Mind and Body
Psychedelic Mushrooms: Scientists Propose Making Them Legal
Magic mushrooms may be poised to make a magical transformation within the law.
In their recent review in Neuropharmacology, a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Alabama argue that magic mushrooms, aka psychedelic mushrooms, should be reclassified as surprisingly legal.
Currently deemed a Schedule I substance by the Controlled Substances Act, psychedelic mushrooms chill in the company of drugs like heroin and LSD. But Schedule IV, where substances like Xanax and Ambien are classified, might be a better fit, according to the paper.
The US Controlled Substance Act (CSA) uses eight evaluation factors that basically break down to whether a substance has high potential for abuse and whether it has any medical value. In clinical trials, psilocybin, the naturally occurring active chemical in mushrooms that cause a user to trip, has helped cancer patients find significant relief from depression and anxiety. In previous research by one of the co-authors of the review, Roland Griffiths, Ph.D., even shows that psilocybin could help someone quit smoking.
But not so fast with the hunt for psychedelic mushrooms. The path to reclassification is still long, as FDA approval requires an approved Phase 3 trial to prove whether the drug meets safety and efficacy requirements on a larger scale. Researchers estimate the process may take five years.
So far, the effects have only been tested in controlled environments, down to the very music that makes for the optimal experience. Maybe Griffith will be the first of many psilocybin DJs to come.
While scientists continue the pursuit to prove the usefulness of psychedelic mushrooms, social stigma has time to fade out. The authors acknowledge the 1960s may have left a “legacy of fear,” around psychedelics. But perhaps with the support of research, time, and a little bit of Louis Armstrong from the psychedelic playlist, the public (and the FDA) can accept “magic” mushrooms as even more magical medicine instead.
Read the full story: Magic Mushrooms Should Be Less Illegal, Scientists Argue