Magic mushroom compound psilocybin may help treat OCD, too

Psilocybin, the best-known psychoactive compound found in psychedelic mushrooms, has been implicated as a potential way to treat depression, anxiety, end-of-life fears, and possibly PTSD. A new study has found evidence that this compound may also be an effective way to treat Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), assuming it is paired with other known strategies like psychotherapy.

The scientific community is experiencing something like a psychedelic revolution. Though these substances are still scheduled and will result in drug charges in many countries, several have loosened laws to allow scientists to study these compounds. Anecdotal reports from many users have claimed vast mental health benefits associated with psychedelics, including relief of anxiety and depression.

An increasing number of studies have been published that focus on psilocybin, a naturally-occurring chemical that impacts particular serotonin receptors in the brain. When taken in sufficiently high enough doses, the substance causes what is popularly known as a psychedelic effect. Many people have reported mystical, spiritual, or otherwise beneficial experiences from taking these substances (though they're not without risk, of course).

A study recently published in the Journal of Psychedelic Studies reports evidence that psilocybin may also be able to help those who suffer from OCD when paired with other treatments, which are not usually enough on their own to eliminate the disorder. This doesn't necessarily mean that all OCD sufferers would benefit from psychedelics — rather, the researchers say the evidence indicates that a wider investigation into this potential is reasonable.

The study concludes:

The preliminary safety and efficacy data provide sufficient scientific grounds to justify the expansion of systematic investigation of psilocybin as a treatment of OCD. But while excessive restrictions and political inertia impede such an expansion, dissuading both academia and industry from research, the cost is ultimately borne by patients.