Psilocybin, the psychoactive compound from magic mushrooms, is being used to treat depression and anxiety in terminally ill patients in a new trial at Melbourne’s St Vincent’s Hospital.
The trial, headed by St Vincent’s clinical psychologist Dr Margaret Ross, will begin in April with 30 patients recruited from the hospital’s palliative care who have not responded to anti-depressant or anti-anxiety therapies.
The patients will be given a single dose of 25mg of synthetic psilocybin in conjunction with psychotherapy sessions.
Ross told BuzzFeed News that this a mid-range dosage that will provide patients with a psychedelic experience that will last in the range of four hours but they will be supervised for up to eight hours after the psilocybin has worn off.
“We don’t want it to be underwhelming, we don’t want it to be overwhelming,” she said.