- Title: 'Magic mushrooms' could be safely used to treat depression, says scientist
- Date: 26th December 2019
- Summary: (MUTE) VARIOUS OF COMPUTER SCREEN SHOWING BRAIN OBSERVATIONS
- Embargoed: 9th January 2020 09:10
- Keywords: Kings College London LSD Magic mushrooms depression mental health psilocybin psychedelic mushrooms therapy
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM / AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS / COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM / AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS / COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Life Sciences,Science
- Reuters ID: LVA009BBM2KWR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: 'Magic Mushrooms' pills could treat depression after research at King's College London on the safe use of psychedelic drugs.
The active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, psilocybin, was administered to a sample of 89 healthy adult volunteers aged around 35, by specially trained therapists.
The volunteers were randomly assigned treatment of either 10 or 25mg of psilocybin, or a placebo drug. The participants in the study received one on one support and supervision during treatment sessions and attended a follow up appointment after 12 weeks.
Consultant psychiatrist at Kings College London, Dr James Rucker and his team from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience published results from the first phase of testing at the annual meeting of American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ACNP) in December. The second phase of testing is expected to take place across North America and Europe with over 200 volunteers.
Dr Rucker has been researching the effects of psychedelic drugs for several years and has published several reports from the first therapeutic use of hallucinogenic in 1949 to present day.
From the results of this study Dr Rucker told Reuters, " the drug is safe and well tolerated in healthy volunteers, when we give the drug in a medically controlled and psychologically supportive environment."
He added that psilocybin, is different to conventional anti-depressants that are prescribed to patients, "the reason why it's different is that we only give it intermittently. In the trails that we're doing at the moment we only give it once. And the ideas is that it's a catalyst within an ongoing psychotherapeutic relationship, and the idea with the psilocybin is it brings to the surface difficult emotional material that you may have put to once side and may have even forgotten is there."
Dr Rucker explained in an online journal that he published in 2018, "the onset with psilocybin starts at about 30 minutes, peaks after about 90â€¯minutes and subsides after 4-6 hours, making day case treatment viable. A comfortable, supportive environment with easy access to the lavatory is recommended. Music is often used to accompany the experience and has been shown to enhance the emotional response to psychedelics.
No serious adverse events occurred during the study, most volunteers experience changes in sensory perception and positive mood alteration.
World Health Organization (WHO) reported in December 2019, that more than 264 million people have been affected by depression world-wide, and almost 800,000 people die every year from suicide.
The British National Health Service (NHS) outlines a variety of treatment options to people suffering from depression, including talking therapy and antidepressants.
(Production: Stuart McDill, Tanya Lezaic)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: Footage contains computer game or software screenshots. User is responsible for obtaining additional clearances before publishing this clip.