Can magic mushrooms help cancer patients?
Psilocybin, the hallucinogen found in “magic” mushrooms, may have the power to help cancer patients deal with the psychological suffering associated with cancer, claims new research from the New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD). Previous studies have suggested that psilocybin may help ease depression and increase "openness." And according to Anthony Bossis, PhD, a clinical assistant professor at NYUCD and Langone Medical Center, it may also relieve cancer patients of some of the "existential distress" that can accompany a life-threatening diagnosis. "The emotional, spiritual and existential distress that can often accompany a diagnosis of cancer often goes unidentified and untreated," says Bossis. He notes that cancer sufferers often experience side effects from the physical pain of illness and chemotherapy—such as anxiety, depression, anger, denial, social isolation, hopelessness, and loss of independence—which the hallucinogenic drug could help alleviate.