Majic Medicine.

Documentary Main Title: Majic Medicine.

A Netflix documentary.

Initial release: November 8, 2018
Director & Producer: Monty Wates

Click here to watch.

Review by Athanasios Komianos

This is an interesting documentary in the sense that it provides us with a lot of interesting insights from a novel approach that was certainly much needed. In this documentary we see medical researchers test psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, as a possible and alternate treatment for depression. Several volunteers offered themselves to be tested on this preliminary initiative, since conventional approaches seemed not have produced any changes on their mood.

Watching through this film I reached on the 25th minute of the video where I could easily relate to Mr Andy’s session. If any of you watch this documentary, you will discover that it is one of these sessions that we regularly have in our offices that really are no longer impressing us. What occurred to me through this process is that EARTh must organize in such a way and follow a similar protocol to show in a practical manner how effective our therapy is. May be the EARTh Board and the Research committee as well as the PR committee should look seriously into this prospect for the near future. We have not come out with a documentary since 2015 and I think this is about the time to start doing something similar.

Mainstream physicians may be more open to the prospect of psylocibin treatments than Regression Therapy. It is far easier for them to accept the effectiveness of a chemical compound on the brain and furthermore on the mind than the unleashing of the autotherapeutic abilities of our clients through regression therapy or hypnotherapy. This staunch physicalistic approach to mental and psychological ailments is still as prevalent as ever.

I quote here the scientific abstract of the study seen on the documentary:


Rationale: Recent clinical trials are reporting marked improvements in mental health outcomes with psychedelic drug-assisted psychotherapy.

Objectives: Here, we report on safety and efficacy outcomes for up to 6 months in an open-label trial of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression.

Methods: Twenty patients (six females) with (mostly) severe, unipolar, treatment-resistant major depression received two oral doses of psilocybin (10 and 25 mg, 7 days apart) in a supportive setting. Depressive symptoms were assessed from 1 week to 6 months post-treatment, with the self-rated QIDS-SR16 as the primary outcome measure.

Results: Treatment was generally well tolerated. Relative to baseline, marked reductions in depressive symptoms were observed for the first 5 weeks post-treatment (Cohen’s d = 2.2 at week 1 and 2.3 at week 5, both p < 0.001); nine and four patients met the criteria for response and remission at week 5. Results remained positive at 3 and 6 months (Cohen’s d = 1.5 and 1.4, respectively, both p < 0.001). No patients sought conventional antidepressant treatment within 5 weeks of psilocybin. Reductions in depressive symptoms at 5 weeks were predicted by the quality of the acute psychedelic experience.

Conclusions: Although limited conclusions can be drawn about treatment efficacy from open-label trials, tolerability was good, effect sizes large and symptom improvements appeared rapidly after just two psilocybin treatment sessions and remained significant 6 months post-treatment in a treatment-resistant cohort. Psilocybin represents a promising paradigm for unresponsive depression that warrants further research in double-blind randomised control trials.

Now, we should consider here the case of Andy who experienced an attempt of smothering from his father at a very young age. He was almost choked to death when his father placed a pillow and tried to kill him. He also felt a very dark power which scared him incredibly and which he tried to fight off and attributed it to his mother. It is interesting to notice the different assessments of the content of Andy’s session by the conductors of the experiment. It seems to me that psychologist Ross Watt Is closer to what seems to be happening than her colleague Marc Aixalà who takes the symbolic route in his interpretation. Critics would assert that this could be attributed to the False Memory Syndrome, since Andy’s mother diaries do not contain such a severe incident. But maybe the mother was not there during the smothering attempt. We have no way to know unless we have access to the whole transcripts of both sessions as well as the six-month assessment session.

One more statement I want to make is on the biochemical dimension of the compound. What was used in this study was a 10 mg dose of psilocybin on the first session and a 25 mg dose on the second session. For those of you who have consumed alcohol in your lives you may agree with me on this one. What chemistry tells us is that a glass of wine contains thirteen of alcohol, a glass of beer five percent of alcohol or a glass of vodka contains forty percent of alcohol. But you all will agree with me that the effects that these drinks have on our mood are extremely different from one another. Let us suppose that we bought a bottle of pure alcohol from the pharmacist, and we diluted it with water accordingly. Five percent for the ‘beer’, thirteen percent for the ‘wine’ and forty percent for the ‘vodka’. Do you think that it would feel like drinking beer, wine, or vodka. The obvious answer would be certainly not. It is not only the alcohol that matters but all the other substances that accompany it, and that makes a tremendous difference in the subjective experience. It would make sense then that the lab manufactured psilocybin is as close to the mushroom as the thirteen percent alcohol diluted in water, is to a wonderful Porto wine. I hope a made my point clear.

We welcome such studies that are a step to the right direction, and we would like to see a not so restricted and tight protocol on these treatments. More sessions should be scheduled if necessary. Andy’s depression was not as severe as Mark’s and John’s. If Mark and John were given more doses of treatment along with further psychotherapeutic support, my guess is that they may had not relapsed in that disappointing manner.