WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - The history of the use of so-called magic mushroom as a hallucinogen is believed to be as old as human society. The most common magic mushroom is Psilocybe semilanceata and it is eaten raw, dried or as stewed tea.
Psilocybin, the main active ingredient in magic mushrooms, is responsible for the hallucinogenic effects. In the U.S, magic mushroom is considered a Schedule I substance, which means that it has a high potential for abuse.
A study conducted by Johns Hopkins researchers has found that Psilocybin can ease psychologically harmful symptoms of fear, anxiety or depression in cancer patients.
The study involved 51 participants diagnosed with life-threatening cancers, and they underwent two treatment sessions scheduled five weeks apart - one with a low Psilocybin dose (1 or3 milligrams per 70 kilograms) taken in a capsule and meant to act as a 'control' placebo and the other with a moderate or high dose Psilocybin (22 or 30 milligrams per 70 kilograms).
According to the researchers, there was a significant improvement in anxiety, depression, quality of life, and spirituality in a substantial majority of the participants for up to six months from a single large dose of Psilocybin.
Nausea, vomiting, psychological discomfort, such as anxiety or paranoia and transient increases in blood pressure were some of the adverse effects observed in the study participants.
A similarly designed study has been conducted by researchers from the New York University Langone Medical Center, and that involved 29 cancer patients.
The results of the two studies are published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
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