Magic mushrooms could help palliative care

Magic mushrooms could help palliative care

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The mind-bending drugs are hoped to ease anxiety in terminally ill patients.

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MAGIC mushrooms could soon be used to help ease palliative care patients.

The synthetic, mind-bending drugs are hoped to give terminally ill patients a new perspective on their lives, guided by psychiatrists to remove the fear and depression which can often take over their final months.

Melbourne’s St Vincent Hospital is running a trial program with the mushrooms. It has taken more than a year for the trial to gain approval by ethics committees as well as federal and state authorities, but the first 30 patients will be treated from April.

St Vincent’s clinical psychologist Dr Margaret Ross said the study would see patients given a single dose of psilocybin, which is so powerful it can unlock a section of a patient’s brains to give them an altered outlook on their situation approaching death.

It can last for six months or more.

Up to three in 10 palliative care patients can experience extreme distress in their final months.

The trial is set to start recruiting participants in March. Those interested in taking part can email virginia.francis@svha.org.au

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