Active ingredient in magic mushrooms reduces anxiety and depression in cancer patients

A single dose of psilocybin, the major hallucinogenic component in magic mushrooms, induces long-lasting decreases in anxiety and depression in patients diagnosed with life-threatening cancer according to a new study presented today at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Patients who receive a cancer diagnosis often develop debilitating symptoms of anxiety and depression. Reports from the 1960s and 1970s suggest that hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD may alleviate such symptoms in cancer patients, but the clinical value of for the treatment of mood disturbances in remains unclear. In this new study, Roland Griffiths and colleagues from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine investigated the effects of psilocybin on symptoms of anxiety and depression in individuals diagnosed with life-threatening cancer. Five weeks after receiving a dose of psilocybin sufficiently high to induce changes in perception and mystical-type experiences, patients reported significantly lower levels of anxiety and depression compared with patients that received a low dose of the drug. The positive effects on mood persisted in the patients at 6 month follow-up.

The authors suggest that a single dose of may be sufficient to produce enduring decreases in negative mood in with a life-threatening cancer.


Explore further

The potential of psilocybin to alleviate psychological distress in cancer patients is revealed

Provided by American College of Neuropsychopharmacology
Citation: Active ingredient in magic mushrooms reduces anxiety and depression in cancer patients (2015, December 10) retrieved 20 October 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-12-ingredient-magic-mushrooms-anxiety-depression.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
39 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more