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expert reaction to psilocybin and treatment-resistant depression

Psilocybin, the active component of magic mushrooms, is being seriously considered as a therapy for people with treatment-resistant depression. Publishing in The Lancet Psychiatry journal a group researchers have now gone on to test the safety of psilocybin in a small group of patients with treatment-resistant depression.


Prof. Jonathan Flint, Professor of Neuroscience, University of Oxford, said:

“This is an open-label feasibility study in 12 patients. Subjects were given an extensive preparatory session and considerable support during the drug exposure – exactly what was provided is not entirely clear but the authors note  that “considerations related to the music selection and other aspects of the clinical setting, will be discussed in separate publications”.

“Given the minute sample size, the open label nature of the trial, and the large number of additional uncontrolled features that accompanied the drug provision, it is impossible to

1) attribute clinical efficacy to the drug

2) determine if response is placebo driven

“Since Psilocybin has been taken probably for thousands of years, the finding that it is not toxic is hardly news –  there is nothing in this paper to indicate that it might cure depression.”

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