this news story and associated articles was interesting
Walcoff had volunteered to participate in a study of how the psychedelic drug psilocybin, the main psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, affects the brain in cancer patients with anxiety and depression. The promising results of that five-year study, published in December, have prompted some researchers to liken the treatment to a "surgical intervention."
The researchers believe they are on the cusp of nothing less than a breakthrough: A single dose of psychedelic drugs appears to alleviate the symptoms of some of the most common, perplexing, and tragic illnesses of the brain. Because depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, the timing seems ideal.
In people like Walcoff, whose depression and anxiety strike after a cancer diagnosis like a powerful blow, one dose of psilocybin seemed to quiet her existential dread, to remind her of her connectedness with the world around her, and, perhaps most importantly, to reassure her of her place in it.
And these results don't seem to be limited to people with cancer or other life-threatening illnesses. Participants in a handful of other studies of psychedelics consistently ranked their trips as one of their most meaningful life experiences— not only because of the trip itself, but because of the changes they appear to produce in their lives in the months and years afterward.
Still, the existing research is limited — which is why, scientists say, they so badly need permission from the government to do more.