A new push to reclassify psychedelic mushrooms is coming from researchers at Johns Hopkins University, who have conducted extensive studies on psychedelic substances in recent years. For roughly 50 years, psilocybin has been classified as a Schedule I narcotic, which means that it has a high likelihood of abuse and no medical value. However, recent studies at Hopkins and other facilities have shown that this substance does have incredible medical value and a very low risk of addiction.
As a result of their findings, researchers are now asking the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to move this substance from Schedule I to Schedule IV, which would mean that it has a low potential for abuse and provides medical value. This reclassification could allow doctors to prescribe mushrooms or derived compounds in certain situations and could lower the legal penalties as well.
A report in The Journal of Psychopharmacology suggested that psilocybin mushrooms could help long-time smokers kick their habit. The report sourced a recent John Hopkins study, authored by Matthew W. Johnson, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The study featured a small test sample but is one of a series of studies that are showing the healing powers of psychedelic compounds.
In 2012, John Hopkins made news in psychedelic research with a study showing that the psychedelic experience can help terminally ill patients come to terms with their own mortality. According to a new study from the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London, published in the journal Psychopharmacology, psychedelic mushrooms tend to make people more resistant to authority.
They also found the psychedelic experience induced by these mushrooms also cause people to be more connected with nature.
Denver, one of the first places in the country to see medical and legal cannabis, may soon get the chance to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. According to CPR.com, the advocacy group, Colorado for Psilocybin proposed a legal measure that would do away with felony charges for people caught in possession of mushrooms.
Tyler Williams, one of the leaders of the Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative said that people should not be jailed for consuming mushrooms.
“I’m a big believer in cognitive liberty, and so whatever people decide to consume I think is up to them. I think people should be informed about what they are consuming, and they shouldn’t have to be afraid of going to jail for that,” Williams said.
Earlier this year, Williams and numerous other activists representing different groups attended a public hearing where they laid out their plan for officials. After the meeting, the city was just a few steps away from decriminalization. The next step will be for the activists to get enough signatures on a petition to have the issue up for vote for this November’s ballot.
Last month, it was announced that a startup called Compass Pathways has received approval from The Food and Drug Administration to develop treatments for depression, and possibly even pharmaceuticals, with psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic “magic mushrooms.” Compass Pathways launched in the UK in 2016, thanks to funding from Peter Thiel.
While the company is just now receiving approval to run trials in the US, they were already approved in Canada, the Netherlands and their base of operations in the UK. According to the company’s website, the trials will take place across 15 different sites throughout Europe and North America, and will involve 216 participants. The tests are expected to begin in the UK by the end of August.