A team of researchers have found that Psilocybin- a naturally occurring psychedelic compound produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms- eases the depression and soothes the anxiety in patient with life-threatening cancer.
In a research report published Thursday in the Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers reported that trial subjects who received a single moderate-to-large dose of psilocybin got substantial and lasting relief from their profound distress.
Among 80 cancer patients who participated in the two trials, as many as 4 in 5 continued to feel measurably less hopeless and demoralised six months after taking the drug than they had upon their recruitment, Los Angeles Times reported.
Dr George Greer, medical director of the Heffter Research Institute, the non-profit organization that funded the study, said that existential anxiety” s only one of many conditions that psilocybin may one day treat. Others may include treatment-resistant depression, addiction to cocaine, alcohol or tobacco, obsessive-compulsive disorder and “demoralisation” in long-term survivors of HIV.
In the 1960s hallucinogenic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide — LSD — and psilocybin were widely used in biomedical research and in psychotherapy practices. As the US declared the use of drugs illegal, medical research also slowed down.
Psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms- have long been used in traditional healing practices.