News Update: Magic Mushrooms in Maryland

Magic mushrooms became a popular edible recently. It is mainly known for its psychedelic properties as it is classified as a hallucinogen. Magic mushrooms indeed are an essential part of indigenous life. Now, many are starting to see that these aren’t ordinary mushrooms. Recent studies show that magic mushrooms have medicinal and recreational benefits.

But, another side of society doesn’t see the benefit of taking any magic mushrooms in Maryland. Some people still think magic mushrooms are highly addictive drugs. Others take their beliefs from the controversial “war on drugs” that started in 1971. This prompted officials to believe that shrooms must be controlled according to the law. Yet, this has not stopped certain states from reconsidering.

Some states turned to research to find out about the true nature of the magic mushroom. As a result, some areas of the US have decided to decriminalize or legalize its use entirely. This is fair, considering the positive effects that have already been proven.

Magic Mushroom Research by Johns Hopkins Medicine

dried shrooms on two hands

Magic mushrooms are known for their psychedelic effect on the user. This is all because of a chemical called psilocybin. When taking a magic mushroom, psilocybin handles the side effects. These side effects include nausea, drowsiness, and increased blood pressure. But, research shows that psilocybin causes a significant amount of benefits as well.

The most famous study came from Johns Hopkins. This was in their Launch Center for Psychedelic Research. Their research involved a small group of adults with significant symptoms of depression. In the study, they were each given two doses of psilocybin. Along with the use of supportive psychotherapy, the results were unexpectedly positive.

They were able to reduce the depression symptoms in each of their patients significantly. In the case of the patients and their conditions, most showed improvement. Others, on the other hand, achieved remission through the four-week follow-up. They decided to make their research much more specific. This is by taking subjects with different types of depression.

Researchers took 24 people for the experiment. The researchers gave them tests to determine the seriousness of their depression. The average score was 23, which is under the serious depression type. But, after their standard test, psilocybin lowered the average to 8. This falls under mild depression.

Along with their depression research, they found out something more about psilocybin. They discovered that depression is only one of the areas that psilocybin can affect. For example, anxiety is a common occurrence in cancer patients. It showed that carrying the weight of the diagnosis is very stressful for them. They saw a reduction in anxiety levels in these patients.

According to their research, these magic mushrooms can act as effective antidepressants. These findings challenge both stereotypes from people and the laws made by the state. But this doesn’t mean that magic mushrooms are free to consume now.

The Legal State of Psilocybin in Maryland

gavel and scales on wooden background

The research shows something positive about magic mushrooms. But it does not excuse the person from following the law. All states, including Maryland, follow the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. This law outlines the different substances and their classes, known as Schedules.

In the US, psilocybin is a Schedule I classification offense. This means that it can cause substance abuse disorder. This means that the substance is highly addictive and illegal. But, in legality and penalties, all states have different laws for them.

For example, Oregon was the first state to legalize magic mushrooms fully. This is despite the law stating that it is illegal. Other areas of the United States, such as Denver and Oakland, decriminalized possession. The change is because of the research that has come up recently.

Maryland Psilocybin Possession Laws

Maryland patterns its laws after the Drug Enforcement Agency. But there are certain things to remember about shrooms and psilocybin in the state. For example, possessing the spores of any mushroom is entirely legal. This applies to psychedelic mushrooms as well because they do not contain psilocybin.

It is legal to buy, own, and transport these magic mushroom spores in the Old Line State. This may be exciting to recreational users, but the state still limits what they can do with the spores.

The grey area of the law in Maryland is growing and cultivating magic mushrooms, which is illegal. Possessing the spores is fine, but at the same time, people must also check their mushrooms. Once they are mature enough to develop psilocybin, it is no longer legal.

Being a hallucinogen, possessing any amount of a controlled substance is a misdemeanor. This leads to a four-year sentence with a $25,000 fine. An excessive amount is considered a felony, leading to more serious consequences. Possession of such substances with the intent of distributing them will lead to twenty years in prison with a $20,000 fine.

What’s Happening Now?

university of maryland

The University of Maryland also conducted its research. Similar to Johns Hopkins Medicine, they focused on psilocybin and its effects. Instead of people, Dr Scott Thompson used mice for his research. They found that in mice, it can still act as an antidepressant. This is even if the psychedelic effects are blocked.

Natalie Hesselgrave conducted another experiment for the school of medicine. They also used a mouse model of depression. Again, they were placed under stress for several hours in the span of two to three weeks.

However, it is almost impossible to measure depression in mice. So they used plain and sugar water rewards systems. The idea is that when they get depressed, the preference for sugar water disappears. But, 24 hours after their dose of psilocybin, changes were already showing. The “depressed” mice were able to regain their taste for sugar water.

Psilocybin works by turning on the brain’s “happy receptor,” called serotonin. Also, one of these receptors handles psychedelic effects. For the experiment, the researchers used ketanserin. This was used to block this receptor from causing stress. But, by using psilocybin, they discovered that the mice turned back to sugar water. This is even without activating the receptor.


Maryland follows the laws of the DEA on drugs that make psilocybin illegal. But the state may follow in Denver and Oakland’s footsteps. Maryland may reconsider its rules on substances with the use of research. 

This is an exciting event for magic mushroom users living or visiting the state. But, it will take some time before people can freely use them, like in Oregon. Before people can enjoy growing and eating shrooms, appeals and hearings must happen.

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