Psilocybin, the chemical found in ‘Magic Mushrooms’ has been illegal for quite some time, due to its hallucinogenic properties. However, in the past few years, studies have begun to understand that despite their illegal status, magic mushrooms have proven to be beneficial in a number of medicinal ways.
In one study, which sought to find out if psilocybin mushrooms could prove to be a viable treatment for cancer patients, 29 people were analyzed after taking the substance. According to the study, clinical depression and anxiety are often seen in cancer patients. All 29 patients who had been diagnosed with cancer-related anxiety and depression were randomly assigned and received treatment with single-dose psilocybin (0.3 mg/kg) or niacin. The doses were taken along with psychotherapy.
What they found was quite incredible, as the psilocybin produced immediate improvements. Not only did the patients have a substantial alleviation of anxiety and depression symptoms, they also had an improved spiritual well-being and increased quality of life. The researchers also assessed the patients 6.5 months later and found that the patients had sustained the relief throughout the entire time.
Dr. Jeffrey Liberman, who is a former president of the American Psychiatric Association, along with Dr. Daniel Shalev of the New York Psychiatric Institute have strongly endorsed these studies. According to them, if restrictions on the drug could be eased, “there is much potential for new scientific insights and clinical applications.”
However, some medical professionals are skeptical of the research. Dr. William Breitbart, who works as the chairman of the psychiatry department at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center says, “Medical marijuana got its foot in the door by making the appeal that ‘cancer patients are suffering, they’re near death, so for compassionate purposes, let’s make it available,’ ” he said. “And then you’re able to extend this drug for other purposes.”
Despite such skepticism, the fact remains that in the study referenced above, around 80% of patients were able to receive a boost in their overall mental health after a single dose of the substance. With that being said, if a medical use was found for psilocybin, it would no longer qualify as a schedule one substance, or a substance with no medicinal value. And, if it provides relief to anyone who is suffering through mental anguish, then it is worth looking into.