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The restorative and healing properties of mushrooms have been recognized for thousands of years, and the psilocybin found in more than 200 kinds of fungi looks to be the next big thing in functional food.
Psilocybin is a powerful psychedelic that activates serotonin receptors and can cause hallucinations.
It’s illegal here and in most parts of the world, and that’s too bad — because in micro-doses it is proving very useful in the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Dr. Darryl Hudson, 38, is an expert in plant molecular biology andhespecializes in developing medicines from plants and fungi.
He’s studied the effects of psilocybin on humans in places where it’s not illegal, such as Jamaica.
Hudson is the co-founder and Chief Science Officer at Sansero Life Sciences, a Canadian bioscience company developing psilocybin-based pharmaceuticals.
“We are now in clinical trials, and in phase three in some cases. We’ll see treatments with psilocybin within a few years.”
Unlike cannabis, which was criminalized in the 1920s, psilocybin was not outlawed until the “war on drugs” in the 1970s.
“There was a lot of research prior to prohibition,” said Hudson.
“We understand how the molecule is working … The beauty of psilocybin and other molecules in the psychedelic class is that they are safe and non-toxic. They come from natural sources.”
(Most of the past research involves high doses of psilocybin, now used successfully to treat major depression, PTSD, addiction and end-of-life anxiety. This therapy, obviously, is not available to everyone and requires the guidance of a psychotherapist or other professional trained in its use. Health Canada recently gave special dispensation to 16 health care workers to undertake this training and use psilocybin themselves.)
According to Hudson, micro-doses of psilocybin have produced amazing results with some mental health issues.
“There’s a mental health crisis going on and we need new and better treatment. What’s out there now are SSRI [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors] drugs, that block serotonin signalling, and over weeks people start to feel better. But we need medication that works immediately.
“With low dose psilocybin, people feel better within the hour.”
The formulations being developed mitigate side effects — so there is no intoxication, hallucination or nausea.
“I want people to like drugs!” he jokes.
“We shouldn’t fear our medications. You shouldn’t be afraid, but these side effects are a big deterrent for a lot of people.”
He reiterates that these new meds will be something you can take daily, like an aspirin, and without supervision.
Psilocybin, he emphasizes, is less dangerous than salt, sugar or alcohol.
But please: no foraging. This is not for do-it-yourselfers.
There are too many poisonous mushrooms out there.
An Alberta native, Hudson was stunned recently to find the deadly Destroying Angel mushroom growing in Ontario.
Drop by shops like A Good Mushroom on Markham St. in Toronto instead, he suggested.
“Let the experts guide you. There are fungi that taste like chicken and lobster. You can replace meat protein with mushrooms. I would love to see mushroom consumption increase.”
In the future, Hudson believes psilocybin-based meds will be prescribed ahead of other pharmaceuticals.
He offers the example of how some people locked down at home during COVID are coping: “Their alcohol intake is increasing and their depression is increasing. Using a depressant to cure the blues does not work! We have to consider other forms of relief.
“I think we’re going to see a significant comeback of natural medicines.”
Quote: The formulations being developed mitigate side effects — so there is no intoxication, hallucination...
If people are in quarantine, why the fuck would you want to give them psilocybin without being able to trip? That's like giving somebody with a sweet tooth a chocolate that tastes like bitter medicine.
-------------------- "I've always maintained that reality is for those who can't face drugs."-Tom Waits
"I feel the same way about disco as I feel about herpes."-Hunter S. Thompson
A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous, got me?
I mean, if scientists want to understand everything about the brain and also cure everyone of mental "conditions" then psychedelics would be legal
Also it just seems like something that should be done
As well as having legal psychedelic assisted therapy
-------------------- Save the psilocy bees! <3
Intermediate chemist. Future underground psychedelic healing shaman. Amateur mycologist. Musician with no songs out, but songs written. MAPS supporter. Avid gamer. Very introverted. Usually sleeping on a drown of downers, and thats it.