In addition to treating depression, they can help to manage alcohol dependence, scientists say legally-approved medical “magic mushrooms” are a potent source of advantages.
Soft lighting. The furniture is comfortable. The walls are decorated with art.
For the uninitiated, the setting may appear to be an open-plan living room. But it’s actually not. It’s a facility for research specifically designed to inspire relaxation and comfort.
A psilocybin treatment session is underway.
The couch is filled with the patient. They are wearing eye shades and headphones. Music is played softly. The research group has two members in attendance to guide the discussion through eight hours. The majority of the time will be spent in silence contemplation.
Medical staff trained and certified are on site in case of an emergency.
Despite the stigmas associated with normality the therapy session here is anything but normal.
Psilocybin the active ingredient that is found inside “magic” mushroom, also known as “shrooms,” is a potent psychoactive.
Despite being 100 times less powerful than LSD It is capable of altering perceptions of time and space producing the appearance of visual distortion, feelings of euphoria and mystical sensations.
In contrast to marijuana that has experienced significant changes both in support of legalization as well as recognized medical applications such as MDMA has been in the news for its attention in recent times due to its potential for treating PTSD (some researchers believe that the drug may receive Food and Drug Administration approval within 2021) However, psilocybin is not able to enjoy the same amount of cultural significance.
Click here for where to find magic mushroom in the UK…
One could be excused to think that “shrooms” as an unimportant leftover from the excesses of the 1960s’ psychedelic decade.
However, don’t be fooled: Psilocybin has a number of medical benefits that could be derived from it.
The research has proven that psilocybin could be a potential treatment for many psychiatric as well as mental disorders, but it’s still waiting for FDA acceptance for any treatment.
The possible causes could include depression, OCD quit drinking alcohol, smoking as well as the addiction to cocaine, cluster headaches and cancer-related terminal psychological issues.
A number of high-profile initiatives have also come up in the past few times throughout Denver, Colorado, and Oregon to make psilocybin mushrooms illegal.
However, experts suggest they’re not likely to pass.
Psilocybin mushrooms are still an Schedule I drug according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, meaning they’re classified as having “no currently recognized medical use and a high risk of misuse.”
Others Schedule I drugs include marijuana, MDMA, and LSD.
However, despite social stigma and legal hurdles, researchers are moving forward with clinical trials to get FDA approval.
The Dr. George R. Greer is co-founder and president The Heffter Research Institute, a non-profit research institute which focuses on the therapeutic applications of psychedelics, including psilocybin and explains his motives:
“Our purpose is twofold: first, to conduct research that will help us to understand the brain, the mind and how it functions, and secondly helping to alleviate suffering through the therapeutic use of psychoactive drugs.”
The institute is currently focusing on two major areas of research into psilocybin including addiction and cancer-related mental diseases. Psilocybin therapy for cancer is thought to be as one among the most exciting research areas related to the medication.
In light of the large variety of possible indications for psilocybin, it’s essential to be aware that the research conducted can vary widely, ranging from single pilot studies , to Phase II or III approval trials conducted by the FDA.
This is what current research indicates about the use of psilocybin for a few possible indications.
Depression is one of the most studied treatments for psilocybin. As Healthline earlier reported in the year, the psilocybin treatment has been awarded “breakthrough therapy” designation (a review speed process) in the FDA to treat depression.
The Usona Institute, a psychedelic research institute, is working on the preparations for their phase III trial which is likely to start in the coming year.
Other addictions and smoking cessation
In a brief pilot study conducted by Johns Hopkins University, researchers found that psilocybin therapy dramatically decreased smoking habits over 12 months of follow-up.
Matthew Johnson, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine who was the study’s leader.
As per his research, psilocybin could be used to treat other disorders of substance use like cocaine and alcohol addiction.
“The general concept is that the basis of these disorders is a limited behavior and mental repertoire,” he told Healthline. “So the use of psilocybin in well-organized sessions has the capacity to get someone out of their routine and give them an insight into a bigger image and to create a mental reshaping that allows people are able to step out of the problems.”
In reality, a tiny open-label research on psilocybin’s effects and alcohol dependence showed that after treatment both drinking and heavy drinking decreased.
Researchers from Alabama are conducting research on the use of psilocybin in treating addiction to cocaine.
The psychological stress of cancer-related depression
“There’ve been promising initial outcomes in these areas like the treatment of extreme anxiety in people who are nearing death, or are diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer.” the Dr. Charles Grob Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine said to Healthline.
Grob is also associated in The Heffter Research Institute, has extensive research on psilocybin and written research about the subject, which included among other things an initial study in 2011 of psilocybin therapy to treat anxiety in patients suffering from cancer.
A double-blind, randomized, double-blind study by Johns Hopkins during 2016 showed that a single dose Psilocybin significantly improved the quality of life , and reduced anxiety and depression among people who have life-threatening cancer diagnoses.
“The one thing has the most evidence for is the cancer-related depression and anxiety. It’s a pretty solid conclusion and I’d be astonished to see if the results don’t hold to the test,” Johnson said, who was a participant in the study.
In spite of promising studies, there’s still no timetable for when, and if, Psilocybin could ever be accepted through the FDA.
The three doctors interviewed by Healthline insist that the drug could be harmful due to a myriad of causes if used incorrectly.
“It is only administered at a clinic by certified and trained doctors, therapists and therapists. It’s not available in the streets where people are able to sell it or even take too much or even take too many pills with a prescribing physician,” Greer said.
Psilocybin influences the cardiovascular system and may result in an increase in blood pressure and irregular heartbeats.
It is also able to cause permanent and serious mental health issues.
“Psilocybin is more dangerous psychologically than cannabis. It’s especially hazardous for a small proportion of people who’ve had an episode with psychosis, manic episodes, mania or even, say an intimate family member who had those problems. It can cause a manic or psychosis episode in someone who is susceptible to it,” Greer said.
There’s always the possibility of having a “bad journey,” or negative experience during the use of the drug. There are very few but documented instances of people who jump to death or behaving in the way that they put themselves at risk or others around them.
In the words of Grob states: “Taken in uncontrolled settings In reality, all betting is off. You never know what you’re getting.”
However, psilocybin therapy isn’t like having mushrooms at the party. It’s designed to be a controlled environment that will ensure no unexpected events occur.
“You can identify the risk and we have very effective ways to address this,” Johnson said.
He added “There are dangers, but they are drastically reduced in medical research and possibly in medical usage and I would suggest that the risks we face and our capability to deal with them are very reasonable in comparison to other procedures routinely employed in medical practice.”
But the efficacy and safety of psilocybin therapy must be proved in a satisfactory manner to the FDA however, and so to date, has not been.
While some are hopeful that psilocybin will follow the steps of MDMA treatment and possibly be approved within the next 5-10 years, the route to be taken isn’t crystal clear and is highly uncertain.
If asked about any realistic time frame to get the approval process, Grob told Healthline, “I do not think so. Although the research that we’re discussing has been extremely positive and encouraging but there’s not been enough research.”
“There must be more FDA-approved clinical research on psychoactive substances,” he said, “exploring both how to enhance their therapeutic effectiveness, as well as gaining an understanding of the variety of effects that medical drugs can have, which can be challenging… There are certain questions that must be addressed.”