Evidence supporting the use of psychedelic drug psilocybin as a treatment for depression is growing, with a new study uncovering its long-term effects on the brain.
The drug is naturally produced by hundreds of species of fungi, and some anthropologists have suggested that evidence of their use in religious ceremonies dates back 6,000 years.
A new study by scientists at Yale, published in the journal Neuron, has found that a single dose of psilocybin in mice caused an immediate and lasting increase in connections between neurons.
“We not only saw a 10% increase in the number of neuronal connections, but also they were on average about 10% larger, so the connections were stronger as well,” said Yale’s Alex Kwan, the paper’s senior author and an associate professor of psychiatry and neuroscience.
The study supports the findings of previous laboratory experiments that indicate psilocybin and aesthetic ketamine both popular recreational drugs can decrease depression.