Psilocybin and Mood Improvement
There have been many studies showing the positive effect of psilocybin on mood. Here are summaries of three of these studies:
Psilocybin and the Amygdala
here is a part of our brain called the amygdala that is important in how we process emotions. We know that psilocybin affects the amygdala. Psilocybin has been shown to reduce the brain’s response to negative things and make people feel happier.
Researchers put on a study with 25 healthy volunteers. Each volunteer was given either psilocybin or a fake treatment called a placebo. Then their brains were scanned using a special type of brain imaging called functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). They then showed the volunteers some negative pictures.
The study showed that when the volunteers were given psilocybin, their amygdala responded less to the negative pictures than those given the placebo. This means that psilocybin seemed to make the amygdala less reactive to negative feelings. Also, in the same study, they saw that psilocybin increased positive mood.
These findings could be important for understanding and treating conditions like depression. The amygdala in depressed people work too hard, so psilocybin might be able to slow it down.
A Study Using Psilocybin and Emotional Support to Help People with Depression That Doesn't Get Better Easily
Here's what they found:
The effects of psilocybin started about 30 to 60 minutes after taking it. The effects reached their peak after 2 to 3 hours, and then faded away after about 6 hours. On a scale from O to 1, the patients rated the intensity of the effects as 0.51 for the lower dose and 0.75 for the higher dose. The patients didn’t have any serious problems from taking psilocybin, but some of them experienced temporary anxiety, confusion, nausea, or a headache. The researchers also saw a big decrease in depressive symptoms one week and three months after the higher dose of psilocybin. The patients also reported feeling less anxious and having more enjoyment in their lives.
What does this mean?
Studying if Magic Mushrooms Can Make People Happier
How They Did the Study
This was like a special test. They did it between December 2019 and June 2022 in 11 places in the US. They invited people to join the test, and they divided them into two groups. One group got a single dose of magic mushroom (psilocybin), and the other group got something that looked like it but didn’t have the magic stuff (niacin). They both got therapy to help them through the experience. They chose adults between 21 and 65 years old who had been very sad for at least two months. Some people with certain problems like thinking strange things, using too many drugs, or feeling really, really bad and wanting to hurt themselves couldn’t join. If they were taking medicine for their sadness, they had to stop before joining the test.
What They Checked
They looked at a special test score for sadness called the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS). The higher the score, the sadder someone is. They looked at this score at the beginning and then again after 43 days. They also looked at it after 8 days. They wanted to see if people were less sad after the magic mushroom treatment.
They also checked how well people could do normal things, like work or spend time with friends. They used something called the Sheehan Disability Scale to measure this. And they cooked at how long people felt better and if they felt completely better.
What They Found
Why It Matters
 Psilocybin-induced Decrease in Amygdala Reactivity Correlates with Enhanced Positive Mood in Healthy Volunteers
 Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study
Robin L Carhart-Harris, Mark Bolstridge, James Rucker, Camilla M J Day, David Erritzoe, Mendel Kaelen, Michael Bloomfield,
James A Rickard, Ben Forbes, Amanda Feilding, David Taylor, Steve Pilling, Valerie H Curran, David J Nutt,
 Single-Dose Psilocybin Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Raison CL, Sanacora G, Woolley J, et al. Single-Dose Psilocybin Treatment for Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized
Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2023;330(9):843-853. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.14530