Since its emergence, thousands of valuable discoveries have revolutionized the practice of medicine. From the first vaccine to the accidental development of penicillin. From the development of diarrhea treatments to robotic surgeries. The method of medicine has changed for the better.
These discoveries and revolutionary success are attributed to the studies and research today. Today, people still do whatever research they can to improve the practice of medicine. With all this going on, you can bet that the way medicine is practiced will continue to change over time.
One perfect example of improvements in medical treatments is the research on psychedelics. Currently, research in this field has started to make waves in medicine. The use of psilocybin has shown the potential to be more than a recreational drug.
But, as it stands today, psilocybin isn’t as accepted for several reasons. One of the biggest reasons would be the stigma that comes with it. You might be asking, “Are shrooms illegal?” Well, yes. But with what’s going on now, that could change soon.
From the Newsroom: Psychedelic Treatment with Psilocybin
Psychedelics such as psilocybin have been studied for decades now. At present, many studies done on psilocybin point out its therapeutic potential. The majority highlight the positive effects magic mushroom use has on the mind.
One notable finding from the studies is the effectiveness of psilocybin mushrooms. The research showed that it was effective in treating depression. Studies by Johns Hopkins University showed their results on psilocybin. Depressed patients were given psilocybin under therapeutic conditions. This helped in alleviating depressive symptoms.
Other studies also pointed out the use of psilocybin and psychotherapy sessions. This has shown to be an effective treatment modality for depression. Currently, there’s even a chance that psilocybin might become an alternative to antidepressants. This is as they act on the same brain areas.
Aside from depression, psilocybin mushrooms could be used in palliative care. The NYU Psilocybin Cancer Anxiety Study looked at how giving ill patients mushrooms. The study focused on their attitude change towards their disease. By the end, the patients were more open. They’ve accepted their conditions, reducing their anxiety.
Several studies have highlighted a benefit that these magic mushrooms could provide someone. While science is yet to understand shrooms, progress is proving to be promising.
Reclassification Recommendation For Psilocybin 2018 (Research)
Despite all the progress, shrooms are still considered Schedule I controlled substances. This means that there is still no approved medical benefit, and this substance is also prone to abuse.
But, back in 2018, researchers appealed to get it reclassified to a Schedule IV substance. The main reason for reclassification is the studies. It showed that these substances are not prone to any abuse.
Animal and human studies proved that there is low potential for magic mushrooms to be abused. There was also a separate study that was done on rats. The rats did not push levers to receive psilocybin as much as they did with alcohol and cocaine in the study. Human studies have shown that those who have used psilocybin do not use it during their lives.
In terms of safety, the studies have shown that it’s one substance that harms its users the least. Lethal levels of psilocybin have not yet been discovered. This gives it a low chance of any potential fatal overdose.
Reclassifying it as a Schedule IV, it can be more accessible to the public. Of course, it will still be controlled in the same way that prescription drugs are. The reclassification, however, recognizes that there are indeed medical benefits. In the next few years, this reclassification can happen.
Johns Hopkins Launches A Center For Psychedelic Research
While reclassification is still ongoing, researchers are still happening. This is to better understand magic mushrooms and their benefits better.
Johns Hopkins has put up a center for psychedelic research. It is named the “Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research.” Their focus is the extent to which psychedelics can affect people. Their center will take a closer look at how psilocybin induces these changes, from how psychedelics can affect one’s behavior to how it influences brain function.
What’s more, they’ll look at how they can use it as a therapy for different mental illnesses. Examples include treating Alzheimer’s, PTSD, anorexia, and even alcohol addiction in the depressed. This research will help revolutionize how medicine treats each patient’s needs. This is thanks to the help of magic mushrooms.
Psychedelic Use May Lead To Treatment For Alcohol Abuse.
Among the many interesting studies, its possible treatment is also showing some promise.
Back in the ’50s and ’60s, a study was made on alcohol addiction. Psychedelics were actually done to treat the addiction. Researchers used LSD to treat those with an alcohol abuse disorder. The rationale behind the LSD could cause them a trip profound enough to help them break their habit. After much trial and error, LSD began to show some potential in treating alcoholism.
Unfortunately, the US government’s crackdown on drugs put a stop to the research.
But psilocybin has regained attention. Research has looked into the use of psychedelics as a treatment for alcoholism. Furthermore, anecdotal evidence showed promise. The results show that a significant number of people can get over their alcoholism.
Today, institutions such as NYU are still carrying out studies for its use. But, as psilocybin was much easier to dose, it was picked over LSD in its use for treatment.
After all that, one might still ask, “Are mushrooms illegal?” Unfortunately, yes.
Despite what all the research says, psilocybin still isn’t accepted throughout the US. Unfortunately, they’re still classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. This deems it illegal for anyone to consume or even have magic mushrooms. But, not all hope is lost.
While it is still illegal in the majority of the US, some have decriminalized it. There is also one place where mushrooms have been made legal for therapeutic use. Aside from that, there are still initiatives being carried out by advocacy groups, like the Drug Policy Alliance. Their aim is to help change the United States’ policy on drugs. This is to change one’s views of drug use as a public health concern rather than law enforcement.
Places Where They’re Decriminalized
Last May 2020, Denver, Colorado, made history. They are the first to decriminalize psilocybin. While it isn’t legalized, adults could no longer be charged with a crime or prosecuted for having or using it.
That following June, the city of Oakland in California decriminalized psilocybin as well. Santa Cruz, California, followed suit later in January 2020. They’re hoping to decriminalize the possession and cultivation of adults.
Soon enough, DC also decriminalized psilocybin along with other psychedelics. This was possible with their Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020. Following suit in the decriminalization of these plants was Washtenaw County in Michigan. Three cities in Massachusetts followed, namely – Somerville, Cambridge, and Northampton.
Places Where They’re Legalized
As of now, there is only one state that has decriminalized and legalized psilocybin. Last November 2020, Oregon became the first US state to do this by passing Ballot Measure 109.
This measure allowed anyone to use psilocybin for therapeutic uses. This is as long as it is done with a therapist or other licensed facilitator. But, uses other than that would still be considered illegal. However, it will have the least priority to law enforcement as it is decriminalized.
The majority in the US still sees psilocybin in a bad light. But we still have hope that psychedelics will become legal!
But, one should not lose hope. Like how it took a long time for cannabis to get legalized in some states, it may take psilocybin some time too. Studies on psilocybin showed undeniable proof of its benefits. It is only a matter of time to see it legalized. What’s more, there is still much to learn about psilocybin. This means that there are only more good things to come on its benefits and how it can be utilized.
It’s only a matter of time before people start viewing psilocybin positively. A little patience, some hope, and wholehearted trust in science are all you need until then.