Tuesday, 15 Jun 2021

Bloke trips on magic mushrooms and becomes ‘tree’ during trial for depression

A man has spilled the beans about his psychedelic trip on the drug in magic mushrooms after taking part in a UK clinical trial examining if it works for treating depression.

Steve had suffered from depression for 25 years and was interviewed in the BBC Two documentary The Psychedelic Drug Trail, which aired on May 19.

He said he struggled to "put a foot out of bed in the morning" when his depression was at its worst.

In the small trial with 59 volunteers, participants could receive either a high dose of psilocybin and a placebo, or a very low dose of psilocybin and escitalopram.

Steve was participant number 28 in the trial by Imperial College London and was one of those given a high dose of psilocybin, the hallucinogenic in magic mushrooms.

Describing his experience in the documentary, he said: "It was as colourful as anything you can imagine, colours that perhaps I had never seen before.

"And I was seeing them all together at the same time, I was inside a kaleidoscope and these colours were playing out in the most extraordinary pattern.

"Beautiful and wild… wild beyond imagining.

"I felt that I had been subatomically picked apart, the dandelion clock just 'whoosh' and away in the breeze, that's how I felt. And I was left with nothing."

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Footage shows him lying on the bed in a darkened room with the therapists.

He added: "I was the roots of a tree, and I was underground and I was connecting with everything out there and the thing I really felt most was a joy.

"Joy like I have never experienced before. It is really, really powerful stuff."

In a press release by Imperial College London, Professor David Nutt, principal investigator on the study, said: "In our study, psilocybin worked faster than escitalopram and was well tolerated, with a very different adverse effects profile.

"We look forward to further trials, which if positive should lead to psilocybin becoming a licensed medicine."

Study lead, Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, added: "These latest findings build on our previous research testing psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression, and offer the most compelling evidence yet to support efforts towards licensing psilocybin therapy as a regulated mental health intervention."

Magic mushrooms are a Class A drug in the UK and adverse side effects can include anxiety, paranoia, nausea, stomach ache flashbacks, and persistent hallucinations.

There is also a risk of poisoning, which can be fatal, if the wrong type of fungus is consumed by mistake.

In the documentary, the BBC warned: "All psychedelic drug use sown in this programme was part of a carefully controlled clinical trial under the supervision of specially trained psychotherapists.

"You should always consult your doctor before you stop change or start any new treatment."

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