Psilocybins to be Stored and Administered at Licensed Facilites

Oregon will become the first state in the country to legalize psilocybin Tuesday with the passage of Measure 109. Multiple cities have decriminalized the substance, but Oregon will become the first to permit supervised use statewide if that majority holds.
 
The Canadian government is allowing patients who are not terminally ill to legally consume psychedelic mushrooms, on the heels of Oregon’s decision to give people access to shrooms for therapeutic reasons. 

Magic Mushroom in the Wild

Magic Mushrooms Live Up To Their Name

Mona Strelaeff, a 67 year-old woman living in Victoria, B.C., said she was granted an exemption to the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act allowing her to consume shrooms to treat ongoing trauma. 

“I have struggled with anxiety, depression, and addiction for years,” Strelaeff wrote in an email to VICE World News. “During my psilocybin therapy I went deep, way back to when I was a little girl and all those things that happened to me. All the unresolved trauma, it came back and I was beyond terrified, shaking uncontrollably, and crying,” she said. 

Strelaeff told VICE World News she suffered from “an extreme sense of despair and depression” while in remission from breast cancer diagnosed 12 years ago (she has since recovered from the cancer). 

Some of this trauma was related to her cancer, while some of it stemmed from repressed material from childhood. 

With the psilocybin therapy, “I conquered those tough memories and after a while I realized…I ain’t scared of jack (shit),” she said. 

 

Recent research at universities including Johns Hopkins, Imperial College in London and the University of California, Los Angeles, have shown promising results of psilocybin therapy on depression, PTSD and addiction.

How Psilocybin Mushrooms Work

The compounds in psilocybin mushrooms may give users a “mind-melting” feeling, but in fact, the drug does just the opposite —  psilocybin actually boosts the brain’s connectivity, according to an October 2014 study. Researchers at King’s College London asked 15 volunteers undergo brain scanning by a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. They did so once after ingesting a dose of magic mushrooms, and once after taking a placebo. The resulting brain connectivity maps showed that, while under the influence of the drug, the brain synchronizes activity among areas that would not normally be connected. This alteration in activity could explain the dreamy state that ‘shroom users report experiencing after taking the drug, the researchers said. 

‘Shrooms act in other strange ways upon the brain. Psilocybin works by binding to receptors for the neurotransmitter serotonin. Although it’s not clear exactly how this binding affects the brain, studies have found that the drug has other brain-communication-related effects in addition to increased synchronicity.

In one study, brain imaging of volunteers who took psilocybin revealed decreased activity in information-transfer areas such as the thalamus, a structure deep in the middle of the brain. Slowing down the activity in areas such as the thalamus may allow information to travel more freely throughout the brain, because that region is a gatekeeper that usually limits connections, according to the researchers from Imperial College London.

 

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