A psychedelic drug found in magic mushrooms, psilocybin, works to reduce symptoms of severe depression better than antidepressants, said a recent study.
Based on brain scans of some 60 people, researchers have found that the drug has the potential to provide a unique treatment to manage depression.
While psychedelics are being studied to treat an array of mental health disorders including anorexia, patients suffering from depression are warned to consult a physician instead of taking the drug on their own.
Prof David Nutt, study author and head of the Imperial College London's Centre for Psychedelic Research, said the latest findings on psilocybin were "exciting" and "important".
He said people's brains have become "more flexible and fluid" up to three weeks after consumption during drug trials. Months later, the patients had better possibilities of experiencing improved mood.
Brains scanned with standard antidepressants, however, did not exhibit similar changes, said the results published in Nature Medicine.
"This supports our initial predictions, and confirms psilocybin could be a real alternative approach to depression treatments," Prof Nutt said.
Psychedelics are a type of hallucinogens which can impact a person's sensory systems, alter their thinking and emotions.
While regular antidepressants are taken every day, psilocybin may only need to be taken once or twice to produce the same effect - but further research on more patients for longer is needed to confirm that, reports BBC.
Prof Robin Carhart-Harris, senior study author, said, "We don't yet know how long the changes in brain activity seen with psilocybin therapy last, and we need to do more research to understand this."
"We do know that some people relapse, and it may be that after a while their brains revert to the rigid patterns of activity we see in depression."