Although better known as a hallucinogen, magic mushrooms or mushroom pills have their properties in the treatment of mental problems. The therapeutic component is called psilocybin, and it is the main component responsible for the hallucinogenic effects of magic mushrooms. Unfortunately, mental therapy using psilocybin can only be found in several regions abroad, one of which is in Oregon, United States, where magic mushrooms are legal when used under a doctor’s supervision. The clinical use of magic mushrooms is based on a small-scale study of 24 adults with major depression. In a paper published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, it is stated that two doses of psilocybin can reduce many symptoms of depression.
It is found that the effect (of psilocybin) was 4 times stronger than that of traditional antidepressant drugs that are widely found on the market. Since depression therapy usually lasts weeks or even months and has unwanted effects, the results of this research could be groundbreaking, especially if it succeeds in undergoing standard clinical trials in the future. The Johns Hopkins study is the latest research exploring the efficacy of the psilocybin component in treating mental problems. Several other studies have even described the usefulness of these components in treating anorexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and addiction. David Nutt, professor, and director of the neuropsychopharmacology unit at Imperial College London said that the above research shows more evidence of a “fast and potent effect” of the psilocybin component.
Unfortunately, from a scientific point of view, the study participants already knew that they would receive magic mushrooms, so their judgment was prone to personal bias. The psilocybin component is said to create visual and auditory hallucinations, as well as alter one’s state of consciousness for several hours after being ingested. In the United States, possession of magic mushrooms is considered a criminal offense because, in that country, these plants are classified as illegal drugs. In Oregon itself, the production and ownership of the psilocybin component must be approved by the Oregon Health Authority, and cannot be obtained other than through a licensed health facility.