Psilocybin breaks rigid patterns in the depressed brain, study shows

Psilocybin, the active compound in magic mushrooms, can ‘open up’ the brains of people with depression, helping patients to overcome rigid thought patterns and negative fixations, new research suggests.

A study led by the Imperial Centre for Psychedelic Research has shown that psilocybin therapy increases brain connectivity in people living with depression, even weeks after the treatment. The psychedelic acts in a way that conventional antidepressants do not, suggesting that psilocybin could be an effective, viable alternative to treating depression.   

“These findings are important because for the first time we find that psilocybin works differently from conventional antidepressants, making the brain more flexible and fluid, and less entrenched in the negative thinking patterns associated with depression,” says Professor David Nutt, head of the Imperial Centre for Psychedelic Research. 

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