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Using Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms) To Treat Depression

Would you have ever thought that the hallucinogenic drug Psilocybin, commonly referred to as “magic mushrooms” could help cure you of depression? Probably not. Although I have never tried them to treat my depression, there seems to be mounting scientific evidence in support of Psilocybin as a treatment option for cases of treatment-resistant depression. These days so many scientists are still stuck on the “serotonin hypothesis” – thinking that in people with depression, there are significantly lower levels of serotonin.

The common treatment for depression involves SSRI’s or selective-serotonin re-uptake inhibitors. These prevent the re-uptake of serotonin so that it stays in the brain longer. The only problem with these medications is that they just don’t work, period. When nothing works to treat depression, sometimes you have to look at alternative treatment options. I am a firm believer that there is a treatment out there for everyone to get better and heal when faced with depression.

Psilocybin (Magic Mushrooms) for Depression Research

In a recent study, Studerus et al. took a look at how psilocybin affected healthy individuals. They discussed that the mushrooms that produce psilocybin are grown naturally throughout the world. These mushrooms have been used in tribal rituals and for exploration of consciousness throughout history.

  • 1960s, 1970s research: Demonstrated that psilocybin acted for 4 to 6 hours and can produce both illusions and hallucinations. It was said to enhance emotional responses and the ability for introspection. It also activated vivid memories.
  • 1980s research: There was less research conducted throughout the 1980s on psilocybin for medical purposes. Things eventually picked back up by the early 90s.
  • 1990s to 2010 research:  Between 1990 and 2010, a variety of research had been conducted using psilocybin for depression.

Positive experiences

Of 110 healthy participants who received 1 to 4 doses of psilocybin, a majority of them recorded experiencing major (positive) changes in “mood, perception, thought, and self-experience” – which was induced by the psilocybin. Most people had a both a pleasurable and enriched experience in the study.

Negative experiences

Some individuals did report negative experiences that included: anxiety, dysphoria, and panic. However, this only was reported by a small number of participants that received the “highest” dosages.

Long-term implications

Between 8 and 16 months following the psilocybin study, participants were contacted for interviews. It seems as though 25% of these participants reported positive changes in relationships with others. Only 7% of participants reported a negative overall change.

Griffiths et al. Psilocybin Study (2006)

They performed multiple trials of psilocybin in hallucinogen-native healthy people who participated in religious and/or spiritual practices. This study involved a placebo and other psychoactive drugs in order to determine the impact and effects of the psilocybin.

Most participants reported the experience taking the psilocybin as having “substantial personal meaning” and spiritual significance. They attributed the experience to their positive change in mood and attitude. This was 2 months following the experience.

At 14 months following the experience, most participants rated the psilocybin experience as the most meaningful and significant experience of their life. They felt as though it increased their overall life satisfaction and general wellbeing.

Family members and friends also were called in for reporting and researchers found that reports from family and friends were congruent with what the participants reported.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16826400/

How Psilocybin affects personality test ratings…

It was found that taking psilocybin did not affect the NEO Personality Inventory in areas of neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, or conscientiousness. However, it did increase ratings of “openness.” These increases in “openness” were reported to be as a result of having a mystical experience.

Grob et al. (2011) also did a study of 12 patients with advanced-stage cancer using psilocybin. The psilocybin was found to significantly decrease anxiety following 3 months of treatment and improved mood 6 months later. No significantly adverse effects were reported.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20819978/

Should you use Psilocybin for depression?

Obviously it’s not yet an approved substance for the treatment of depression by the FDA. However, if you have tried SSRI’s and experienced the hell that those can induce, you may wonder how the hell something like magic mushrooms, a natural substance is not yet approved. If you are curious about finding more information related to psilocybin, do some reading on PubMed.gov. There are currently more clinical trials in progress with psilocybin to assess whether it will become a viable treatment option in cases of depression.

Most preliminary studies suggest that magic mushrooms work to treat depression by inducing a mystical, introspective experience within the user. This experience is evidently powerful enough to change mood, and induce a more positive, open outlook towards life. Sounds like a miracle right? More studies currently need to be conducted before people with depression will be able to “legally” try this treatment. Have you ever tried psilocybin? Did it help your mood? Feel free to share your experience and/or thoughts below.

Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3581595/

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{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Jason Y March 19, 2014, 1:23 am

    I have had moderate to severe depression since 2007. I have tried therapy, all types of medicine, self medication (with alcohol and cocaine), rehab, and everything else imaginable. Nothing has come close to helping like psilocybin. I no longer condone the use of illegal drugs, but i can attest 100% that psilocybin helps with my depression as long as 6 months after use.

    • GLOOM March 19, 2014, 1:53 am

      Appreciate you sharing your experience Jason. Very glad to hear that you were able to get out of a depressed rut with psilocybin. Is this the only way you currently treat your depression?

  • Jacob Mclachlan May 15, 2014, 6:51 pm

    I have used Magic Mushrooms probably about 10 times in my lifetime.

    Unfortunately, because I wish they would, they have done absolutely nothing for my depression/anxiety issues. It CAN be a good experience, but I wouldn’t go into it expecting a profound life-changing experience, because it isn’t that likely too happen.

    • GLOOM May 16, 2014, 12:56 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experience Jacob… it’s nice to get perspective from someone who didn’t find psilocybin effective for depression.

  • Chester June 26, 2014, 4:13 am

    I have used psilocybin once and had profound hallucinations that I found comforting. My experience lasted about six hours, and I had about three days of mental clarity afterward. I found it to be an uplifting experience overall.

  • james July 31, 2014, 7:42 pm

    Hello ,thanxs for the article, I have tried several times this and have found ,at lower doses, not enough to be high but high enough to feel something, it did lift my mood, it’s fantastic because I finally experienced what an average person usually feels like on a day to day level. Like I said, not high enough to be in an altered state but felt a “body buzz”, like a slight electrical feeling running through my body,and more importantly, a different thought process .And a different mood(not pessimistic, more reasonable) which lasted for half the day, and for a few days after , general mood was up. This stuff is not a cure , because it’s temporary in it’s effect but it could be a treatment that does work ,unlike the spate of current drugs and ridiculous so called treatments.And I curse those who are preventing it as a therapy.(Drug companies oppose this, therefore don’t expect this any time soon to be available for those who suffer).

  • JP August 11, 2014, 7:41 pm

    I have moderate to severe depression (seasonally dependent) that has resisted treatment with antidepressant medications. I recently started taking a low dose of psilocybin mushrooms in the form of tea. It has definitely helped my depression. These mushrooms are great because they are non-addictive, have no side effects, and have a built in anti-abuse mechanism in the form of built up tolerance. The more often you take it the less effective it is. In other words, it forces you to wait a couple of weeks before taking any more. It just so happens that at a low dose that seems to be the right amount of time! Why they’re illegal while alcohol and tobacco aren’t is truly beyond me. These mushrooms are God’s gift to humanity.

    • Mike September 9, 2014, 4:29 am

      Hey there, is there any way I could get in touch with you about your method and dosage of tea? I am sick of SSRIs and I would love to try a low dose of mushroom tea. Thanks

    • Julie March 24, 2016, 12:46 am

      I just don’t understand how “Man”, can say that what grows out of Gods Green Earth is ILLEGAL!!! Is beyond me! Are we seriously just letting them get away with it? We are Nuts! Depression is No Joke! I ABSOLUTELY feel like theses substances are God’s Medicine!!!

  • Mitra January 18, 2015, 7:55 pm

    Hi, I am an Iranian girl, magic mushrooms are illegal in my country too, but recently I have found a doctor and I am under treatment by magic mushrooms (low dose, long term) and I am very happy that I’ve made it!!! Yes these are God’s gift to humanity indeed.

    • Volkan May 9, 2015, 9:24 am

      Dear Mitra, In my case I have depression as well and I mushrooms are helping greatly. So far, I did not had a chance to work with a doctor who works with mushrooms. I am very curious about your regimen, daily dosage about mushrooms. If you share it, I believe it would be helpful for many people.

  • Will January 19, 2015, 6:28 pm

    I have chronic dysphoria and depression, as well as issues with depersonalization and derealization. When I get too severely pressed, emotionally, in the worst cases I go into fugues of up to twenty minutes where I barely recognize the world around me, almost like catatonia. I deal with suicidal depression nearly daily, and although that never fully abates, sometimes, if I have enough positive emotional reserves, I can rise above the depressive stream of consciousness and allow it to fade into the background.

    Nothing helps quite so much as being fully rested, and taking the most minimal doses of psilocybin. I don’t particularly enjoy getting high, but a threshold dose, just enough to notice a slight peculiarity in the appearance of the world, shifts my mood tremendously. I find small, daily doses, for several weeks, seem much more effective than larger doses, less frequently. Either leaves me with improved confidence and a greater sense of purpose to my life, but larger doses also cast strange shadows in my mind, leaving me with odd hang-ups and niggling superstitions.

    I have found much the same effect with other psychedelic hallucinogens, but with not at all the same likelihood of lingering positive feelings, nor the boost in confidence which seems specifically indicative of psilocybin. LSA’s derived from morning glory seeds seem particularly contra-indicated as they seem to somewhat promote depression over the long-term. But low doses of psilocybin (the regulation of which seems the greatest difficulty), once a day, for up to several weeks, leaves me in a fairly positive place for nearly a full quarter.

    I have often thought that I should simply resolve myself to using these mushrooms as a maintenance drug, because actually being happy has so many other benefits associated with it. Yet, because so little evidence exists regarding long-term effects, especially taken in this way, and because they remain nominally illegal, I have limited myself to only using this method to attend to the worst bouts of my depression.

    • Anonymous September 23, 2015, 3:42 pm

      Hi will, I’m about to try the low dosage psilocybin intake next week, because my anxiety disorder is worsening. You say you took a small dose daily for many weeks. My question is, how much did you take a day, and if you noticed the effects decreasing over time. Because the brain can increase its tolerance to psilocybin (all though with low doses it might be minimal?). Anything further you can share would be greatly appreciated. I’m also curious if the therapy reprogrammed you to have a more positive outlook on life. Thank you.

  • OCDguy February 9, 2015, 10:03 pm

    The University Of Arizona led the first FDA-approved clinical study of psilocybin since it was outlawed in 1970. This was a small sample study to test safety. They have to construct a larger sample to further investigate it’s effectiveness and side effect profile. I think Psilocybin is natures SSRI! It is suppose to work on serotonin. I have read that it also does not induce any organ damage. Don’t know what other receptors are involved. I happy to hear that it has an immediate effect on OCD symptoms. I am tired of the “roulette” wheel as you have put it. But, with Nuvigil, so far, it is in check. Great blog here. I have went through about twenty posts so far. I hope I am not getting addicted – lol.. -Robert

  • Maria Acosta September 9, 2015, 12:27 am

    I know this might sound weird but I had a dream days ago that made me start doing research that led me to this page and to read these comments…I dreamt I was eating with my son and we were eating mushrooms. Now my son hates mushrooms but I love them. In the dream, I thought to myself, “Hey, those must be mine! What the heck are you eating mushrooms for? You don’t like them.” And then in the dream, it dawned on me that it was “one of those kinds of dreams”, the kind I have when it’s a message.

    I stopped to examine the scene closer and looked at the mushrooms to make sure they were indeed mushrooms, then to what the message might be. Before I go on any further, I have a lot of control in my dreams. I ask for answers to be given to me through my dreams and usually I can remember the dreams but sometimes I don’t. I hung on to this one because I thought it was significant. My son is suffering from depression. He has been for years now and he’s only 16. He’s told me he’s suicidal but he’s scared to get on drugs and so am I.

    I asked to see if there was another more natural method out there that would serve him best and I wouldn’t have to worry that the anti-depression medication would make him worse like the tendency is with kids. I knew about magic mushrooms and wondered if that is what the dream was trying to convey. In reading the comments and the article I can see that this is something I want to try for my son. I want to ask everyone that’s tried it, did you use the actual mushrooms themselves or was it something like it was ground down and put into a capsule form?

    If it was tea, how often did you use the tea and what was the dosage to start with if it was in a ground up form? I live in California and would like to know where I can turn to for help in finding them if they are legal to use. Thanks so much.

    • Richard October 20, 2015, 7:08 pm

      Fresh (nausea) dried (less nausea) Dried (steeped in WARM spring water for Tea) Dried (ground in a coffee grinder, either make Tea or place 1g in capsule). Here is one source I found on various ways to consume mushrooms: http://www.shroomery.org/6226/Mushroom-Recipes.

  • Richard October 20, 2015, 6:58 pm

    I just began researching this topic. My Depression is NOT a chemical imbalance in the brain but, rather stemming from my life being completely ruined, first by becoming Permanently Disabled in 1996. That went undiagnosed for 10 years. During that time I lost my six-figure career, all my savings, my wife & her children. During that same duration, I lost my house, my wife allowed all bills in my name go to collections as well as the house being foreclosed.

    The IRS claims I owe them $100K+, I became homeless while I was still bed-ridden, etc, etc, etc. There’s much more than I’ve related but, I’ll leave it there. Doctors have me on a cocktail of Opioids daily, which leads to me sitting in my apartment, without any family or friends. I end up sleeping throughout the day, 2-4 hours at a time. Whenever the Doctors ask me why I seem depressed, I repeat the above timeline and they just shrug & issue me more drugs.

    So, for the past 19 years my life has gone swirling down the drain, ran through a blender both physically and emotionally. I am hopeful that this treatment may offer some relief and if anything, at least give me the energy and desire to get out and be social again. I’ve tried everything else, from medication to therapy and nothing has ever worked. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free leaving a comment.

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