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Magic mushrooms can lead to long-term improvements in depression, study finds

Magic mushroom's drug psilocybin can lead to long-term improvements in depression symptom severity, a small study has found.

Maria Jimenez Moya, USA Today, Apr 12, 2022

The study, conducted by the Imperial College of London, looked at brain scans of 60 participants and combines two trials where psilocybin was administered.

In the first trial, everyone received psilocybin, and in the second one, some received psilocybin and others took a different kind of antidepressant. The peer reviewed research was published on Monday in Nature Medicine.

"In both trials, the antidepressant response to psilocybin was rapid, sustained and correlated with decreases in fMRI brain network modularity, implying that psilocybin’s antidepressant action may depend on a global increase in brain network integration," the study reads. 

This means that the brain's functional networks became more functionally interconnected and flexible after psilocybin treatment.

The study shows the potential of psilocybin therapy to treat depression, but the study researchers say its therapeutic benefits are not yet well understood and a person who suffers from depression should not self administer this drug. 

The trial was conducted alongside therapy with mental health professionals, and brain scans. 

This is not the first trial to experiment with psilocybin. According to the study, in the last 15 years, at least six separate clinical trials have reported impressive improvements in depressive symptoms with psilocybin therapy. 

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