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Chemical in Magic Mushrooms Helps Treat Anxiety in Cancer Patients

The "magic mushroom" chemical psilocybin can help cancer patients relax and feel less distressed about their disease

The "magic mushroom" chemical psilocybin can help cancer patients relax and feel less distressed about their disease, two teams of doctors reported Thursday.

The drug eased anxiety and depression in 80 percent of the patients who took it in the studies, and many described their one-time sessions as ranking among the most meaningful experiences of their lives.

Dr. Stephen Ross, director of addiction psychiatry at New York University's Langone Medical Center, gave the following statement to NBC news: "We found that a single dose of psilocybin immediately reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients that had advanced cancer and life-threatening forms of cancer."

While the drug is clearly not for everyone, it's worth testing under carefully controlled conditions in more patients, the researchers concluded.

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