“Magic Mushrooms” and Depression


John Stonestreet

A new treatment for depression is undergoing clinical trials at Johns Hopkins. Early results suggest that the two doses of the active ingredient psilocybin, a main ingredient of the hallucinogenic drug known as “magic mushrooms,” significantly reduced symptoms of major depression in adults. 

Some of our most effective treatments come from unorthodox sources. The heart drug Wayfarin, for example, was originally derived from rat poison. Aspirin is taken from willow trees. So, we shouldn’t rule out psilocybin’s valid medical uses too quickly. 

On the other hand, covering up symptoms of depression isn’t really treating it, much less curing it. Mental illness can have chemical, psychological, physiological, relational, and spiritual causes, or even all of the above. Manipulating brain chemistry is a shortcut that can miss the bigger picture of who we are and what healing looks like. 

We cannot medicate away our need for purpose, belonging, love, or forgiveness. The best treatments will always see people in the fullness of who they are, made in the image and likeness of God.


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