‘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.

References:

  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

© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 8 comments
  • Leave a Comment
  • don h

    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

    Zeda

    December 21st, 2016 at 1:55 PM

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

  • Francisca

    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

    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

    Bill

    December 27th, 2016 at 2:08 PM

    Magic? No. Medicinal? Yes of course

  • Randy B

    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

    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

    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.

Leave a Comment

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.

* Indicates required field.

 

Advanced Search

Search Our Blog

   
GoodTherapy.org is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on GoodTherapy.org.