According to a groundbreaking new study, the hallucinogens present in magic mushrooms can reset the brain in cases of depression which offers hope to millions of people suffering from the disease. The scientists involved in the study hope that this can be a basis for future treatments of depression bypassing the medications that are used as treatment today.
The study examined 19 patients suffering from the disease who were given a bit of psilocybin. Half of them experienced great improvement in their symptoms and there was also a change in their brain activity which lasted for 5 weeks. Although the findings are impressive, the scientists from the London Imperial College urge people not to try it at home. Afterwards, a series of smaller studies discovered that psilocybin stops depression by “lubricating” the mind which helps people escape the deadly cycle of depression.
However, besides that, they were unable to detect how the psilocybin affects brain activity in other ways. The findings were published in a scientific journal afterwards, and showed that the compound affects two parts of the brain – the amygdala and the default mode network. The amygdala plays a key role in the way we process emotions and is far less active during exposure to psilocybin. After taking psilocybin, the default mode network was far more stable than before.
Dr. Robert Carhart-Harris, the leader of the study, stated that the patients experienced a reset brain after taking the compound. They claimed that they have been “reset and reborn”, while one patient said that his brain felt like being cleaned up.
Although certainly important, the study was done on a pretty small scale, and it wasn’t conducted on a group of healthy people. In order to understand how psilocybin affects the human brain fully, more studies are required. However, it certainly shows that depression is treatable without medications which can often have terrible side-effects.
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