Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Magic Mushrooms for Depression?

An unusual study has shown that a compound, psilocybin, found in "magic mushrooms", can produce long lasting positive changes in a persons mood and behavior. Scientists say that this hallucinogenic chemical could be a possible new treatment for depression, anxiety and drug dependence. Those who took the chemical experienced what psychologist call "mystical experiences". Of the thirty six participants, one third described their experience as "spiritually significant". People experienced feelings similar to the importance of giving birth to their first child or the death of a parent. "Shrooms" come in several varieties and all contain psilocybin, which is now classified as a Class A drug such as heroin or cocaine. Research was led by doctors at Johns Hopkins in Maryland and all volunteers ere healthy, middle aged, and had no family history of psychotic illness. On two separate occasions, they received psilocybin and then a placebo, which was Ritalin. Medical professionals and the participants did not know when the test drug was being given. Sixty percent said they has a "full mystical experience". Two months later, seventy nine percent said they ad been experiencing a better quality of life. Their attitude, mood and behavior was better, which was confirmed by family and friends. Published in the Journal of Psycho pharmacology, the scientists said that great care was taken to minimize the side effects and warn people of the dangers of taking them unsupervised. Some adverse effects include anxiety, paranoia and vomiting, and can be risky for someone who has mental problems. Further research is intended for cancer related depression and anxiety and in the treatment of drug dependence.

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