Taking just two doses of a compound found in magic mushrooms can reduce feelings of depression, a new small study suggests.
Researchers found that two-thirds of patients saw a 71 percent reduction of symptoms such as sadness, pessimism and self-criticalness.
Additionally, four-weeks post-treatment, more than half of participants were considered in remission, meaning they no longer qualified as being depressed.
The team, from Johns Hopkins Medicine, says the findings provide evidence that magic mushrooms could be a treatment for mental health issues and even help push legalization of the drug.
It comes as residents in Oregon and Washington, DC voted on Tuesday in favor of measures that will effectively decriminalize magic mushrooms and other organic psychedelic drugs.
A new study from Johns Hopkins Medicine found that half of depression patients who took two doses of psilocybin, the compound found in magic mushrooms (above), were considered to be in remission
In a 2016 study, the team found that psilocybin relieved anxiety and depression among people with life-threatening cancer diagnoses.
They say these findings suggest the compound may be effective in a much wider population of patients.
'The magnitude of the effect we saw was about four times larger than what clinical trials have shown for traditional antidepressants on the market,' said Dr Alan Davis, an adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
'Because most other depression treatments take weeks or months to work and may have undesirable effects, this could be a game changer if these findings hold up in future 'gold-standard' placebo-controlled clinical trials.'
Psilocybin is a naturally-occurring hallucinogenic that is produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms.
It induces feelings of euphoria and sensory distortion similar to drugs such as Lysergic acid diethyla, or LSD, just a few hours after digestion.