Therapeutic Potential of Psilocybin

I wanted to write on Psilocybin because we have not discussed treatments (with Psilocybin) at-length in class. I find it interesting that humans have exploited various plants and mushrooms for thousands of years, and yet, we do not have substantial research on psilocybin. I wanted to know more about it, so here we are. “Magic” mushrooms were banned in 1970 by the United States of America and are currently listed as a Schedule I controlled substance by the UN and CSA. But, there are recent developments that may point to Psilocybin as a potential helper for certain ailments. For example, multiple researchers have written and conducted analysis discussing Psilocybin as a potential treatment for mental health conditions (Daniel et. al, 2017). Psilocybin is a classic hallucinogen and its chemicals are produced by more than one hundred species of mushroom found on planet earth. As recently as 2000, it has been touted as a potential remedy for a variety of issues: tobacco use disorder, anxiety disorder, ADHD, (attn. Deficit hyperactivity disorder) and major depressive disorder (MDD) to name a few. But does it really work? 

Research from Davis et. al (2020) would say so. In their randomized clinical trial, Dr. Davis and his team wanted to figure out if psilocybin assisted therapy was efficacious among patients with MDD. Their research suggested that participants who received psilocybin-assisted therapy showed improvement in depression severity and in self-reported secondary outcomes. These are promising results in the movement to have Psilocybin removed from the Controlled Substances List. Furthermore, Psilocybin has been found to have effects on cognitive and emotional functions in healthy participants. This research comes from Rucker et. al (2022) and aims to expand on how Psilocybin affects healthy individuals. Psilocybin is a psychoactive serotonin receptor agonist, and this is one of the reasons why it may be able to revert depression or depression-like symptoms. At this point in 2022, Psilocybin’s effect on cognitive function has not been extensively studied. More research is necessary in order to form hypotheses about the multiple effects Psilocybin may have on the brain. It is not all good news with Psilocybin though, I mean despite the fact that it is still a drug. Research from Bienemann et. al (2020) highlights the dangers of doing too large of a dose, developing paranoia, or mixing mushrooms with other substances. You can theoretically view “Magic” mushrooms in two lights. Only time will tell if this drug provides a ‘net’ positive help to humankind, as opposed to traditional medication. 


 Rucker, J. J., Marwood, L., Ajantaival, R.-L. J., Bird, C., Eriksson, H., Harrison, J., Lennard-Jones, M., Mistry, S., Saldarini, F., Stansfield, S., Tai, S. J., Williams, S., Weston, N., Malievskaia, E., & Young, A. H. (2022). The effects of psilocybin on cognitive and emotional functions in healthy participants: Results from a phase 1, randomised, placebo-controlled trial involving simultaneous psilocybin administration and preparation. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 36(1), 114–125.

Daniel J, Haberman M. Clinical potential of psilocybin as a treatment for mental health conditions. Ment Health Clin [Internet]. 2017;7(1):24-8. DOI: 10.9740/ mhc.2017.01.024.

Davis, R., Taylor, A., Nally, R., Benson, K. F., Stamets, P., & Jensen, G. S. (2020). Differential Immune Activating, Anti-Inflammatory, and Regenerative Properties of the Aqueous, Ethanol, and Solid Fractions of a Medicinal Mushroom Blend. Journal of inflammation research, 13, 117–131.

Bienemann B, Ruschel NS, Campos ML, Negreiros MA, Mograbi DC (2020) Self-reported negative outcomes of psilocybin users: A quantitative textual analysis. PLoS ONE 15(2): e0229067. pone.0229067

3 thoughts on “Therapeutic Potential of Psilocybin

  1. I really appreciate that you offer two different perspectives on the possibilities of psilocybin. Something I learned here is that these mushrooms can have positive effects on mental health disorders. I was surprised to hear that, as I have heard that taking large doses of mushrooms can lead to depressive symptoms. I would love to hear more about how they could assist in other mental health disorders, or the effects of them on unhealthy people.


  2. I really enjoyed reading this blog post. I like that it was included in the beginning how mushrooms and other drugs that are plants have been exploited by humans for many years yet we know very little about the treatment effects they may have. something I learned is that psilocybin is effective in treating major depressive disorder. I really appreciate that although the post includes positive side effects of psilocybin it also includes negative ones like paranoia. I was surprised that research with psilocybin has also been done on healthy individuals.


  3. I always enjoy reading research pertaining to psilocybin as I feel there is true potential for treating major depressive disorder. I am hopeful that the medical field will be more accepting of psilocybin as a potential treatment, even if it leads to less profit margins for big pharmaceutical companies.


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