Psilocybin mushrooms are considered illegal in most countries, and in the US they are an illegal-Class 1-drug. Some states have decriminalized these mushrooms allowing clinical psychotherapy trials. One such trial has found that Psilocybin, the mind-altering chemical compound, found in psychedelic mushrooms can help in treating depression.

Does mushroom help with depression treatment

The recent clinical trial on psilocybin mushroom aka magic mushroom is the largest trial of its type ever conducted. It revealed that a single 25mg dose of synthetic psilocybin has “reduced depression scores significantly” over a period of three weeks.

The psilocybin mushroom trial

The trial involved 233 participants from 10 countries in Europe and North America. Most of them had been severely depressed for more than a year and were aged around 40. They were all suffering from treatment-resistant depression. This condition of the participants ensured that the trial results were not affected by other depression treatments. 

Participants were randomly selected and given 1mg, 10mg, and 25mg of synthetic psilocybin for a period of three weeks. They were lying on a bed in a calm room when given the psilocybin. A therapist was also present to provide any support needed.

The psilocybin mushroom experience

Most participants entered a “walking dream-like” state for four to six hours after intaking psilocybin. They left the clinic once returning to their normal state. The next day and a week later, the participants had psychological support to help them talk through their experiences.

How do mushrooms affect depression?

The results of the trial reveal that after one 25mg dose of psilocybin, alongside psychotherapy:

  • One in three participants, at week three, was no longer diagnosed as depressed.
  • One in five participants saw a significant improvement at 12 weeks.

So people in the 25mg group benefited the most. 

Magic mushroom benefits and disadvantages


  • When combined with psychotherapy, treatment-resistant depression has a cure.
  • Globally, some 100 million people have treatment-resistant depression, and the trial has found a way to treat it.
  • About 9 million people in the US suffer from depression and seek medical treatment. Out of this, 3 million are suffering from treatment-resistant depression. Results from the trial also push the medical community toward the direction of finding newer and more effective drugs for treating depression.


Participants of the trial had adverse side effects like:

  • Suicidal behavior
  • Self-harm

Mild side effects like:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

These side effects occurred in 179 of the 233 participants.

Does mushroom help with depression treatment?

The trial findings may help to treat about 3 million people in the US suffering from treatment-resistant depression. About 9 million people in the country are taking depression medication. The final stage of the study is due to start in December 2022. Researchers say it could take three years before the Food and Drug Administration approval.