Monday, April 8, 2013

Psilocybin Found In Magic Mushrooms Might Treat Depression; British Scientists First Need Approval

Medical Updates

Psilocybin Model: The Erowid site says: "Psilocybin and psilocin are part of the tryptamine family (indole C8H7N & ethylamine side chain). Psilocybin is soluble in 20 parts water, while psilocin is only slightly soluble in water.9 They bear close resemblance to the neurotransmitter serotonin."
Photo Credit & Source: Erowid

An article, by Robin McKie, in The Guardian says that the chemical psilocybin, a psychedelic ingredient found in magic mushrooms, might be suitable to treat clinical depression by dampening the parts of the brain that are overactive in severely depressed individuals. Yet, British scientists face serious obstacles in obtaining the drug due to it being considered a controlled substance, essentially an illicit drug.

McKie writes:
The drug appears to stop patients dwelling on themselves and their own perceived inadequacies. However, a bid by British scientists to carry out trials of psilocybin on patients in order to assess its full medical potential has been blocked by red tape relating to Britain's strict drugs laws. Professor David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, will tell a conference today that because magic mushrooms are rated as a class-A drug, their active chemical ingredient cannot be manufactured unless a special licence is granted.
"We haven't started the study because finding companies that could manufacture the drug and who are prepared to go through the regulatory hoops to get the licence is proving very difficult," said Nutt. "The whole field is so bedevilled by primitive old-fashioned attitudes. Even if you have a good idea, you may never get it into the clinic, it seems."
Research by Nutt has found that psilocybin switches off part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex. It was known that this area is overactive in individuals suffering from depression. In his tests on healthy individuals, it was found that psilocybin had a profound effect on making these volunteers feel happier weeks after they had taken the drug, said Nutt–who was sacked as the chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs in 2009 after repeatedly clashing with government ministers about the dangers and classification of illicit drugs.
Such is a problem; government overseers and societal gatekeepers need to understand the difference between scientific research and recreational drug use. One is for personal use, the other is for scientific understanding in treating a disease, and depression is indeed a serious debilitating disease—one that affects millions of individuals.

It's true that some might have reservations about the use of a psychedelic, but such qualms ought to be put aside for the time-being, to allow this research to carry on, unimpeded and unfettered, by outdated views. this is not to say that there shouldn't be oversight, but that the British scientists should be able to carry on their research.


You can read the rest of the article at [The Guardian]


  1. Perhaps one day a drug will be discovered that treats fanaticism.

    1. That would be one powerful drug; it would have to overcome the fanaticism meme.


Comment Policy:

All comments will be moderated; and bear in mind that anonymous, hostile, vulgar and off-topic comments will not be published. Thoughtful, reasonable and clear comments, bearing your real name, will be. All comments must be in English.