by Alanna Ketler
First off, I’d like to point out something. This isn’t an article about drugs, or the idea that escaping with a drug will only give you a temporary uplift in mood. This article is about plant medicine. Actually, a specific plant medicine called psilocybin, or, more commonly referred to as Magic Mushrooms. There are many different and naturally occurring (as in, grown in the wild) medicines all over the world that I believe are here for a reason. Maybe a gift form our Mother Earth, or perhaps just here by chance, these various psychedelic plants can have profound implications for our mental health and assist us with overcoming childhood trauma, psychological disorders, addiction, and many other mental health issues.
With that being said, if you have a stigma around what you perceive to just be drugs (and drugs are bad), then I encourage you to continue reading with an open mind. It may help to think of the magic mushrooms as plant medicine as I mentioned above.
In an attempt to treat depression, researchers from Imperial College, London gave 12 patients psilocybin. The 12 patients who were chosen had been clinically depressed for an average of about 18 years and the results were actually quite remarkable. The results from the psilocybin treatment actually succeeded the typical pharmaceuticals that are prescribed to treat depression like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and electroconclusive therapy. Just 1 week after taking the magic mushrooms, all 12 patients from the study reported feeling better, and checking in 3 months later, 5 of them were in complete remission. Quite impressive from only one dose.
“That is pretty remarkable in the context of currently available treatments,” says Robin Carhart-Harris, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College, London and first author of the latest study, which is published in The Lancet Psychiatry.
From Nature News
“The study’s authors are not suggesting that psilocybin should be a treatment of last resort for depressed patients. ‘Our conclusion is more sober than that — we are simply saying that this is doable,’ says Carhart-Harris. ‘We can give psilocybin to depressed patients, they can tolerate it, and it is safe. This gives us an initial impression of the effectiveness of the treatment.’”
It is interesting how things like this are illegal, meanwhile dangerous pharmaceuticals that cause accidental poisoning and increased chances of committing suicide are widely accepted and prescribed. I’m not saying everything should be legalized, but the laws should be lifted to make it at least easier for researchers and scientists to study the effects of these plant medicines that indigenous cultures around the world have been using for thousands of years.
Because many of these plant medicines are considered Schedule 1 drugs, researchers have a hard time obtaining permits and even supplies to test out their therapeutic properties.
“This was unprecedented,” says neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt at Imperial, who is senior author of the study.
“It took 32 months between having the grant awarded and dosing the first patient,” says Nutt. By comparison, it took six months “to get through the machinations” for his team’s previous studies using the equally illegal drugs LSD and MDMA.
“Every interaction — applying for licenses, waiting for licenses, receiving the licenses, applying for contracts for drug manufacture, on and on — involved a delay of up to two months. It was enormously frustrating, and most of it was unnecessary,” says Nutt. “The study result isn’t the remarkable part — it’s the fact that we did it at all.”
Luckily they did because those were definitely some amazing results!
To learn more about other therapeutic benefits and studies using plant medicine, please click here.