Study Finds Just One Dose of Drug From Magic Mushrooms Reduces Anxiety and Depression in Cancer Patients

4The ‘cloud of doom’ looming over cancer patients were lifted by the ‘magic mushrooms’

According to Dr. Ross, there is an urgent requirement to have an alternative means of treating anxiety and depression among cancer patients. He states that a third of those who got diagnosed with cancer ended up developing anxiety, depression, and other forms of distress.

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Cloud of doom

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5His team is still unsure of how psilocybin impacts the mind

Ross’ team may have previously suggested that the brain does have a level of neuroplasticity or the ability to adapt and change with various experiences. But they still aren’t fully able to understand how psilocybin can have such effects on the mind.

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Lead investigator and lead author of the long-term follow-up study, and also co-author of the 2016 parent study, Gabby Agin-Liebes said “These results may shed light on how the positive effects of a single dose of psilocybin persist for so long. The drug seems to facilitate a deep, meaningful experience that stays with a person and can fundamentally change his or her mindset and outlook”.

Magic mushroom for depression and anxiety

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6The study still has its imitations

Due to the small number of patients in the latest study and its overlap with previous trials, the study has many limitations. James Rucker, who leads the Psychedelic Trials Group at the Center for Affective Disorders at Kings College London UK said “The conclusions that can be drawn are limited because the original trial was a crossover design. This means that in the original trial every participant eventually received psilocybin. Because of this, there is no control group in this current study. This means that we do not know whether the participants might have improved long term anyway, regardless of the treatment”.

The study still has its imitations

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7The new findings support the benefits of psilocybin on mental health

While Rucker wasn’t involved in the new study, he did still explain that “This trial provides some useful reassurance to ongoing clinical trials, particularly in treatment-resistant depression”. The benefits of using psilocybin in combination with supportive therapy to treat people with depression have been supported by multiple studies till date.

In 2018, according to the World Health Organization, it was estimated that there was 18 million cases of cancer globally. As per research, depression seems to be more prominent in cancer patients than in normal healthy people in general. Ross said, “This could profoundly transform the psycho-oncologic care of patients with cancer, and importantly could be used in hospice settings to help terminally ill cancer patients approach death with improved emotional and spiritual well-being”.

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New findings support the benefits

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