Recently, researchers have disclosed a groundbreaking discovery that psilocybin, the psychoactive compound that is found in magic mushrooms, holds significant potential in treating depression among cancer patients.
According to the statistics and data, about 25-33% of people who are suffering from cancer show some serious depressive symptoms that can only be treated through clinical treatments.
At first, these cancer-depressant patients were given a dose of antidepressants and also went through the process of psychotherapy.
These two methods were proven to be the most effective ones, with success rates in curing depression to date, but some limitations were associated with these methods in reducing the symptoms.
How Is This Drug Helpful In Treating Psychiatric Disorders?
While the researchers are still finding the answers to the quest, they started using psychedelics to treat the disorders related to mental health, which is affected due to cancer.
To everyone’s awe, where other treatments were declared ineffective in treating psychiatric disorders, this drug found in magic mushrooms appears to be promising and has passed the necessary clinical tests.
This study is being led by Manish Agarwal, who is an oncologist; he blurts out his frustration, saying that he wanted some method or treatment that could cure not only the tumor but also the person who has gone through the phases of cancer.
When asked about the recent study and findings, he states that this needs to be further researched so that the full potential can be determined.
He says that this was an open-label study to find an effective cure to treat depressant patients, and since millions of lives depend on the result of this study, it must be fool-proof before being executed completely.
How Was The Test To Check The Effectiveness Of Psilocybin Carried Out?
When the researchers were about to conduct the trials to test psilocybin, they first enrolled thirty patients who were suffering from curable and non-curable cancer and major depressive disorder (MDD).
All the patients who were a part of this clinical trial went through the process and screening to fulfill the criteria of having a Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDM-D).
In this, they had to make sure that their score of depression was above 18 and that they had not been consuming any kind of antidepressant or medical cannabis.
Normally, such trials take place in an academic setting, but for a change, this was conducted in a community cancer center.
Once all thirty of them were enrolled, these patients went through physical screening and later were sent to their allocated therapists with their medical records.
During their first two therapy sessions, the patients were given the details of the psilocybin treatment and their roles during the time.
After that, all these patients were divided into small groups before they were given 25mg of synthesized psilocybin for eight weeks. They were closely monitored during this time, and as stated by Dr Agarwal, different groups showed different studies based on their approach.
After the administration of psilocybin for eight weeks, the researchers used a different tool to measure the score of their depression.
This time, instead of HAM-D, they used the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS), and in response, they saw a significant reduction in the scores.
About 50% of the patients were noted to have a reduction in their depression scores, and their symptoms lessened.
Since the result of the trial was a success, the researchers further decided to observe these patients for three more weeks and check whether the response was maintained or not.
The research aimed to get a MADRS score that is less than 10, which would be considered a success.
After the second trial, there was a positive response from the patients as they responded well to the administration of psilocybin.
According to the co-authors and researchers of this study, this is certainly a moving and encouraging discovery in the realm of medical science, as several lives can now be saved.
Depression has been one of the major concerns of the medical authorities as they were able to treat the tumors but not the depressive nature of the patients.
Now that this effective way to treat such patients has been discovered, there are hopes that cancer patients will receive physical and mental care in the future.