Psilocybin one of the key psychedelic compounds in magic mushrooms, has been the subject of another scientific trial to investigate its potential use as a medicine to improve mental health outcomes.
In the study, published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, authors from different universities in Canada showed that psilocybin use can be beneficial for those who have experienced ‘adverse childhood experiences’, otherwise known as childhood trauma.
The data not only show psilocybin use has a positive effect on the mental well-being of those who have lived through childhood trauma but also that those who took psilocybin more frequently experienced an even greater easing of their distress.
“Importantly, there appears to be a dose response effect, with more exposure to psychedelics being associated with greater psychological effect and improvements to psychological well-being” study authors wrote.
Due to psilocybin therapy being illegal in most countries, researchers used an online survey to conduct the study. The purpose of the survey was to assess how people felt about using psilocybin, or what their experiences were if they had used it before.
A total of 1249 participants aged over 16 completed the survey on psilocybin as well as an Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire (ACEQ) from which researchers were able to correlate the information to produce their results.
“We found that the effect of adverse childhood experiences on psychological distress was lower among those who had used psilocybin compared to those who had not,” the study states, “suggesting potential benefit of psilocybin in treating the psychological consequences of adverse childhood experiences.”
Data derived from the survey also show a “high-level of acceptance and interest” in the use of psilocybin that researchers attribute to the increase in consumption seen in many countries across the world, especially in the West.
This recent increase has been matched by the surge in the number of studies that have been conducted and published on the effects magic mushrooms and other psychedelic drugs have on trauma and other conditions affecting mental health.
Other research into the benefits of psychedelics has shown they have the potential to help people who have ADHD, reduce eating disorders, help tackle depression, bad habits, and prejudice, and even improve people’s sex lives. Many of these studies have produced results that add to the ever-increasing body of evidence that suggests psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin-containing magic mushrooms may play an important role in the future of mental health care.
Scientists who worked on the childhood trauma study concluded that “Taken together, these findings suggest that psilocybin therapy may be potentially acceptable and may feasibly help in supporting survivors of adverse childhood experiences with particularly strong benefits to those with more severe childhood adversity.”
However, they warned that “psilocybin use outside the care of a provider can result in adverse experiences,” such as psychotic episodes or bad trips characterised by anxiety or paranoia”.