Doctors may soon be prescribing magic mushroom pills to patients with mental health disorders

Magic of Mushroom Pills

Summary: Humans have been using magic mushrooms for religious rituals and as a substance of abuse. However, science discovered unique benefits in mental health, including opioid addiction treatment. Psilocybin, the substance responsible for mind-altering effects, may provide fast and prolonged relief for mental health disorders. It’s expected that pharmaceutical companies may soon introduce magic mushroom pills. Mushrooms have been used traditionally to manage various health conditions, even by ancient Egyptians.

Mushrooms are fungi that have existed for billions of years. They are pretty diverse, some toxic, others nutritious, and some superfoods. People have also used mushrooms traditionally to manage various health conditions. However, some mushrooms are unique, like magic mushrooms. In Mesoamerica, people used it for divine experiences, healing, and religious rituals. There is evidence that even ancient Egyptians used these mushrooms and considered them as “foods of gods.”

There is a reason why people used magic mushrooms in religion for divine experiences. Science now knows that these mushrooms have a hallucinogenic effect. Those who use it experience a unique kind of effect. Some describe its effects as one of the most amazing experiences. Of course, these hallucinogenic or psychedelic mushrooms have now become a substance of abuse. However, science also knows that these unique mind-altering effects are due to a substance called psilocybin.

Though magic mushroom has long been a substance of abuse, things have been fast changing. In recent times, it has been increasingly used in clinical studies. There are now numerous clinical trials showing that magic mushrooms may help manage mental health disorders. Unlike existing drugs that take days to start acting and only help in a small number of cases, magic mushrooms, when used with psychotherapy, may help fast. In addition, these mushrooms may help rewire the brain and thus cure many health disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar and many others.

Pharmaceutical companies first started exploring magic mushrooms in the 1950s and 60s, when they realized their magical or psychedelic effect was mainly due to a chemical compound called psilocybin. In fact, a drug of abuse, LSD, which closely resembles psilocybin, was first created by Swiss pharma company Sandoz in 1963. Though the pharmaceutical industry could create synthetic psilocybin more than half a century back, until recently, doctors could not find any use for psychedelics in clinics. However, now evidence is mounting that psychedelics are amazingly good for managing mental health issues.

Of course, some are also critical about using psychedelics for managing mental health disorders, as there are worries that it may increase misuse of these substances. Additionally, there are worries that such medications are going to be quite expensive. Since psychedelics are readily produced cheaply, many wonder why medications using these substances might be so expensive. A few grams of magic mushroom would barely cost $10, so why are those synthetic psychedelics expected to cost several thousand US dollars?

There are many reasons why medications based on these substances would be expensive. Firstly, such medications would be safer due to their much higher purity and absence of harmful impurities. Secondly, testing drugs in clinics costs. Costs of clinical studies run in hundreds of millions. Further, massive costs are involved in getting FDA approvals. Of course, some may wonder why not simply use magic mushrooms, then. Well, that is not possible, as doctors cannot rely on magic mushrooms for treating health conditions. They need to know the exact dose they are giving to their patients. However, the potency of magic mushrooms varies significantly.

Therefore, if we want to see broader use of magic mushrooms in clinics, they must become available in pills. This is precisely what is expected to happen in the coming years. There are high chances that magic mushroom pills will become available as prescription drugs for managing mental health disorders.

Gurpreet Singh Padda, MD, MBA, MHP

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