Psilocybin is the prodrug of psilocin (4-OH-dimethyltryptamine), a non-selective serotonin 2A receptor (5-HT2AR) agonist and classic ‘psychedelic’ drug1. Both compounds occur naturally in the ‘psilocybe’ genus of mushrooms, and are structurally related to the endogenous neurotransmitter serotonin (5-OH-tryptamine, 5-HT).
psilocybin is shown to affect two key areas of the brain.
The amygdala – which is heavily involved in how we process emotions such as fear and anxiety – became less active. The greater the reduction, the greater the improvement in reported symptoms.
The default-mode network – a collaboration of different brain regions – became more stable after taking psilocybin.
Studies suggest psychedelics could be a breakthrough therapy for mental health issues including depression, anxiety, addiction, OCD, and PTSD through their ability to work on a deep emotional as well as biological level. Matthew Johnson, who leads the Johns Hopkins University Psilocybin Research Project, says “Unlike almost all other psychiatric medications that have a direct biological effect, these drugs seem to work through biology to open up a psychological opportunity”.
A 2010 study rated LSD and psilocybin as among the safest of 19 commonly used drugs, significantly safer than alcohol and tobacco so why is it a schedule 1 drug.
In an evaluation of the safety and abuse research on the drug in hallucinogenic mushrooms, Johns Hopkins researchers suggest that if it clears phase III clinical trials, psilocybin should be re-categorized from a schedule I drug—one with no known medical potential—to a schedule IV.
There are five different schedules of controlled substances, numbered I–V. The CSA describes the different schedules based on three factors:
Potential for abuse: How likely is this drug to be abused?
Accepted medical use: Is this drug used as a treatment in the United States?
Safety and potential for addiction: Is this drug safe? How likely is this drug to cause addiction? What kinds of addiction?
Studies in both animals and humans show low potential for abuse, the researchers say. When rats push a lever to receive psilocybin, they don’t keep pushing the lever like they do for drugs such as cocaine, alcohol or heroin. When it comes to human studies, people who have used psilocybin typically report using it a few times across their lifetime.
Surely any psychoactive substance less risky than alcohol should be legally available in some way? Anything else is pure discrimination against sections of the population that happen to prefer other substances.
What possible justification is there for saying “OK, you can legally go out binge drinking every Friday and Saturday night, but if you go out picking for magic mushrooms once a year then we’ll lock you up”? The use of psychoactive substances is a near universal practice of human cultures across history as a form of medicine. These substances have been used for hundreds of years without one recorded death or over dose, to say these drugs are likely to be abused and have no medical value is simply foolish and incorrect.
Scientific studies have shown on multiple occasions these substances help with the symptoms on PTSD and Depression as well as combatting symptoms of fear and suffering in terminally ill patients.
In a small double-blind study, Johns Hopkins researchers report that a substantial majority of people suffering cancer-related anxiety or depression found considerable relief for up to six months from a single large dose of psilocybin — the active compound in hallucinogenic “magic mushrooms.”
The Johns Hopkins team released its study results, involving 51 adult patients, concurrently with researchers from New York University Langone Medical Center, who conducted a similarly designed study on 29 participants. Both studies are published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology on Dec. 1.
The Johns Hopkins group reported that psilocybin decreased clinician- and patient-rated depressed mood, anxiety and death anxiety, and increased quality of life, life meaning and optimism. Six months after the final session of treatment, about 80 percent of participants continued to show clinically significant decreases in depressed mood and anxiety, with about 60 percent showing symptom remission into the normal range. Eighty-three percent reported increases in well-being or life satisfaction. Some 67 percent of participants reported the experience as one of the top five meaningful experiences in their lives, and about 70 percent reported the experience as one of the top five spiritually significant lifetime events.
Susan Collins if you care about our Veterans and citizens as much as you claim to you need to allow access to these medicines. Our Veterans put their life’s on the line for us and it’s time we take a stand and fight for them. John Hopkins Scientists have released countless articles on the benefits of these substances and to ignore the facts and evidence is ignorant.