'Magic mushrooms' ingredient beneficial to cancer patients, report says
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Los Angeles Times
Posted: September 13th, 2010
The psychedelic drug psilocybin, the active ingredient in "magic mushrooms," can improve mood and reduce anxiety and depression in terminal cancer patients, Los Angeles researchers reported [on September 6]. A single modest dose of the hallucinogen ... can improve patients' functioning for as long as six months, allowing them to spend their last days with more peace, researchers said. Dr. Charles Grob, a psychiatrist at Harbor- UCLA Medical Center and the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute ... and his colleagues studied 12 patients, ages 36 to 58, with advanced-stage cancer and anxiety resulting from their diagnoses. The patients were given a relatively low dose of psilocybin, 0.2 milligram per kilogram of body weight. Nonetheless, the team reported in the Archives of General Psychiatry, all patients reported a significant improvement in mood for at least two weeks after the psilocybin treatment and up to a six-month improvement on a scale that measures depression and anxiety. Most also reported a decreased need for narcotic pain relievers. No adverse reactions were observed. These types of patients normally do not respond well to psychological therapy, Grob said, but his study showed that the drug has "great promise for alleviating anxiety and other psychiatric symptoms."
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