Factors like anxiety and depression put patients of terminal illnesses at a higher-than-average risk of suicide. Conventional antidepressants are hardly the best solution to this: In some cases, they may actually increase the risk of suicide. Now researchers at NYU Langone Health Center for Psychedelic Medicine have found that psilocybin, the psychoactive component of psychedelic mushrooms, may present a healthier alternative to conventional pharmaceuticals in situations like this.
When given psilocybin in combination with clinical therapy, patients in advanced stages of cancer showed marked improvement in overall mood.
“The findings suggest that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy produced rapid, substantial and sustained (weeks to years) improvements in anxiety, depression, existential distress and quality of life,” said the study’s lead author, Stephen Ross.
These improvements were evident in as little as eight hours after a psilocybin experience, with positive effects lasting six and a half months afterward.
These findings are consistent with those from three previous trials from the last decade: one conducted at Johns Hopkins, one at UCLA-Harbor, and one at NYULH/Bellevue Hospital. In all three of these studies, a single dose of psilocybin in conjunction with psychotherapy was linked to strong, long-lasting