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Magic mushrooms could replace antidepressants in just five years, according to an expert in the field.
Dr Robin Carhart-Harris, head of Imperial College London's Centre for Psychedelic Research, made the claim.
Team - Mushrooms - Depression - Symptoms - Medication
He is leading a team investigating how psilocybin mushrooms can ease depression symptoms compared to standard medication.
Although the results are pending, the scientists claim the drug is giving participants a 'release', while antidepressants leave them feeling 'blunted'.
Dr - Carhart-Harris - Independent - Bookmakers - Odds
Dr Carhart-Harris told The Independent: 'I would imagine if you had some bookmakers doing the odds, there would be strong odds on that [psychedelic therapy] will be licensed sometime in the next five to 10 years – maybe sooner.'
Antidepressants have a list of side effects 'twice as long' as magic mushrooms, which have little evidence of causing addiction or the risk of overdosing.
Researchers - Class - Drug - Experiences - Users
However, the researchers admit the Class A drug can cause 'hellish' psychedelic experiences that force users to confront past traumas.
The Imperial study is one of the first UK trials comparing psilocybin mushrooms to antidepressants.
UK - Cent - People - Symptoms - Depression
In the UK, 19.7 per cent of people over 16 showed symptoms of depression or anxiety in 2014, Mental Health Foundation statistics reveal.
And more than 7.3million people were prescribed antidepressants in 2017-to-2018, according to a Freedom of Information request.
US - Adults - Depression - Year - Anxiety
In the US, over 16.1million adults suffer from depression every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Society of America.
And around 12.7 per cent of people over 12 take antidepressants every month, an analysis from the National Center for Health Statistics revealed.
Mushrooms - UK - Drugs - Act - Class
Fresh, but not dried, magic mushrooms were legal in the UK until the Drugs Act 2005 made them a Class A substance.
In the US, psilocybin, the active ingredient in the mushrooms, is listed in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, making it illegal to grow or possess.
Imperial - Trial
In the ongoing Imperial trial,...
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