John Hopkins University Researchers Call For Rescheduling 'Magic Mushrooms'
Maria B. Jimenez
In an article to be published in October’s issue of Neuropharmacology, researchers from John Hopkin's University present persuasive evidence that psilocybin, also known colloquially as 'magic mushrooms', should be rescheduled from being a schedule 1 drug [meaning that it is lacks medicinal value and is a high risk for dependence and abuse] to a schedule 4 drug, [meaning it's medically efficacious and has low potential for dependence and abuse].
Since 1970, the United States has classified psilocybin as a Schedule 1 narcotic (like heroin). Recent research shows that this conclusion is not scientifically tenable.
In a 2016 study, the same team from Johns Hopkins University administered magic mushrooms to terminal cancer patients with the goal of alleviating their end-of-life anxiety.
> Researchers have been using psilocybin to successfully treat both depression and addiction in clinical trials over the past few years. In a 2016 study, the same team of Johns Hopkins University researchers administered magic mushrooms to terminal cancer patients with the goal of alleviating their end-of-life anxiety and depression. “Studies showed that psilocybin caused significantly and clinically significant reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety lasting at least six months after psilocybin administration,” the newly published study explained.
In their most recent academic paper, researchers Matthew Johnson, Roland Griffiths, Peter Hendricks, and Jack Henningfield, make the case that psilocybin should be reclassified from a Schedule 1 drug (heroin) to Schedule 4 drug (Robitussin).
As Johnson sees its, psilocybin's relative safety and its proven efficacy make it a great candidate for rescheduling.
> ''No one is jonesing for their next [dose of] psilocybin,'' he said.
This is not to say that psilocybin use is without its own dangers.
According to the study:
> ''Potential harms [psilocybin use] include dangerous behavior in unprepared, unsupervised users, and exacerbation of mental illness in those with or predisposed to psychotic disorders. However, scope of use and associated harms are low compared to prototypical abused drugs.''
However, researchers concede that rescheduling psilocybin will be a difficult task:
> ''Removal from Schedule 1 can only occur if a medicinal product containing a Schedule 1 substance is approved for therapeutic use as a drug by the FDA,'' the study explained, meaning that a third party needs to manufacture psilocybin for a medical use, submit that product to the FDA, and lobby for its reclassification."
Johnson is hopeful though.
> ''This is cutting edge science [and] the results are very promising on a number of disorders,'' he said."