Psilocybin On The Horizon
The first US center for psychedelic research has opened up at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. For over 50 years, psychedelics have been outlawed by the U.S. government and classified as schedule I drugs. Schedule I drugs are regarded as having no medical benefits as per the federal government. Some of these include marijuana, MDMA, heroin and peyote.
This is very exciting news, as just recently the FDA granted psilocybin breakthrough therapy designation for major depression. Psilocybin is the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms or “magic mushrooms.” They have been used for thousands of years by indigenous tribes in South America and by Native Americans in the U.S., for spiritual, medicinal and mystical experiences.
It is not yet known how psilocybin works on the brain and how it potentially helps depressed patients. It is thought that it rewires the brain circuits by shutting down bad connections and sprouting new good ones. Consider this analogy: a person living in the financial distract of Manhattan does not have too much contact with people in the upper west side. But if consistent contact were to be made, a potentially new fruitful connection could be established, benefiting people from both places.
It’s also believed that the actual psychedelic experience of hallucinations in a controlled therapeutic environment, helps patients to confront their demons, resulting in the alleviation of their pain and suffering. This method is much different than your conventional antidepressants, which provide no mystical experiences and take up to 4-6 weeks for therapeutic effects to be noticed.
Psychedelics were once used in the field of psychiatry back in the 1950s, until they were classified as schedule I drugs in 1970 under the Controlled Substances Act. Psychedelics were never meant to leave the laboratory, but they were unfortunately introduced to the masses, sparking the Hippie movement which glorified the use of psychedelics. In return, this motivated the U.S. government to outlaw the sacred compounds.
These new times are much more promising for the use of psychedelics. The hope is that the evidence will be present in regards to establishing therapeutic value for mental health disorders. Any new tools which can help alleviate the mental health suffering of millions of people around the world, is a step in the right direction!
Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)