Psilocybin Treatment Shows Promise for Cancer Patients With Depression

Cancer patients who develop depression may experience a significant improvement in mood by taking psilocybin, an experimental psychedelic treatment derived from mushrooms, a small study suggests.

For the study, scientists gave a single 25-milligram dose of psilocybin to 30 people with cancer who were undergoing individual or group therapy for clinical depression. Participants received therapy before, during, and after their treatment. To assess the effectiveness of the psilocybin, researchers asked patients to rate the severity of their depression symptoms before treatment and again eight weeks later.

By the end of the study, most of the participants had a sustained response to psilocybin, with their depression symptoms reduced by at least 50 percent, according to results published in Cancer.

Half of the patients experienced mood improvements so significant that their depression was considered in remission by the end of the study.

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