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By now, it is very well known that magic mushrooms, or psilocybins, are used to treat depression and alleviate anxiety thanks to psilocybin, the hallucinogen found in these organisms.
Psilocybin is one of those compounds that the scientific community has been studying intensely in recent years thanks to its properties to improve mental health conditions, and in various studies it is stated that the substance can work as well as a common antidepressant drug to treat the symptoms of depression.
Now, new research published in Drug Science claims that psychedelic mushrooms might also help treat color blindness. Human vision depends on three types of cone cells: red, blue, and green. The eyes of a person with normal color vision use all three types of cone cells, which means that her vision works properly. But in some people, a type of cone cell perceives light out of alignment, leading to color vision deficiency (CVD), also known as color blindness.
Researchers in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology at the Center for Behavioral Health at the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute in Ohio conducted a case study on a 35-year-old man with red-green CVD (mild deuteranomalia), which has a higher prevalence rate and is hereditary in most cases. The patient had a history of psychedelic use, after which he noticed a considerable improvement in his vision. This led the man to check the results using the Ishihara Test, the most common color vision test, where the subject is asked to distinguish numbers or paths printed in colored spots on a background of spots of another or other colors.
The patient self-administered the Ishihara Test before eating the mushrooms and received a score of 14. If a person scores 17 or higher, they have normal vision. If he scores 13 or less, it means he has DVC. The subject retested 12 hours after ingestion and scored 15. But 24 hours after he took it, his score went up to 18, which was higher than the Ishihara Test’s minimum group score of 17. Normal color vision.
On the ninth day following his mushroom experience, the subject’s score peaked at 19, and about four months later, it was still high at 18. The individual was given another chance to take the Ishihara Test a year later, and this time he scored 16.
Although he was below the normal vision threshold, it was still higher than the score of 14 he had originally scored. As you might expect, the fact that the subject gave himself mushrooms makes it hard to believe the data that the study team looked at. However, the researchers also cited another 2020 study, which suggested that psychedelics could lastingly improve CVD symptoms in some people.