Magic mushrooms are no longer just a psychedelic that you hear trippy stories about. New research shows that the substance that once seemed taboo (sound familiar?) could actually help treat severe cases of depression and is on the path toward legalization. So, yes, this means that sometime soon, doctors could literally prescribe patients with doses of shrooms.
According to a new study, these mushrooms are now designated as a "breakthrough therapy" for a slew of issues, starting with depression. This nomination effectively brings them one step closer toward becoming a legally consumable drug.
But how exactly did this revelation come about? The active ingredient in magic mushrooms is psilocybin, which is behind the "high" feeling of euphoria and the psychedelic visual distortions. Scientists are now researching the benefits of psilocybin on treating depression and a variety of other ailments — and so far, they're finding positive results.
The recent study spearheading these revelations was conducted by King’s College London and COMPASS Pathways and found that volunteer participants who suffered from treatment-resistant depression were able to safely consume and tolerate psilocybin with no adverse effects. This is the largest study of its kind to date, and the results encourage more research. The course of this program analyzed the effects of a 10 mg dose and a 25 mg dose, tested against a placebo, on 89 volunteers that experience treatment-resistant depression.
If the research continues to bear positive results, then one day it might be possible to use psilocybin as a form of therapy. COMPASS Pathways is already studying how psilocybin can be used alongside a specially trained therapist to treat depression.
“We are focused on getting psilocybin therapy safely to as many patients who would benefit from it as possible,” said Dr. Ekaterina Malievskaia, the co-founder of COMPASS Pathways. “We are grateful to the many pioneering research institutions whose work over the years has helped to demonstrate the potential of psilocybin in medicine.”
In the 1970s, former President Ronald Reagan mounted the war on drugs, a national campaign that demonized drugs and filled-up prisons. During this time, LSD, psilocybin and mescaline were designated as ‘Schedule 1’ substances in the UN Conventions on Drugs, meaning they were not allowed to be prescribed by the medical community. Nearly 40 years later, these psychedelic drugs are finally being researched as possible treatments for addiction, Alzheimer’s disease, anorexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and migraines.
The gap between party drugs and medical drugs has always existed, but emerging research is working to narrow this divide. Cannabis has gone through a monumental cultural shift in recent years as attitudes toward drug have softened and evidence of its medical benefits have hardened. Recreational marijuana is now legal in 11 states for those over 21 years of age. A far cry from the days of Reefer Madness.