Single dose of magic mushrooms can relieve anxiety, depression in cancer patients - study

A single-serve of magic mushrooms can relieve anxiety and depression in cancer patients, according to a new study. 

The research out the US shows that patients who took psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms, felt more hopeful and less afraid of dying. 

The study of 15 participants took place over five years and was conducted by scientists at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine. 

Almost five years after taking the compound while having therapy, between 60-80 percent of patients experienced "clinically significant" drops in their levels of anxiety and depression.

They also "overwhelmingly" linked positive life changes to their psilocybin-assisted therapy, and "rated it among the most personally meaningful and spiritually significant experiences of their lives", according to the findings published this week in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

The team behind the study says these findings provide evidence that magic mushrooms could be an effective treatment for mental health issues among cancer patients and even help push the legalisation of the drug. 

"Our findings strongly suggest that psilocybin therapy is a promising means of improving the emotional, psychological, and spiritual well-being of patients with life-threatening cancer," said Dr Stephen Ross, co-author of the study. 

One patient said the treatment gave them "a different perspective on my life". 

"[It] has helped me to move on with my life and not focus on the possibility of cancer recurring. I try not to hold onto or stress unimportant things."

"It's hard to explain... something in me softened," said another.

"I realised that everyone is just trying (mostly) to do the best they can. Even me. And that matters, since we are all connected."

Previous studies out of Johns Hopkins University show that mushrooms are one of the substances with the least harm to users and the community, while they could provide extraordinary medical benefits.