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Posted by on Jan 29, 2012 in Health, Science & Technology | 14 comments

Psilocybin A Treatment for Depression?

Maybe:

Academy of Sciences published a study purporting to show how psilocybin, the active ingredient in what are known as “magic mushrooms” is helpful in the treatment of depression, PTSD and anxiety. Another study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found similar results.

Meantime, researchers around the world have been experimenting with Ecstasy, whose active ingredient, MDMA, has been linked to improvements among people suffering from depression.

The Academy of Sciences study looks at where and how psychedelics work in the human brain. Turns out, “turning off parts of the brain may be the real secret to expanding your mind.” And a Johns Hopkins study finds mushrooms induce mystical/spiritual experiences descriptively identical to spontaneous ones people have reported for centuries.

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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • ShannonLeee

    shrums yes
    X no

  • rudi

    Never happen. Mushrooms don’t kill people, but opiate derivatives kill scores daily due to OD’s. Too much profit in hillbilly heroin.
    http://www.examiner.com/addictions-in-pittsburgh/arpo-takes-aim-at-fda-over-latest-rx-madness

  • Jim Satterfield

    The real promise of this research lies not necessarily in the existing chemicals but what they can teach researchers about the brain. What many people don’t realize is that a lot of the existing drugs aren’t necessarily what has the beneficial effect but rather it’s some of the metabolites. It’s more of a cascade effect, with the benefits eventually happening. The big goal of a lot of research is to better understand exactly what’s going on and develop drugs directly targeting the problem to at least reduce, if not eliminate side effects.

  • zephyr

    With regard to psychedelics I’m surprised it’s taken this long to look seriously at possible benefits. These are powerful drugs and demand respect, but the properties and effects are unique. (“Unique” is entirely inadequate to describe the range of experiences people can have while tripping, but it’s a start.)

    “These drugs may lift the filters that are at play in terms of limiting our perception of reality.”

    Oh yeah. Ya got that right bucko. In spades.

  • STinMN

    It’s too bad all this research is occurring outside the US. Although it isn’t too surprising since both the NIDA and DEA have a vested interest in preventing any legitimate research in the US from occurring. It is way is past the time to get ride of catchy slogans like “War on Drugs” and start actively managing (not fighting) substance abuse (legal or not.) Of course the most certain way to get these policies changed is for one of the major pharmaceuticals to announce that it developed some extremely profitable ED drug that works better than anything else but it can’t be made available in the US because it would run afoul existing drug enforcement. Just watch how fast congress would change those polices – I don’t think anything make them more motivated than big campaign contributions and the ability to screw the average American.

  • ShannonLeee

    Here is a quote from a journal called Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews. It speaks about how difficult it is to bring drugs to market.

    In 2004, the FDA estimated that 92 out of every 100 drugs that successfully passed pre-clinical safety testing in animals subsequently failed in human trials. Of the drugs that passed pre-clinical safety testing and entered phase I and II trials, 50% failed in phase III trials. Moreover, of the drugs that passed clinical trials and reached the marketplace, some displayed questionable safety profiles, stimulating interest in investigating the issue of adverse drug reactions, which remains the fourth leading cause of death in Western countries

    After all of these safety protocols…adverse drug reactions are still the 4th leading cause of death in western countries…. it aint easy bringing drugs to market.

  • StockBoyLA

    From the link to the Science News article, “Before and after the volunteers tripped out — one described the experience as “dissolving,” another as “kneeling at the foot of God” — their brains were scanned. These measurements revealed decreases in the amount of blood flowing through parts of the volunteers’ brains. ”

    Well that explains (or helps explains) visions people have in near death experiences… I imagine that if they are brain dead then the amount of blood flowing to their brains is decreased and they have “visions”… just like (or very similar to) the visions people have when they take hallucinogens, which decrease the blood flow to the brain.

    I guess a near death experience could be a treatment for depression and a “total death” experience would be a cure. 🙂 [Sorry- I couldn’t resist.]

  • ShannonLeee

    “I guess a near death experience could be a treatment for depression”

    Flatliners

  • slamfu

    Wow OMG last week they linked racism to stupidity and now this? GO GO Medical science!

  • roro80

    Yikes, I’ve known enough people who’ve had bad trips to say that maybe this should be something they are very, very careful about.

  • zephyr

    Agreed roro, which is why I said they “demand respect”. These aren’t drugs that lend themselves well to “recreational” use.

  • roro80

    Oh, I think they lend themselves quite well to recreational use — if you’re fully prepared to have that sort of experience, and you have control over when it happens, I say go for it. I’d worry about using it as medicine on people who are already depressed. It seems that those who are in a bad place often go to a worse one. On the other hand, the data in these studies seems to indicate the opposite.

    Kind of reminds me of that cult classic movie — I can’t remember what it’s called — where everyone over, like, 40 years old gets sent to old-folks’ homes where they keep everyone high on LSD, thinking it will keep them all happy all the time, but then they find a certain percentage of people who commit suicide. Something like that…

  • zephyr
  • zephyr

    Btw roro, when I say “recreational” I’m not usually thinking in terms of watching the house across the street melt, seeing people turn into animals, having colored ribbons rolling out of the ceiling, or visiting my past lives at the speed of light. But then at my age, a couple beers is recreational enough. 😉

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