There was an article published yesterday on the HealthGrades website that caught my attention, “Could ‘Magic’ Mushrooms Ease Depression?”
Really? I thought, I’m sure this’ll be bizarre.
What I didn’t know is that psilocybin (the active ‘ingredient’ in these mushrooms) was used extensively in psychotherapy in the 1950s, but the biological effects haven’t been thoroughly researched until recently.
When injected with psilocybin and scanned with an MRI, the psilocybin caused decreased activity (the exact opposite of what you’d expect from a mind “expanding” drug) in the “hub” regions of the brain.
A second study found that psilocybin helped patients recall personal memories and increased their emotional well being for up to two weeks after the dose was given.
Finally, a third study suggested that people with anxiety who received one treatment with psilocybin had decreased amounts of depression six months later.
Obviously there is more research to be done, and I would recommend reading the whole article for more details, it’s pretty interesting!
The reason this article caught my attention in particular was because it reminded me of something I recently read in Welcome to the Jungle, by Hilary Smith. The book is supposed to be a guide about bipolar disorder, but is said to contain, “everything you ever wanted to know about bipolar but were too freaked out to ask.”
I wasn’t thrilled with the book, and for an “alternative” source on bipolar disorder I’d highly recommend another source, one I’m planning on writing about in the next week or so.
The only thing in the book I thought was surprising was that it addresses the concept of psychedelics. Mind you, it is basically two pages of, “these might screw you up for good, or they might not,” but I was shocked to even find that a chapter. It is the only book I’ve stumbled on that had a blurb about medical marijuana as well, even if it was just a few lines of the same wishy-washy non-information.
Personally I’ve opted to avoid psychedelics, a feeling that was certainly confirmed when I unwittingly began having Ambien hallucinations a couple months ago. It isn’t that I experience hallucinations on my own, per-se, but I feel like I am on the brink of having them at all times. Why would I induce something I experience naturally, especially when it is something that can become so unnerving so quickly?
I have, however, babysat folks who were experiencing the effects of psilocybin, and from what I can tell (and have read) it seems like the setting is what really defines the experience. Maybe that is something that makes a huge difference in these medical trials, but I guess we’ll have to wait to find out more.
Imagine those therapy sessions though!