Researchers have started to explore the potential for psilocybin, the psychedelic drug found in “magic” mushrooms, to treat obesity.
Already, a mounting body of research from scientists at Johns Hopkins and New York University suggests the drug can help with anxiety and depression when traditional antidepressant medications don’t work.
That’s because psychedelics like psilocybin have the ability to change how information moves through the brain, decreasing negative thoughts, self-criticisms, and overwhelming feelings. A mindset change can positively affect a person’s overall life outlook and how they move about the world every day.
Now, Dr. C. Laird Birmingham, an eating disorder specialist and epidemiologist, is working with psychedelics research startup NeonMind to design a study that examines whether the trippy drug could be effective for weight-loss purposes.
The study, which will take place at the University of British Columbia, is still in its design phase, but Birmingham said previous psilocybin research suggests it’s promising.
“Psilocybin has the potential to serve as a new and different tool to help people lose weight and maintain their weight loss by changing neural pathways,” Birmingham said in a press release emailed to Insider. Those neural changes could teach the brain to stop linking “life stress and trauma to eating behavior,” he said.