Shrooms May Treat Depression — But Don't Try It At Home

Magic mushrooms, a psychedelic drug, have recently been revealed as an effective treatment for clinical depression. Researchers at Imperial College London found that psilocybin, the naturally occurring psychedelic substance in certain species of mushroom, may "reset" brain activity during phases of depression. The "reset" effectively reduced depressive symptoms for up to five weeks after the treatment.

During the study, 20 patients with treatment-resistant depression were given two doses of the compound a week apart. After the first treatment, patients reported a decrease in their depressive symptoms, which ranged from a simple sleep disturbance to excessive crying or agitation. Their mood improved, their stress felt relieved, and MRI scans revealed less activity in areas of the brain associated with stress and fear.

Both the interior and exterior symptoms were alleviated — and all it took was a little dose of shrooms.

"Psilocybin may be giving these individuals the temporary 'kick start' they need to break out of their depressive states," said Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, head researcher for the study. "Similar brain effects to these have been seen with electroconvulsive therapy."

A drug-induced trip sounds like a much more appealing option than traumatic electroconvulsive therapy — but the scientists find it important to note that self-medication is dangerous and should be avoided.

Don't worry, further research is being conducted. Someday, this trippy treatment might be legal. But while buying the drug right now will likely land you in jail, eating these other 20 natural relievers of anxiety and depression will not.