Magic Mushrooms for Depression

Check this out: Erik was right. Magic Schrooms CAN reset the brain to help patients with depression. I’d love to try it so I could get off antidepressants, but I’ve heard people throw up when they take them, and I’m not a fan of intense nausea. Have any of you guys experienced the anti-depressant effects of psilocybin?

Home Psychology & Psychiatry October 13, 2017
Magic mushrooms may ‘reset’ the brains of depressed patients

Whole-brain cerebral blood flow maps for baseline versus one-day post-treatment, plus the difference map (cluster-corrected, p < 0.05, n = 16). Correlation chart shows post-Treatment changes in bilateral amygdala CBF versus changes in …more

Patients taking psilocybin to treat depression show reduced symptoms weeks after treatment following a ‘reset’ of their brain activity.

The findings come from a study in which researchers from Imperial College London used psilocybin – the psychoactive compound that occurs naturally in magic mushrooms – to treat a small number of patients with depression in whom conventional treatment had failed.

In a paper, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, the researchers describe patient-reported benefits lasting up to five weeks after treatment, and believe the psychedelic compound may effectively reset the activity of key brain circuits known to play a role in depression.

Comparison of images of patients’ brains before and one day after they received the drug treatment revealed changes in brain activity that were associated with marked and lasting reductions in depressive symptoms.

The authors note that while the initial results of the experimental therapy are exciting, they are limited by the small sample size as well as the absence of a control group – such as a placebo group – to directly contrast with the patients.
Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, Head of Psychedelic Research at Imperial, who led the study, said: “We have shown for the first time clear changes in brain activity in depressed people treated with psilocybin after failing to respond to conventional treatments.

“Several of our patients described feeling ‘reset’ after the treatment and often used computer analogies. For example, one said he felt like his brain had been ‘defragged’ like a computer hard drive, and another said he felt ‘rebooted’. Psilocybin may be giving these individuals the temporary ‘kick start’ they need to break out of their depressive states and these imaging results do tentatively support a ‘reset’ analogy. Similar brain effects to these have been seen with electroconvulsive therapy.”

Over the last decade or so, a number of clinical trials have been conducted into the safety and effectiveness of psychedelics in patients with conditions such as depression and addictions, yielding promising results.
In the recent Imperial trial, the first with psilocybin in depression, 20 patients with treatment-resistant form of the disorder were given two doses of psilocybin (10 mg and 25 mg), with the second dose a week after the first.

Nineteen of these underwent initial brain imaging and then a second scan one day after the high dose treatment. Carhart-Harris and team used two main brain imaging methods to measure changes in blood flow and the crosstalk between brain regions, with patients reporting their depressive symptoms through completing clinical questionnaires.

Immediately following treatment with psilocybin, patients reported a decrease in depressive symptoms – corresponding with anecdotal reports of an ‘after-glow’ effect characterised (Brits are such funny spellers! Haha!)by improvements in mood and stress relief.

Functional MRI imaging revealed reduced blood flow in areas of the brain, including the amygdala, a small, almond-shaped region of the brain known to be involved in processing emotional responses, stress and fear. They also found increased stability in another brain network, previously linked to psilocybin’s immediate effects as well as to depression itself.

These findings provide a new window into what happens in the brains of people after they have ‘come down’ from a psychedelic, where an initial disintegration of brain networks during the drug ‘trip’, is followed by a re-integration afterwards.
Dr Carhart-Harris explained: “Through collecting these imaging data we have been able to provide a window into the after effects of psilocybin treatment in the brains of patients with chronic depression. Based on what we know from various brain imaging studies with psychedelics, as well as taking heed of what people say about their experiences, it may be that psychedelics do indeed ‘reset’ the brain networks associated with depression, effectively enabling them to be lifted from the depressed state.

The authors warn that while the initial findings are encouraging, the research is at an early stage and that patients with depression should not attempt to self-medicate, as the team provided a special therapeutic context for the drug experience and things may go awry if the extensive psychological component of the treatment is neglected. They add that future studies will include more robust designs and currently plan to test psilocybin against a leading antidepressant in a trial set to start early next year.

Professor David Nutt, Edmond J. Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology and director of the Neuropsychopharmacology Unit in the Division of Brain Sciences, and senior author of the paper, added: “Larger studies are needed to see if this positive effect can be reproduced in more patients. But these initial findings are exciting and provide another treatment avenue to explore.”

‘Psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression: fMRI-measured brain mechanisms’ by Carhart-Harris, R, et al. is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Elisa Medhus

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  • Chris Mullins

    Hi Elisa, this is my first time commenting on the blog 🙂 . I’d love to try magic mushrooms, but I don’t know where I could get a hold of them. I was wondering, where is the best place to make suggestions for videos? I have a few that I’d like to suggest. Also, I don’t know if you’ve talked about this on the blog on any videos, but I’m wondering about YOUR spiritual journey. I know you used to be an atheist. Do you have a regular spiritual practice? Do you meditate every day? Have you developed your intuition?

    • I never was an atheist. I was an agnostic. Now I’m a true believer in the survival of consciousness after death and I engage mostly in active meditation and channel Erik on my walks and in the bathtub!

    • Mauigirl

      Hi Chris, look for a Shaman in your area who can connect you or who does the ceremonies themselves, or even a spiritual or metaphysical bookstore. Someone affiliated with the store will probably know someone.

  • 403LEC

    Fascinating! Thank you Elisa.

  • JaniceT

    Wow! a real Doctor with the name Professor Nutt! Great Article! thanks Elisa!

  • Geraldine Maxwell

    Hi Dr. Medhus,
    My husband died in 2012. Our only child died in 2014. He was 18 years old. I tried an anti-depressant after my son’s death. I did not like the side-effects so I stopped it. Everyday, for 2 years, I wanted to commit suicide. Then I found your blog. It helped me a lot to cope positively, along with the support of a lot of my son’s friends. Having read your book and Erik’s, too, I am thinking that if only I could “communicate” with my son regularly, it would lessen the pain tremendously. But it seems like it won’t because you yourself is still on anti-depressant despite the fact that you communicate with Erik all the time. I am open to trying Psilocybin. Are they currently doing any clinical trials anywhere? I wouldn’t mind participating. Thank you for all the time you have spent generously in continuing this blog. I know it takes a lot of effort.

  • kanis

    Magic mushroom (Psilocybin mushroom). I remember that when I was going to school my classmates hunted for these mushrooms. One of them told me one day that when he took them for the first time he had a feeling that someone is chasing him, so he started running away. I always wanted to try them but never had a chance. I think the only way to get them is to go to the forest and look for them. You can’t buy them cause they are illegal in most of the countries.

  • Check out the link I posted today to find out if there are clinical trials with psilocybin in Sweden.

    • Boel

      Thank you ☺
      There weren’t any trials going on in Sweden, but I think I will subscribe to updates and cross my fingers!

      • Might be worth a trip here. I think it’s in Massachusetts. I’m wondering how long you’d have to stay.

  • Marts

    I took about 3 or 4 gold tops about 25 years ago, they were presureved in a jar of honey, now, as to how they looked in this jar was more of a swirl of black and grey goop, and tasted disgusting, however!

    At the time this took place was shared in with some close mates, we were very much, want a be musicians! we were jamming out tunes within the safety of being prepared indoors.

    It was a fun occasion, so much laughing whilst everyone was having their own individual experience or show, l suppose their own trip…. and we were still open to each others visions, or realities to share, this would of course add with your own experience.

    Really what was apparent was having acceptence without judgment. So, without the negative emotions to judgments to bring you down, it was more about creating, from being in the present moment adding to create a positive momentum that in essence opens for the joy and freedom, is to lifting the energy frequency.

    This was one occasion l do remember! Lol!

    • Did it help you? If so, for how long.

      • Marts

        How l believe they way in which the LSD was lifting you out from the normalisationing or the conditionings that holds us to the rules placed down out of a reality derived out of fear, anything of limitation that has been set down put in place to control the directions we would choose otherwise if we could naturally express without judgment, naturally from our soul in our freedom of choice.

        It was a new paradigm given to express from that allows you the bypass controlling structures, as away to express yourself unaffected by judgment the norms of controlling methods and controlling methods creates depression in those who cannot express themselves.

        Limitation is what starves people to express themselves, cultural belief systems means nothing for the souls purpose and commit to down playing for the human rules and regulations.

        The mushrooms didn’t for at any time hurt me, in a funny way it was similar to that of going back to a youthful state of being, without preconditioning of judgment, more of the alignment to innocence, and we were very happy with a lot a laughter.

        If it was trialled within supervision and regulated, man! What’s the worst that could happen? Crying with laughter! l have used the synthetic LSD and l personally didn’t have near a nice a time, the mushrooms gave to a clearer and much cleaner vision to which had no side effect.

  • Fascinating!

  • We should ask Erik how it works on a spiritual level.

  • Mauigirl

    Also, it’s my understanding the joy of mushrooms is they do NOT make you throw up like Iawasqah (sp?) and it’s a gentler and happier experience.

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