringly relieve the symptoms of depression with one or two treatments.”
27 happy participants
The John Hopkins team carefully dosed “27 participants who had a long-term history with depression.” The vast majority, 88 percent, had at least tried “standard antidepressant medication.”
The magic ingredient of mushrooms, psilocybin, was administered in two doses, two weeks apart. The patients then “returned for follow-ups to check on their depressive symptoms at regular intervals in the year that followed.” All but three of the participants “completed all follow-ups.”
The team was happy to announce that they “observed large decreases in depressive symptoms after the treatments.” A couple experiences with magic mushrooms caused “the severity of their depression” to remain “low for one month, three months, six months and a year after they received the treatment.” They don’t want you running out to score shrooms on the street. That makes professional, licensed drug dealers look bad.
Instead, they want you to make an appointment with your mental health professional, who will score you the really good stuff. “Participants were split into two groups, one which received treatment immediately, and one which received it after an eight-week waiting period. Both groups saw improvement.”
According to Dr. Natalie Gukasyan, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, their “findings add to evidence that, under carefully controlled conditions, this is a promising therapeutic approach that can lead to significant and durable improvements in depression.” The whole idea behind using psychedelics, the experts explain, “is that a hallucinogen like psilocybin has the ability to change a person’s perception of their surroundings and their thoughts or feelings.”
A walk down the street in the moonlight can become a fantastic journey for someone who ingested an eighth ounce of mushrooms or so. Supervision is generally advised for those not familiar with the effects to be expected. “Psilocybin not only produces significant and immediate effects, it also has a long duration, which suggests that it may be a uniquely useful new treatment for depression.“