Hallucinogenic mushrooms are classified as a Schedule 1 drug in the United States, meaning they are considered to have the highest potential for abuse and lack any medical application.
A new study out of England, however, demonstrates that psilocybin, the active chemical in magic mushrooms, creates fundamentally new neural networks in the brain. Published in Journal of the Royal Society Interface, study leaders say those new networks can disrupt the feeling that sufferers of depression describe as "being in a perpetual rut."
Another study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2012, found that psilocybin enhanced the ability of depressed individuals to recall positive memories.
"The researchers concluded that psilocybin might be useful in psychotherapy as an adjunct therapy to help patients reverse 'negative cognitive biases' — a phenomenon common in depression by which one has a greater recall of negative memories than positive ones — and facilitate the recall of important memories."
Before any psychological benefits of mushrooms are realized in the United States, however, their classification as a Schedule 1 drug must be overcome. To be sure, advocates recommend that further mushroom research concentrate on adult depression.
As Harold Koplewicz explains, adult depression is more debilitating than teenage depression. Adults lose both the pleasure of the hunt and the feast:
Read more at the New York Times
Photo credit: Shutterstock