Scientists in the US have found that the active ingredient of magic mushrooms, psilocybin, can reduce anxiety and improve mood in people with cancer.
Charles Grob from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, California, and colleagues, recruited 12 people with advanced-stage cancer who also suffered from anxiety.
The volunteers received one dose of psilocybin or the vitamin niacin, reports New Scientist.
Several weeks later they received the other treatment. The volunteers' heart rate, blood pressure and temperature were monitored throughout each treatment. They were also assessed for levels of depression, anxiety and mood.
Volunteers reported feeling less depressed and anxious two weeks after receiving psilocybin but not two weeks after niacin alone. Six months later, the level of depression was significantly lower in all volunteers than it had been before the treatments began.
The report has been published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, DOI.