As Canada’s cannabis industry grows, another controlled substance gets a surge of attention. Psilocybin is a primary psychoactive ingredient that naturally occurs in magic mushrooms. This plant-based psychedelic drug has a long history of medicinal use. It was extensively studied as a treatment for alcoholism and other disorders.
By the late 1960s, psychedelics like psilocybin gained a negative reputation and became strongly associated with the counterculture. However, in recent years, there’s a renewed interest in using psilocybin for medical purposes.
Psilocybin remains an illegal substance under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act unless authorized by Health Canada. Aware of the surging interest in using psilocybin, Health Canada permits medical professionals to acquire psilocybin and other psychedelics through the Special Access Program.
The public’s view of psilocybin is also changing as Canadian health authorities and researchers increasingly pay attention to this psychoactive substance. But why is there a growing medical interest in psilocybin up to this day? Find out what’s driving it by reading on.
Efficacy in Treating Depression
Research shows the efficacy of psilocybin in treating people with treatment-resistant depression. Low levels of serotonin are associated with people with depression. That’s why treating the condition often involves increasing serotonin production through selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, it can take weeks to improve depressive symptoms if the drugs even work.
Meanwhile, with psilocybin, scientists can see changes in brain neuron connectivity within 30 minutes. This psychedelic drug enters the brain through the same receptors as serotonin. Thus, it helps enhance the brain’s emotional responsiveness, allowing individuals to process their feelings fully.
Ability to Ease End-of-Life Anxiety
A single dose of psilocybin can also provide considerable relief for people suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Diagnosis of a terminal disease like cancer brings psychological distress and anxiety. But while on psilocybin, terminally ill patients can experience increased quality of life, meaning and optimism confronting their mortality.
Potential as a Smoking Cessation Tool
Psilocybin products, such as the Rainforest psilocybin chocolate bars, can potentially become a tool for breaking negative habits, such as smoking. It’s not a magic pill that instantly gets rid of addiction. Instead, it helps treat addiction by disrupting and rewiring mental pathways formed during the development of addictive behaviours.
By creating new neural connections, psilocybin overrides old tendencies like an addiction. This enables the person to explore the root issues and sparks motivation to change and quit smoking.
Essential Role in Therapy
A growing number of studies support the potential of psilocybin to treat various mental illnesses. However, its efficacy is thought to work the most when given in combination with therapy. While patients are on psilocybin, the therapist will facilitate the psychedelic experience and guide them to discover and change unhelpful emotional and behavioural patterns.
As with any other psychedelic drug, psilocybin can create some mild yet unpleasant symptoms. It should be taken with a therapist in carefully controlled settings. That’s why the psychological support element of the therapy is essential to reap the promising therapeutic benefits of psilocybin.
One Final Note
Psilocybin has a wide range of medical applications. However, more research is needed to determine its safety and the best way to administer this psychedelic drug. It can be tempting to use psilocybin outside the therapy setting. But it can bring more harm than good no matter your goal or condition. It’s best to consult with your primary healthcare provider before self-medicating anything.