"Magic mushrooms" are undoubtedly the most interesting treatment for depression that has been studied in recent years. As we have been reporting, there are promising results that suggest that one or two doses of psilocybin (active ingredient of "magic mushrooms") may be sufficient to cause a person to leave depression for up to 6 months, in cases where Traditional antidepressants - the so-called serotonin system re-uptake inhibitors - have failed to produce improvements.
Currently, the company COMPASS Pathways is already in the preliminary stage to perform clinical tests approved by the FDA, in order to provide this therapy in the coming years. It is believed that in 3 years a pharmaceutical license could be obtained to offer "magic mushroom" therapy. On the other hand, the state of Oregon prepares a bill to decide in the next election the medicinal legalization of psilocybin.
New research found out how this substance operates in the brains of depressed people. In a study published in the journal Neuropharmacology, a group of researchers noted that depressed people had an increase in their neural response when exposed to frightened faces 1 day after psilocybin-assisted therapy. These responses correlate with activity in the amygdala, an area of the brain linked to emotions and instincts. Psilocybin therapy increased the response to both happy faces and frightened or terrified faces, which suggests that psilocybin increases emotional connection, just the opposite of what antidepressants (SSRIs) do.
This difference is not minor, since it speaks of a radical change of treatment paradigm, with a direction towards life, towards feeling more, while antidepressants, when they work, usually reduce the sensitivity and luminosity of the world, leaving the patient in a pale and indolent comfort. Assisted therapy with psilocybin has been largely successful because of its ability to elicit an experience of ego dissolution - and connection with nature - or mystical experiences that have the effect of reenchanting and resignifying people's lives.