Story at a glance

  • A study recently published in Nature: Scientific Reports found the use of small doses of psychedelics resulted in a reduction of anxiety and depression symptoms among participants.
  • The international study led by the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) included more than 8,500 people from 75 countries who used an anonymous self-reporting system.
  • Over the past several years, numerous studies have shown small doses of psychedelics — psilocybin specifically – have resulted in improvements in the levels of depression among participants.

A new study is adding to the growing body of research suggesting the use of certain hallucinogens can help treat people battling mental health disorders. 

A study recently published in Nature: Scientific Reports found the use of small doses of psychedelics such as psilocybin, the active ingredient found in “magic mushrooms,” or LSD resulted in a reduction of anxiety and depression symptoms among participants. 

The international study led by the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) included more than 8,500 people from 75 countries who used an anonymous self-reporting system. About half of the participants were "microdosing," or consuming very low quantities of psychedelics, while half were not. 

“In comparing microdosers and non-microdosers, there was a clear association between microdosing and fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress—which is important given the high prevalence of these conditions and the substantial suffering they cause,” Joseph Rootman, UBCO doctoral student and the study’s lead author, said in a statement. 


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Researchers also said the study is the first to examine the practice of combining small doses of psychedelics with other substances such as niacin, lions mane mushrooms and cacao. 

Over the past several years, numerous studies have shown small doses of psychedelics — psilocybin specifically — have resulted in improvements in the levels of depression among participants. 

A 2016 study looked at whether the drug could help with symptoms of cancer-related depression and anxiety. A group of cancer patients were given a single dose of synthetic psilocybin and reported their anxiety and depression symptoms eased. A 2020 follow-up study found many participants were still feeling the positive effects of the treatment years later.  


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Published on Nov 23, 2021