Looks like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wasn’t tripping when espousing the potential mental health benefits of so-called magic mushrooms. Psilocybin fungi have been deemed worthy of investigation by researchers at King’s College in London who are in the process of determining if and how ‘shrooms could be used as a legitimate treatment for depression.
Their recent study, sponsored by mental-health care firm Compass Pathways, aimed to test “the safety and tolerability profile of psilocybin,” the active ingredient of psychedelic mushrooms, according to company co-founder Dr. Ekaterina Malievskaia.
As a result, 89 healthy volunteers were administered 10-milligram and 25-milligram doses of the compound in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. To prevent any unplanned trips, the trial was monitored by psychological consultants, according to a statement from researchers.
And while study participants indeed got high, Bloomberg reports, they also experienced “changes in sensory perception and positive mood alteration.” Even better, the trippindicular truffles had no “negative effects on cognitive and emotional functioning.”
The study’s lead investigator, Dr. James Rucker, called the findings “clinically reassuring.” He added that they “support further development of psilocybin as a treatment for patients with mental health problems that haven’t improved with conventional therapy, such as treatment-resistant depression.”
The next phase of testing psilocybin is already underway with 216 patients in Europe and North America who suffer from depression that hasn’t responded to established medications.
It’s unclear when the unorthodox depression treatment will be ready for the psycho-pharmaceutical marketplace. However, the research marks a mental health milestone in a world where ‘shrooms are often associated with Birkenstock-sporting hippies.
But this isn’t the first time someone’s touted the mental-health properties of the fantastical fungus.
In June, NYC congresswoman and rabble-rouser AOC filed legislation encouraging studies of psilocybin’s effects on various ailments. And both Oakland, California, and Denver, Colorado, made headlines this year after becoming the first US cities to decriminalize magic mushrooms.
But don’t start scarfing down mushrooms a la Super Mario when you’re feeling blue — the antidepressant compound works best at 1/10 to 1/15 of a typical dose, scientists say.