‘Magic’ Mushrooms Ease Cancer Patients’ Depression, Anxiety

Magic mushroom growing in forestPsilocybin—the hallucinogenic compound in so-called “magic” mushrooms—can effectively ease cancer patients’ depression and anxiety, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. As many as 40% of cancer patients experience depression.

Previous studies have pointed to the mental health benefits of psychedelic drugs such as mushrooms. A 2014 study found users of hallucinogenic mushrooms might experience more happiness. A 2015 study linked psychedelic drugs to a reduction in thoughts of suicide, and a 2016 study found psychedelic drug use was linked to lower rates of domestic violence among men with a history of substance abuse.

Testing the Effects of Mushrooms for Cancer Patients

The study followed 51 people with life-threatening cancers such as digestive, breast, and blood cancers. Most (92%) were white, with a roughly even split between men and women. Participants’ average age was 56. Each had been diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

Participants underwent two treatment sessions five weeks apart. One session provided a psilocybin dose too low to affect mood—1 or 3 milligrams per 70 kilograms of weight. Another session offered a higher psilocybin dose of 22 or 30 milligrams per 70 kilograms of weight. Each participant received assistance from two monitors who encouraged them to relax with the assistance of music and an eye mask after each session.

The staff supervising each dose did not know participants received different doses, reducing the possibility that their expectations could skew the results. Participants did not know whether they received the treatment dose or the placebo. This double-blind model was designed to reduce bias and minimize misleading results.

Mental Health Effects of ‘Magic’ Mushrooms

Participants completed interviews and questionnaires about their mood, feelings about life, and behavior before the first session, seven hours after each dose, five weeks after each dose, and six months following the final session. At the six-month mark, 80% of participants had reductions in depression and anxiety, with 60% no longer experiencing symptoms severe enough to warrant a diagnosis. Participants said they found the experience of taking mushrooms highly meaningful, with 67% rating the experience as one of the five most significant events in their lives.

Negative side effects were minimal, with 15% of participants vomiting or becoming nauseated. About a third became anxious or experienced some other psychological symptom such as paranoia following the dose, and another third experienced brief blood pressure increases.


  1. Griffiths, R. R., Johnson, M. W., Carducci, M. A., Umbricht, A., Richards, W. A., Richards, B. D., . . . Klinedinst, M. A. (2016). Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30(12), 1181-1197. doi:10.1177/0269881116675513
  2. Hallucinogenic drug psilocybin eases existential anxiety in people with life-threatening cancer. (2016, December 1). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161201094448.htm

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  • Leave a Comment
  • don h

    December 21st, 2016 at 10:25 AM

    This is likely going to face a whole lot of debate in the medical community, just the same as medical marijuana use always has.

  • Zeda

    December 21st, 2016 at 1:55 PM

    Now how to convince the masses that this is going to be a valuable sort of treatment??

  • Francisca

    December 22nd, 2016 at 6:34 AM

    We do need to broaden our horizons a bit and be on the lookout for better alternatives for healing than what we have once assumed we would. There are so many things out there that are still left to be discovered and I don’t think that one person who is struggling with cancer or depression would want their physician to rule anything out.
    It might just be a start but let’s make it a start into opening our eyes and seeing the possibilities out there a little more clearly.

  • jeremy

    December 23rd, 2016 at 8:47 AM

    Do you think that some of the negative side effects could be from people in general being paranoid about what they might be taking?

  • Bill

    December 27th, 2016 at 2:08 PM

    Magic? No. Medicinal? Yes of course

  • Randy B

    December 31st, 2016 at 11:17 AM

    Your photo shows an amanita mushroom which is deadly poisonous. It has nothing to do with the subject of the article. In the interest of keeping people more appropriately informed please use a photo of psilocybin mushrooms. It could save lives!

  • Rodney

    May 3rd, 2018 at 9:43 AM

    I was reading some articles about this magic truffles and shrooms before engaging my self for the first time. They say that it has a very potent effect on the brain and hallucination. Unlike marijuana does it have any medical use? In one article that I’ve read magic truffles or shrooms compaired to synthetic drugs are very alarming. Also magic mushroom are use on reducing the symptoms of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. It can also help people to quit smoking and alcohol addiction. Some studies also suggest the property of magic shrooms/truffles can be useful for cancer patients.

  • Clair

    May 24th, 2018 at 9:30 AM

    I have perused many articles about restorative weed and how it can enable you regarding interminable to torment, bone wounds, dietary problem/anorexia, nervousness issue and fits of anxiety, irritation, considerably disease and significantly more. Like this article about a cannabis strain from: Cbd and thc are additionally new to me and I don’t smoke. In the event that this is genuine I cannot locate any strong decisive confirmation that addresses its adequacy.

  • David

    December 28th, 2018 at 7:21 PM

    This is kind of awareness is very good and would benefit a lot of people in the long run.
    I hope that this will progress and improve people’s lives.

  • Daniel S

    July 15th, 2019 at 5:21 PM

    Thank you for sharing and spreading awareness! Bringing this alternative medicine closer and accessible to people who really need it. I hope that people will start to realize that cure is always within our reach, it can even be in our own backyard. It has endless capabilities!

  • Daniel S

    July 18th, 2019 at 8:30 PM

    Looking forward to more research and studies that could help a lot of people. It has endless capabilities!

  • Eliana

    December 23rd, 2019 at 5:16 AM

    It’s very beneficial and there was a lot to learn from this blog. Thanks for sharing with us!

  • Deborah

    August 7th, 2020 at 12:19 AM

    Thanks for sharing awareness about magic mushrooms. Indeed that magic mushrooms are truly magical. Experts should study and discover more so that this magic mushrooms will treat more illnesses in the future.

  • Noah

    September 9th, 2020 at 1:44 AM

    We all can benefit from all nature’s gifts. The downside is there will always be people who will exploit it. Too much of everything will be our undoing. I’m glad I’ve read your post. It helped me know more about magic mushroom. Keep posting!

  • Shr

    January 10th, 2024 at 1:14 AM

    Thanks for sharing this blog, I really appreciate your efforts put into this blog. It is very informative and knowledgeable.

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