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Magic Mushrooms to Treat Depression? This Startup Just Got FDA OK to Begin Trials

A psychedelic ingredient in “magic” mushrooms will be the center of a new drug trial just approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). According to Fox Business news, the U.K., Netherlands and Canada already granted approvals for trials there. All the trials involves testing the ‘shrooms’ ability to treat depression. Billionaire Peter Thiel is financing a startup that would make microdoses of the hallucinogenic mushrooms available in gel caps.

Some may claim this is just a last-ditch experiment for aging hippies, but previous studies have shown there may some real science behind using psychedelic plants or ingredients in them, such as psilocybin (which also is part of the new drug trials), to treat psychiatric problems. The truth is psilocybin — aka magic mushrooms — has been found to have profound benefits for cancer patients with anxiety and depression.

Taking it one step further would be a natural, positive progression of the science, especially since data from the National Institute of Mental Health shows the prevalence of anxiety disorders in the U.S. may be as high as 40 million, or about 18 percent of the population over the age of 18. And while psilocybin clearly has a mind-altering effect on your brain, it’s quite different from conventional psychiatric drugs and, as such, offers a hopeful alternative to chemical drug combinations.

One reason for this is because, unlike pharmaceutical psychotropics and antidepressants, which can cause serious side effects in some people — including thoughts of suicide — psychedelics appear to create a whole different state of being centered on peace, love, gratitude and open-mindedness.

To that end, since 90 percent of the world’s cultures use psychedelics for healing and spiritual maturation and understanding, it only makes sense that clinical trials should be done to pit them against pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, it’s worth mentioning that your gut plays a huge role in your mental state, and that many studies have shown that maximizing your intestinal health, particularly with the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus, has a marked effect on your feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
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