Author Topic: Magic mushrooms  (Read 255 times)

anders

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Magic mushrooms
« on: June 13, 2016, 11:30:40 pm »
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/may/17/magic-mushrooms-lift-severe-depression-in-clinical-trial

 Magic mushrooms lift severe depression in clinical trial

Results raise hopes that active substance in class 1 drug could be used to treat mental health conditions in future
Magic mushrooms
Magic mushrooms are associated more with the hippy counter-culture of the 1970s. Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian

Sarah Boseley Health editor

Tuesday 17 May 2016 10.15 BST
Last modified on Wednesday 18 May 2016 00.55 BST

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Magic mushrooms have lifted severe depression in a dozen volunteers in a clinical trial, raising scientists’ hopes that the psychedelic experiences beloved of the Aztecs and the hippy counter-culture of the 1970s could one day become mainstream medicine.

A clinical trial, which took years and significant money to complete due to the stringent regulatory restrictions imposed around the class 1 drug, has found that two doses of psilocybin, the active substance in the mushrooms, was sufficient to lift resistant depression in all 12 volunteers for three weeks, and to keep it away in five of them for three months.

The size of the trial and the absence of any placebo means the research, funded by the Medical Research Council and published in the Lancet Psychiatry journal (pdf), is a proof of principle only.

The scientists, from Imperial College London, said they hoped the results would encourage the MRC or other funders to put up the money needed for a full trial. However, the use of a placebo control, comparing those who use the drug with those who do not, will always be difficult, because it will be obvious who is having a psychedelic experience.

In spite of the outcome, the researchers urged people not to try magic mushrooms themselves.

The lead author, Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, said: “Psychedelic drugs have potent psychological effects and are only given in our research when appropriate safeguards are in place, such as careful screening and professional therapeutic support.

“I wouldn’t want members of the public thinking they can treat their own depressions by picking their own magic mushrooms. That kind of approach could be risky.”

The senior author, Prof David Nutt, said it was justified for researchers to explore the medical use of banned recreational drugs.

“It is important that academic research groups try to develop possible new treatments for depression as the pharmaceutical industry is pulling out of this field‎. Our study has shown psilocybin is safe and fast acting so may, if administered carefully, have value for these patients.”
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All the volunteers had severe depression and had failed to improve on at least two standard antidepressants. They were initially given a low dose of psilocybin to ensure they had no adverse reactions (none did) and then a higher dose a week later. They were treated in a specially prepared room, with music playing and in the presence of two psychiatrists who talked with them throughout. The psychedelic experience lasted up to five hours.

One of the volunteers, Kirk Rutter, from London, described himself as being heartbroken by the death of his mother and unable to come to terms with it in spite of counselling and medication. He said he was nervous about taking part and had never taken magic mushrooms, but said the friendly staff, the room layout and the music had relaxed him by the time he came to swallow the capsules.

“Both times I experienced something called ‘psychedelic turbulence’. This is the transition period to the psychedelic state, and caused me to feel cold and anxious,” the 45-year-old said. “However this soon passed, and I had a mostly pleasant – and sometimes beautiful – experience.

“There were certainly some challenging moments during the sessions, for instance when I experienced being in hospital with my mother when she was very ill. And during the high-dose session I visualised my grief as an ulcer that I was preventing from healing so that I could stay connected to my mother. However, by going through memories, and feeling the love in our relationship, I saw that letting go of the grief was not letting go of her memory.”

He said it was not a quick fix and he needed to keep working at feeling positive, but he was still “doing great”.

Nutt said major hurdles had to be overcome to carry out the research. It took a year to get ethical approval and there was a six-month safety study, but the hardest part was getting through the red tape.

It took 30 months to get the drug, which had to be specially packaged into capsules for the trial by a company which was required to get a licence to do so. All the regulatory approvals took 32 months, Nutt said. “It cost £1,500 to dose each person, when in a sane world it might cost £30.”
Magic mushrooms, international law and the failed 'war on drugs'
Amanda Feilding
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The researchers said they did not know whether the effect of the drug was caused by chemical changes in the brain or whether the psychedelic experience, which people describe as spiritual or mystical, gives them a new perspective. Either way, they said psilocybin offered hope for those who had been depressed for an average of 18 years - the majority of the volunteers had been depressed most of their lives.

The study was part of a research collaboration between Imperial and the Beckley Foundation, a thinktank that focuses on drugs policy.

Amanda Feilding, founder of Beckley and co-director of the trial programme with Nutt, said: “The results from our research are helping is to understand how psychedelics change consciousness, and how this information can be used to find breakthrough treatments for many of humanity’s most intractable psychiatric disorders, such as depression, addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder.”

anders

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Re: Magic mushrooms
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2016, 11:31:47 pm »
http://www.nature.com/news/magic-mushroom-drug-lifts-depression-in-first-human-trial-1.19919
Magic-mushroom drug lifts depression in first human trial

Researchers' long fight to test psilocybin's safety finally yields fruit.

    Zoe Cormier

17 May 2016
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Diverse Images/UIG/Getty Images

Magic mushrooms are taken for their psychedelic effects, but end up improving depression treatment.

A hallucinogenic drug derived from magic mushrooms could be useful in treating depression, the first safety study of this approach has concluded.

Researchers from Imperial College London gave 12 people psilocybin, the active component in magic mushrooms. All had been clinically depressed for a significant amount of time — on average 17.8 years. None of the patients had responded to standard medications, such as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), or had electroconvulsive therapy.

Brain scans reveal how LSD affects consciousness

One week after receiving an oral dose of psilocybin, all patients experienced a marked improvement in their symptoms. Three months on, five patients were in complete remission.

“That is pretty remarkable in the context of currently available treatments,” says Robin Carhart-Harris, a neuropsychopharmacologist at Imperial College London and first author of the latest study, which is published in The Lancet Psychiatry1.

The equivalent remission rate for SSRIs is around 20%.

The study's authors are not suggesting that psilocybin should be a treatment of last resort for depressed patients. “Our conclusion is more sober than that — we are simply saying that this is doable,” says Carhart-Harris. “We can give psilocybin to depressed patients, they can tolerate it, and it is safe. This gives us an initial impression of the effectiveness of the treatment.”
Drug problems

Demonstrating the safety of psilocybin is no small task. Magic mushrooms are categorized as a Class A illegal drug in the United Kingdom — the most serious category, which also includes heroin and cocaine.

The ethics committee that granted approval for the trial was so concerned that trial volunteers could experience delayed onset psychotic symptoms that it requested a three-month follow-up on the subjects.

    “The study result isn’t the remarkable part — it’s the fact that we did it at all.”

“This was unprecedented,” says neuropsychopharmacologist David Nutt at Imperial, who is senior author of the study.

It took 32 months between having the grant awarded and dosing the first patient, says Nutt. By comparison, it took six months “to get through the machinations” for his team’s previous studies using the equally illegal drugs LSD and MDMA, he says.

Ayahuasca psychedelic tested for depression

“Every interaction — applying for licenses, waiting for licenses, receiving the licenses, applying for contracts for drug manufacture, on and on — involved a delay of up to two months. It was enormously frustrating, and most of it was unnecessary,” says Nutt. “The study result isn’t the remarkable part — it’s the fact that we did it at all.”

Scientists at the Heffter Research Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, have been investigating how psilocybin could be used to alleviate depression and anxiety in people with terminal cancer, but this is the first study to look specifically at how psilocybin could be used to treat depression alone.

The World Health Organisation calls depression “the leading cause of disability worldwide”. But effective therapies are hard to find. Searching for new treatments, researchers have looked to potent and quirky alternatives such as ketamine and ayahuasca, both of which have shown promise in clinical trials.

“It’s worth noting that we have not developed any new treatments which are widely used since the 1970s for depression, despite the fact that this is the major public-health problem in the Western world and middle-income countries,” says Glyn Lewis, who studies psychiatric disorders at University College London.

How club drug ketamine fights depression

Particularly interesting, he says, is the fact that psilocybin seems to take effect with a single dose, unlike some current medications for depression that must be taken daily.

“This study is simply asking: is this interesting enough to pursue further as a treatment for depression?” says Lewis. “My own judgement is that yes, it is.”

anders

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Re: Magic mushrooms
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2016, 09:05:17 pm »
http://time.com/4338947/magic-mushrooms-for-depression/

ecause psilocybin can have almost the opposite effect on the brain, Carhart-Harris and his team wanted to investigate how psilocybin might affect depression. In their small study published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, they studied only a dozen people who had failed to respond to at least two previous treatments for their depression. They gave them two doses of psilocybin and scanned their brains using fMRI. The participants also answered questions about their depression symptoms at the start of the study and periodically for three months.

MORE: All Adults Should be Screened For Depression, Group Says

After one week, all reported improvement in their depression and two-thirds of the people were depression-free. By three months, about 58% showed improvement, five were in remission while five relapsed. “What these data show is that this is doable, and seems to be well tolerated,” says Carhard-Harris. “The efficacy of the treatment is impressive.”

anders

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Re: Magic mushrooms
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2016, 03:59:43 pm »
http://sorendreier.com/what-magic-mushrooms-do-to-your-body-and-brain/

here’s evidence that tripping on magic mushrooms could actually free the mind.

Several small studies have linked the psychoactive ingredient in shrooms (which are illegal) with several purported health benefits, including the potential to help relieve anxiety and depression.

But, as with any drug, shrooms also come with risks. And because they’re classified as Schedule 1 — meaning they have “no accepted medical use” — it’s been pretty tough for scientists to tease out exactly what they can and can’t do.

Here are a few of the ways we know shrooms can affect your brain and body:

Shrooms can make you feel good.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, magic mushrooms can lead to feelings of relaxation that are similar to the effects of low doses of marijuana.

Like other hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD or peyote, shrooms are thought to produce most of their effects by acting on neural highways in the brain that use the neurotransmitter serotonin, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. More specifically, magic mushrooms affect the brain’s prefrontal cortex, part of the brain that regulates abstract thinking, thought analysis, and plays a key role in mood and perception.

anders

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Re: Magic mushrooms
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2017, 08:31:14 am »
http://ekstrabladet.dk/nyheder/videnskab_og_teknik/magiske-svampe-er-sikrere-end-hash-og-alkohol/6680662
 Magiske svampe er sikrere end hash og alkohol

Psykedeliske svampe er det sikreste stof af alle ifølge ny stor undersøgelse, der dækker 50 forskellige lande.
Af: Videnskab.dk

- Magiske svampe er et af de sikreste stoffer i verden, siger psykiater Adam Winstock til The Guardian, ifølge Videnskab.dk.

Han står bag den årlige Global Drug Survey, der i 2017 konkluderer ovenstående.

...'
Ud af mere end 12.000 mennesker, der i løbet af året har indtaget hallucinogene psilocybinsvampe, rapporterede kun 0,2 procent, at de efterfølgende havde brug for at opsøge akut medicinsk behandling.

Det tal er fem gange lavere end for stoffer som MDMA (i tabletform kendt som Ecstasy), LSD, der som svampe er psykedelisk, og kokain.

...