Psilocybin has steadily reversed depression

(ORDO NEWS) — Previously, clinical trials showed that its effectiveness is slightly higher than that of a modern antidepressant – but now it turned out that the effect of a prohibited substance also lasts an unusually long time.

Apparently, some kind of restructuring of neural connections in the brain of a person who took psilocybin may be responsible for this.

Psilocybin is a substance produced by many types of mushrooms. In terms of toxicity, it is less dangerous than caffeine, but more dangerous than LSD, in other words, relatively safe (except when consumed in huge doses).

It is difficult for them to die directly from poisoning, since this requires eating more than 1.5 kilograms of dried mushrooms, while in practice the probable onset of vomiting will occur much earlier than this moment.

In addition, it cannot cause a stable addiction, because with frequent use, a person ceases to be sufficiently sensitive to its action. Despite this, psilocybin is banned.

This is because if in some people it causes euphoria, then in others the effect is rather the opposite. Significant doses can cause anxious people to increase their anxiety and attempt self-harm, as well as other types of risky behavior.

Meanwhile, scientists and doctors in recent years have thought about the fact that this compound is logical to use for medical purposes.

The first experiments in this direction showed that although a third of the participants in clinical trials experience fear after taking psilocybin, it can be stopped with soothing words of sufficiently experienced medical personnel.

At the same time, in its effect on the body, it is similar to dimethyltryptamine, a compound that is remotely similar to serotonin and is produced in the human body in moderate amounts.

Unlike serotonin, even moderate doses of dimethyltryptamine can cause hallucinations and other psychedelic effects. But at the same time, it is able to have a noticeable antidepressant effect.

Similarly, psilocybin, in a 2020 clinical trial, showed slightly better efficacy than the modern antidepressant escitalopram (regulates serotonin-related brain processes).

Most people with major depressive disorder who received psilocybin no longer experience it. Some of those who are still not cured reported a mitigation of the intensity of depression.

Psilocybin has steadily reversed depression 2

In total, the work monitored the condition of 27 patients aged 21 to 75 years (a small sample is typical for work on mental disorders). By the start of the clinical trials, they had moderate to significant depressive disorder (no mild forms).

During baseline therapy, each patient received only two doses of psilocybin. For 24 patients, it was possible to track what happened to them for a year after their second and last dose. It turned out that 58% of them were not depressed even after a year.

Another 17% of her symptoms softened, and only 25% showed no positive dynamics. Importantly, these numbers remained at the same level as they were immediately after the second dose of psilocybin. It turns out that its antidepressant effect is exceptionally stable.

It is worth considering that the courses of modern antidepressants are extremely rarely short and cannot be reduced to two doses. The same escitalopram is taken for months – and for other antidepressants, the picture is often similar. Against this backdrop, a sustained cure for depression after just two doses is a very impressive result.

The mechanism of such stability is currently not entirely clear. From experiments on animals, it is known that even after a single dose of psilocybin, new neural connections can form in animals. However, on living people, such experiments (requiring autopsies) are prohibited, so how Homo sapiens is in this sense is still unknown.

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