A recent study shows that psilocybin, the active component in "magic mushrooms", can help in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other fear-based mental disorders. This discovery goes hand-in-hand with fear extinction.
According to Eglė Krištopaitytė, author of "Psilocybin May Help to Treat PTSD", PTSD is characterized by the failure of fear extinction, the ability to extinguish fearful memories when threats are no longer present. Researchers hypothesized that psilocybin could restore fear extinction among patients with PTSD by increasing neuroplasticity in the brain, specifically the hippocampus. Researchers set up a study where they administered a single dose of psilocybin to fear-conditioned mice. The psilocybin-treated mice showed improved fear extinction compared to nontreated mice. Psilocybin further reversed the decline in proteins associated with fear extinction and neuroplasticity.
Research further suggests that psilocybin may treat depression, anxiety, stress, and alcohol use disorder. Australia recently approved psilocybin as a medication for treatment-resistant depression. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also granted psilocybin a breakthrough therapy designation for the treatment of major depressive disorder, and both Oregon and Colorado voted to allow psilocybin for therapeutic purposes.
Krištopaitytė, E. (2023, May 4). Psilocybin may help to treat PTSD. Healthnews. https://healthnews.com/news/psilocybin-may-help-to-treat-ptsd/