How Psychedelic Mushrooms Could Treat Depression

From Seeker.

Could psilocybin mushrooms be the biggest mental health breakthrough since antidepressants? Here’s why certain people are answering with a resounding "yes."
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’Shrooms can actually be any of over 180 species of mushroom that contain these hallucinogenic compounds. You may have heard of psilocybin as the active compound in shrooms but actually, your body breaks psilocybin down into psilocin. This is actually the chemical that affects your brain—it’s what induces increased sensory perception, heightened emotions, even euphoria, and hallucinations. And it’s very interesting to neuroscientists because structurally, it’s very similar to serotonin.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter and hormone that controls a bunch of things all over your body. And apparently, the serotonin system in your brain—how it’s taken up by your neurons and how it helps different parts of your brain communicate with each other—is really complex, and we still don’t fully understand it. But generally, the consensus seems that low levels of serotonin are linked to depression and anxiety. But generally, the consensus seems that low levels of serotonin are linked to depression and anxiety. This is why one of the most commonly prescribed medications for depression and anxiety are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. These drugs boost the levels of serotonin in the brain, improving the symptoms of these mental illnesses.

The scientific community has been looking at hallucinogens for therapeutic use in mushrooms specifically because their potential side effects are generally considered less extreme than LSD or ecstasy. There’s less of an extreme peak and then crash, and research shows they have less potential to be addictive. Which is why, in 2021, researchers at Imperial College London used it in their study, comparing it to SSRIs as a treatment for depression.

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Read More:

Psilocybin Therapy May Work as Well as Common Antidepressant https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/psilocybin-therapy-may-work-as-well-as-common-antidepressant/
"The psychological component of psychedelic therapy tends to be underemphasized by both scientists and the media, yet it is thought to be integral to the therapy’s efficacy, Watts says—in particular because these experiences can be unsettling, powerful, confusing and even scary."

The Promises and Perils of Psychedelic Health Care
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/05/well/psychedelic-drugs-mental-health-therapy.html
"While the federal government does not recognize a medical use for most of these drugs and says they have potential for abuse, some of the most prominent universities in the world are studying four substances in particular: psilocybin, ketamine, MDMA and LSD."

Nobody can agree about antidepressants. Here’s what you need to know
https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23931980-100-nobody-can-agree-about-antidepressants-heres-what-you-need-to-know/
"Global antidepressant use is soaring…Experts, meanwhile, disagree over whether the drugs genuinely have the biochemical effects claimed for them and debate rages about side effects, withdrawal symptoms and the possibility of addiction. So what should we believe – and who, if anyone, should be taking these pills?"

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