Approximately 2.3% of adults will suffer from symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder at some point in their life. The disorder is characterized by intrusive, persistent thoughts and compulsive behaviors and a substantial number of people don’t respond well to standard treatments.
A report recently published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs presents the case of a 30-year-old man who showed clinically significant reductions in treatment-resistant OCD symptoms after consuming psilocybin-containing mushrooms, more commonly known as “magic” mushrooms.
The man had suffered from disabling symptoms even after treatment with a variety of medications, including antidepressants, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and ketamine. He was undergoing treatment at a clinic when he decided to take psychedelic mushrooms.
The patient told medical professionals that he had consumed about 2 grams of dried mushrooms while at home. A friend was present to watch over him. The man did not report experiencing hallucinations, but did experience a sense of disassociation for about an hour. During this hour, his OCD symptoms completely disappeared. Despite being warned of the dangers of consuming the mushrooms, he continued to consume them about once every two weeks.
Prior to consuming psilocybin, the patient scored 35 on the Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale Test, indicating that he was suffering from “extreme” symptoms. Six months after consuming psilocybin, the patient’s score on the test had dropped down to 13, indicating that he was suffering from “mild” symptoms.
“His obsessive thoughts and compulsions had significantly been reduced, as well as the rumination, worry and anxiety, and checking behavior,” the clinicians wrote in their case report. “He is now able to perform most of his daily tasks and work without interruptions, meaningfully improving his wellbeing and quality of life. The patient continues his treatment, while consuming the psilocybin-containing mushrooms as a therapeutic adjuvant.”
There has been growing interest in psilocybin, but scientists have only just begun to examine whether psilocybin can aid the treatment of OCD.
A study published in 2006 found that psilocybin was associated with transient reductions in OCD symptoms. But the study was only meant as a first step — and only examined 9 participants.
Researchers at Yale University and the Heffter Research Institute are currently conducting a randomized, placebo-controlled study to examine the effects of psilocybin on OCD.
“These and future studies will determine if psilocybin and other psychoactive compounds of psilocybin- containing mushrooms are clinically effective and safe for the treatment of OCD,” the clinicians wrote.
The report, “Long-term Amelioration of OCD Symptoms in a Patient with Chronic Consumption of Psilocybin-containing Mushrooms“, was authored by Agustin Lugo-Radillo and Jorge Luis Cortes-Lopez.