The drug you most-likely dabbled with in your youth, magic mushrooms, may be back to haunt you in the most positive way possible. Curing your depression.
A growing movement suggests psilocybin, an ingredient in the illegal psychedelic drug, could hold the promise of replacing depression medication in the future.
“If you ask people who are taking SSRIs chronically, they often say ‘I feel blunted’,” Dr Robin Carhart-Harris from the Centre for Psychedelic Research at London’s Imperial College explains.
“With psilocybin therapy they say the opposite, they talk about an emotional release, a reconnection, and this key emotional centre being more responsive.”
In the controlled therapies, participants will go on a “trip” and are, in some cases, forced to face past traumatic experiences, or a “bad trip”.
“We call it a ‘challenging psychological experience’ and we’re honest with people that it can be hellish,” Dr Carhart-Harris says.
“It can be nightmarish, but we’re prepared for this and this treatment model requires you literally face your demons.”
The future looks promising.
“I would imagine if you had some bookmakers doing the odds, there would be strong odds on that [psychedelic therapy] will be licensed sometime in the next five to 10 years – maybe sooner,” Dr Carhart-Harris admits.