Magic mushrooms could replace antidepressants within five years, says new psychedelic research centre
Author: Alex Matthews-King
Arp [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
Exclusive: 'People on antidepressants long-term say they fell blunted, with psychedelic therapy it's the opposite, they talk about an emotional release, a reconnection'
Hallucination-inducing drugs like magic mushrooms could be about to break big pharma’s stranglehold on the hugely lucrative market for antidepressants, according to the head of the world’s first centre for psychedelic research.
Antidepressant prescriptions have doubled in England in a decade with around seven million adults taking the drugs, and the global market is predicted to be worth $15.9bn (£12.5bn) by 2023.
At Imperial College London, Dr Robin Carhart-Harris is leading one of the first trials to test how therapy using psilocybin mushrooms, which are currently banned in the UK, compares to leading antidepressants.
While he won’t prejudge the results of the study, he says participants describe a cathartic emotional “release” with psilocybin therapy – the polar opposite of antidepressants, which patients complain leave their emotions, whether positive or negative, “blunted”.
It is the first of many studies planned under the banner of the new Centre for Psychedelic Research at London’s Imperial College.
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