A single dose of psilocybin can alleviate negative moods in patients with life-threatening cancer, according to a new study presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology.

Two groups of patients were given 2 separate doses of psilocybin—the major hallucinogenic component of magic mushrooms—1 group was given a high enough dose to induce changes in perception and mystical type experiences, while the other group was given a lesser dosage.

After 5 weeks of receiving psilocybin, patients who received the higher dosage reported significantly lower levels of anxiety and depression when compared to the group that received the lower dose. In a 6-month follow-up, patients reported how the positive effects to their mood had persisted from the single dose.

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Symptoms of anxiety and depression often arise after patients are given a cancer diagnosis. The mood healing qualities of hallucinogens have been discussed anecdotally since the 1960s, but clinical evaluations remain unclear. Authors of this study suggest that a single dose of psilocybin may be sufficient to produce enduring decreases in the negative mood of patients with life-threatening cancer.

For more information visit acnp.org.