First-of-its-kind study pits psilocybin against a common antidepressant

Can psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, match the depression-combatting capabilities of a commonly prescribed antidepressant?

The first head-to-head comparison, conducted by scientists at the Center for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London and published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, indicated that the psychedelic reduced the symptoms of condition at least as well as escitalopram, an antidepressant better known by the brand name Lexapro. Outside experts, though, said the study was designed in a way that made it impossible to know whether psychedelic mushrooms were actually more effective than escitalopram with regard to other measures of well-being, a limitation they described as “unfortunate.”

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First-of-its-kind study pits psilocybin against a common antidepressant

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