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Clinical studies on Magic Mushrooms show advances for treatment of mental disorders

Proposal for ‘Magic Mushrooms’ Therapy in San Diego

A new bill introduced by California legislators could allow the use of psilocybin, commonly known as “magic mushrooms,” for therapeutic treatments aimed at military veterans and first responders in San Diego County and other counties across the state.

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Photo: CBS 8

In a recently published article, scientists from UCSD’s Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science suggest that the growing market for Amanita muscaria “may partly be due to emerging clinical research supporting the safety and efficacy of psilocybin as a treatment for depression,” a university spokesperson wrote.

Like the more famous psilocybin mushrooms, Amanita muscaria mushrooms have psychotropic effects, including sensations of weightlessness, heightened visual and auditory sensitivity, spatial distortion, time unawareness, and chromatic hallucinations. However, the psychotropic compounds can also be more toxic than fentanyl, cocaine, and PCP, according to a review of mouse study estimates. Nonetheless, gummies and chocolates containing these compounds are marketed with health-related claims, such as alleviating anxiety, depression, and other conditions.

Clinical studies on ‘magic mushrooms’ show advances for treatment of mental illnesses

The popularity of psychedelics has surged in recent years: 1.4 million Americans tried hallucinogens for the first time in 2020, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. This enthusiasm can be partly attributed to clinical studies demonstrating that these magic mushrooms, especially psilocybin and ketamine, have real potential for treating some mental disorders, particularly depression.

As these drugs become more widely accepted, it is likely that more people will consider trying them for both therapeutic and recreational purposes. Experts studying these substances urge people to consume them only in supervised therapeutic settings, such as clinical trials or established ketamine clinics, partly for safety reasons and partly because they are illegal outside these circumstances. Realistically, however, many people use them in other settings.

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Photo: UNAM Global

The likelihood of psychedelics causing a fatal overdose is extremely low, and they are also unlikely to be addictive. Therefore, experts classify them as some of the least harmful recreational drugs. However, this does not mean they are completely risk-free. Psilocybin trials and ketamine clinics have very strict exclusion criteria to protect individuals with physical or psychological vulnerabilities.

The “Heal Our Heroes” Act would approve the opening of psychedelic-assisted facilitation centers

The “Heal Our Heroes” Act, also known as Senate Bill 803 (SB 803), would allow the creation of the Psychedelic-Assisted Facilitation Pilot Program, authorizing public health officials to approve the opening of up to five psychedelic-assisted facilitation centers per county.

The project’s goal is to offer a new treatment option for veterans and first responders over 21 years old who have passed a suitability assessment. Magic Mushrooms’ Psilocybin therapy is proposed as an innovative solution for addressing mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety—conditions that disproportionately affect these groups due to their traumatic service experiences.

Senator Brian Jones, the proponent of the bill, emphasized that the goal is not widespread legalization of these drugs but rather a specific medical treatment for these groups. According to data cited in the bill, an average of 16.8 veterans die by suicide every day in the United States. These numbers highlight the urgent need for new and effective treatment options for the psychological aftermath of military and emergency service.

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Foto: El País

The approval of this bill is still pending, but if passed, the resulting research from the pilot program could provide valuable insights for future policies on the use of psychedelics in medical treatments.

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