Psilocybin, the psychoactive compound found in certain mushrooms, has been found to alleviate anxiety and depression in cancer patients, according to a pair of studies carried out by teams at New York University and Johns Hopkins. In both studies, the majority of patients reported significant reductions in these symptoms, with effects lasting for at least six months.

The compound works by binding to receptors in the brain that stimulate growth and healing, leading to experiences described as mystical or spiritual, which can have profound effects on individuals’ life perspectives. It is suggested that these experiences, rather than the compound itself, are what lead to the lasting improvements in mental health.

Despite the promising results, the use of psilocybin is not without controversy. It is classified as a Schedule I drug in the United States, meaning it is considered to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. Critics argue that the studies are small and lack a control group, calling for larger, more rigorous trials.

Nonetheless, proponents of psilocybin therapy believe it could revolutionise mental health treatment, offering a new approach for patients who have not responded to traditional therapies. They envisage a future where psychedelic therapy is mainstream and professionally regulated.

Go to source article: