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Reclassification Recommendations for Drug in ‘Magic Mushrooms’

If researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine get their way, psilocybin, a component of something known as “magic mushrooms,” may be declassified from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule IV. A Schedule 1 drug is categorized as such if federal regulators believe there is no known medical potential for it. A Schedule IV drug, on the other hand, means it has a medical use.

The Johns Hopkins researchers have been working on clinical trials of psilocybin as a potential aid in smoking cessation and disorders such as cancer-specific depression and anxiety. They pointed out that psilocybin has “no known overdose level,” and is not prone to compulsive abuse.

I talked about Johns Hopkins’ psilocybin project last year, in conjunction with a documentary that had been done to show the history of psychoactive substances and their applications for medicine and healing. One of the points was that reclassification of both psilocybin and LSD, another so-called psychedelic drug with “no medical potential,” needed to be done, if for no other reason than they were less additive and harmful than heroin or cocaine.

As such, studies on psilocybin’s potential for being a first-line medicine as a rapid, immediately acting anti-anxiety drug have been ongoing for quite some time. It’s worth mentioning that in some instances, it only took one dose of the substance to produce remarkably satisfactory results.

Regardless of your opinion about hallucinogens, I would say it is pretty remarkable to consider that a single dose of a substance can result in several months' worth of relief — especially since some patients even reported being anxiety-free four years later.

Considering the low risk of adverse effects when done in a carefully controlled clinical setting, it seems further research into the use of psilocybin for anxiety and depression would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, being a Schedule 1 drug, trials cost about 10 times that for other legal drugs, and in order to take the research to the level where it could potentially be turned into a psychiatric treatment, phase 3 clinical trials are needed with thousands of participants.

For that to occur, psilocybin would need to be rescheduled.

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