A group of Johns Hopkins University scientists wrote in a recent journal article that psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic magic mushrooms, has a low risk of harm and a high potential as a therapeutic drug.
There’s been a resurgence of interest lately in psychedelics’ therapeutic potential for a variety of mental health applications, from depression to anxiety.
Pending results from several ongoing clinical trials, the researchers called for psilocybin to be placed in the most lenient category by the Drug Enforcement Administration — alongside CBD, which was rescheduled last month, and cough syrup.
It’s not every day that a team of top-notch scientists calls for an illegal psychedelic drug to be made available as medicine.
But earlier this year, some of the leading researchers at Johns Hopkins University — people who’ve pioneered some of the highest-caliber studies on psychedelics’ therapeutic mental health potential — suggested that’s what should happen for a drug derived from magic mushrooms.
In a recent article published in the medical journal Neuropharmacology, four preeminent psychiatrists wrote that psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, should be placed in the most lenient category by the Drug Enforcement Administration and made legally available through clinicians, pending final data from several ongoing clinical trials.
In essence, they argue, the potential benefits presented by psilocybin outweigh its possible harms.
The available evidence suggests they’re correct.
Although the DEA currently considers psilocybin a Schedule I drug “with no medical use,” the past decade has seen a resurgence of research on psychedelics’ therapeutic possibilities for treating psychiatric diseases like anxiety and depression. A large recent survey also suggested that magic mushrooms could be among the safest recreational drugs.
That suggests to several experts — including the authors of the recent article — that psilocybin should be handled differently than, say, heroin or bath salts (other Schedule I drugs).
“It is the opinion of the authors of this review that the original placement of psilocybin was the result of a substantial overestimation of the risk of harm and abuse potential,” they wrote.
The authors included Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine professors of psychiatry Matthew Johnson, Roland Griffiths, and Jack Henningfield; as well as Peter Hendricks, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health.
A resurgence of interest in psychedelics as medicine
Over the past several years, a handful of studies have suggested that psychedelic drugs like psilocybin could help treat a range of mental illnesses, including anxiety, depression, drug addiction, and PTSD.
One of those studies — a clinical trial published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2016 — was written by Griffiths and Johnson, two authors of the recent piece outlining why psilocybin should be made medically available. Griffiths’ and Johnson’s seminal work concluded that in people with a terminal cancer diagnosis, a single high dose of psilocybin appeared to help pull them out of severe depression and anxiety. On a press call after the study came out, Griffiths likened the treatment to …read more
Source:: Business Insider