Speaking of psychedelic drugs, the first thing comes to my mind is Hippies tripping out on magic mushrooms or LSD in the 1960's.
However, scientists are now studying these powerful mind-altering drugs, which have the potential to treat depression.
Psychedelic drugs may deal with depression effectively
In one study, the research team recruited a group of people with terminal cancer and depression. Six months after being injected a single dose of psilocybin, 80% of people showed improvement in their depression.
This may be because psychedelic drugs can affect synapses, which are structures that allow a nerve cell to pass signals to another nerve cell.
Compared to healthy people, depressed people have fewer synaptic connections in the brain areas regulating mood and cognition. While psychedelic drugs can increase the synapses in the brain, according to a study in mice.
The once-banned psychedelic drugs
Psychedelic drugs were once banned by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 1970 because these drugs like psilocybin and LSD are highly addictive and are easy to be abused by people.
Not until 2000 did the Food and Drug Administration permit scientists to study psilocybin again.
"Now, with a more open attitude, we have all of the technological advances that we've accumulated over this time to apply to a growing field that almost nobody has explored before. From a scientific point of view, it is essentially the 'promised land' and will hopefully yield results that will make a real difference in the clinic," said Mario de la Fuente Revenga, Ph.D.
Let me clarify, this doesn’t mean a person with a broken heart can now walk for five minutes and buy magic mushrooms from the closest pharmacy. Psychedelic drugs are still controlled substances because they have a high potential for abuse.
Scientists are now planning to conduct further study and hopefully, they may create drugs that can fight depression without addictive side effects.