[Photo Courtesy: Mushroom

Tripping on psychedelics might be just what the doctor ordered.

Quick Notes

  • Psilocybin is a hallucinogen found in certain types of mushrooms

  • Psilocybin may be useful for treating smoking, depression, anxiety, PTSD and OCD behaviors

  • Psilocybin may aid military intelligence personnel by increasing concentration

Magic mushrooms are far-out fungi that contain the chemical psilocybin. When ingested in small amounts, psilocybin increases focus. In larger quantities, psilocybin produces hallucinations and synesthesia, an experience where someone may perceive he or she can hear colors or see sounds.

Fearing its potential for abuse, “shrooms” and psilocybin were labeled as Schedule I drugs under the United Nations 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and banned in the U.S. Several decades after it was outlawed, psilocybin has been decriminalized in Denver, Colorado, and Oakland, California, and is being investigated as a possible treatment for depression, anxiety, smoking, and even traumatic brain injury.

Psilocybin has helped some long-term smokers kick the habit

In 2014, Johns Hopkins University shared the results of their study on how psilocybin used in a controlled setting helped longtime smokers kick the habit. Participants received pills containing the hallucinogen along with weekly counseling. They also kept a diary to record cravings.

Eighty percent of the study’s participants stayed smoke-free after six months, compared to 35% who were taking a popular smoking cessation drug. Researchers believe psilocybin has the ability to break repetitive negative thoughts and behaviors, however, they don’t advise using the drug without medical supervision.

Photo Courtesy: [Kychan/Unsplash]

Psilocybin offers cancer patients peace of mind

Cancer patients experiencing anxiety, depression, and pain may also be helped with psilocybin treatments. Mild hallucinations on psilocybin appear to greatly reduce depression and anxiety even after the drug has worn off.

Both Johns Hopkins University and New York University published studies showing that psilocybin offered mental health benefits. Two-thirds of the patients in the Johns Hopkins study said tripping was one of the most meaningful experiences of their lives. Participants in the NYU study reported increased spiritual well-being and an improved attitude towards death.

Psilocybin seems to reduce OCD, anxiety, and depression symptoms

Magic mushrooms seem to have near-magical effects on reducing anxiety and depression. Several studies discovered that patients who took psilocybin in a controlled medical setting showed dramatic improvement.

Johns Hopkins University researcher Roland Griffiths has received FDA approval to study psilocybin. He has witnessed how it can positively affect those who were once debilitated by repetitive or depressing thoughts. Results seem so promising, the university is launching its Center for Psychedelic Research.

Psilocybin may revive patients in vegetative states

Psilocybin’s ability to stimulate awareness may be helpful in reviving patients who are in a vegetative state. Different from a coma, these “Disorders of Consciousness” result in a person being awake but not aware.

While the idea seems promising, no studies are currently underway. Some medical ethicists have posed objections to using psilocybin as a DOC treatment. One of their greatest concerns is the patient’s inability to grant consent.

Psilocybin has the potential to create super soldiers

According to an article in the Marine Times, “micro” doses of psilocybin might benefit military analysts who process large amounts of information. In small doses, the drug seems to boost focus and alertness and could be helpful to intelligence personnel.

According to Marine Major Emre Albayrak, microdosing might allow intelligence officers to “connect seemingly unconnected pieces of information and create revolutionary new solutions.” He points to some executives and scientists who’ve admitted to using psychedelics to gain an edge over their competitors.

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