Can Magic Mushrooms Cure Depression

A short study on 12 people, 9 with severe depression and 3 with moderate depression shows promise for people with untreatable depression. The research was backed by the Beckley Foundation and the UK's Medical Research Council.

Eight patients claimed to be no longer depressed after the "mystical and spiritual" experience induced by the drug. The Lancet Psychiatry published report showed five of the patients were still depression-free after three months. Experts cautiously welcomed the findings as "promising, but not completely compelling". There have now been calls for the drug to be tested in larger trials.

They were given a very high dose equivalent to "a lot of mushrooms", the researchers said. Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, one of the researchers, said: "These experiences with psilocybin can be incredibly profound, sometimes people have what they describe as mystical or spiritual-type experiences." "We now need larger trials to understand whether the effects we saw in this study translate into long-term benefits." "The data at three-month follow-up, a comparatively short time in patients with extensive illness duration, are promising, but not completely compelling."