Scientists at Imperial College London have found that psilocybin , a substance found in hallucinogenic mushrooms, alters the activity of neural circuits associated with mood. Research published in Scientific Reports .
The study involved 19 people with chronic depression that did not respond to treatment. During the first week, the volunteers took 10 mg of psilocybin . Over the next seven days, participants took 25 mg of psilocybin . The MRI results showed that after taking the drug, the activity of some areas of the brain decreased. For example, experts have noticed a decrease in blood flow in the amygdala, an area of the brain associated with experiencing negative emotions (fear, excitement, anxiety), as well as in the temporal lobes. In addition, the mood of the participants improved. Depression symptoms subsided for five weeks.
“This is the first time we have found out how brain activity changes in depressed patients who used psilocybin , because other treatments have not worked. Several of the participants described a feeling of “rebooting” after our treatment, “said study author Robin Carhart- Harris.
According to the authors of the article, psilocybin may be effective in treating severe cases of depression when traditional therapies fail. However, more research is needed with more patients. In addition, the researchers have spoken out against self-medication with psilocybin.