Magic Mushrooms Ease Cancer Anxiety

Science takes a new look at psilocybin
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Sep 7, 2010 2:49 AM CDT
Updated Sep 7, 2010 6:25 AM CDT
This bottle contains a pill in another experiment psilocybin.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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(Newser) – Psilocybin, the key ingredient in the favorite hallucinogenic "magic mushrooms" of trippy space cadets everywhere, is proving to be a mood elevator for those suffering from cancer. Late-stage cancer patients given a moderate single dose of psilocybin were less anxious, and significantly less depressed six months later compared with patients given a placebo, a new study has found. The findings support earlier studies that discovered hallucinogens could have powerful mood enhancing effects. Those studies were dropped after recreational use of hallucinogens triggered a federal crackdown.

"The culture was going through tremendous upheaval" 40 years ago, Dr. Charles Grob of UCLA told Reuters. "These compounds were associated with a very politically active counterculture. Everything had to be shut down. Times have changed and it's now possible to pick up this research model again." Federal law currently prohibits psilocybin for any use, though Grob is optimistic that could change. "I think there is a greater capacity to be open-minded and let science dictate our conclusion, not politics," he said.

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