Science Scope

Magic mushroom ingredient can calm end-of-life anxiety

Posting in Cancer

Researchers find that a magic mushroom ingredient can help ease anxiety that is associated with late-stage cancer patients.

The hallucinogen psilocybin, or less medically known as magic mushrooms, can treat anxiety that is associated with late-stage cancer patients. Remarkably, it only took a single dose of the magic mushroom ingredient to make the patients less depressed six months in.

The study was published in the Archives of General Psychiatry — which detailed what happened when researchers examined 12 patients after giving them a small dose of the mushroom derived drug.

Hallucinogenic studies of the 1950s to 1970s showed promising results, but after widespread street use of hallucinogens like LSD led to rather restricting federal laws — academics were quick to abandon their studies.

But this study shows that patients with terminal cancer might get a trip from taking magic mushroom derived drugs.

The University of California Los Angeles researchers think times have changed and it's time to revisit this type of research again. (See Linda Marsa's feature in Discover on how an acid trip can cure your OCD).

Look, California is voting on the legalization of marijuana in November. And getting high is acceptable in 14 states that prescribe medical marijuana. Does this mean the sentiment of using illegal drugs for treatment might be easing up?

In related news, gap year students in Thailand are drinking magic mushroom milkshakes.

Boonsri Dickinson

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Boonsri Dickinson is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has written for Discover, The Huffington Post, Forbes, Nature Biotech, Technewsdaily.com, Techstartups.com and AOL. She's currently a reporter for Business Insider. She holds degrees from the University of Florida and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure