Magic Mushrooms also referred to as ‘shrooms’, scientifically named Psilocybin Mushrooms. They contain the compound psilocybin, a naturally occurring psychoactive and hallucinogenic. The biological genera that contain psilocybin mushroom are Gymnopilus, Copelandra, Inocybe, Panaceious, Pholiotina, Plateus, and Psilocybe.
Because to its hallucinogenic properties, the ‘Magic Mushroom’ is classified as a schedule 1 drug to its high potential of misuse. The United States therefore does not recommend it as a treatment avenue for Cancer patients Canadian Shroom Hub.
To better understand its classification as a drug, you need to understand the compound psilocybin. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations, psilocybin is one of the well-known psychedelics. A psychedelic is a drug that that produces hallucinations and apparent expansion of consciousness. Any drugs that cause hallucinations are therefore classified as a schedule 1 drug.
Some cultures used the hallucinogenic properties of mushrooms for centuries, but Dr. Albert Hofmann first isolated psilocybin in 1958. Dr. Albert Hofmann also discovered lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) which is also a hallucinogen.
Magic Mushrooms don’t have a complicated preparation process. They are prepared by drying and eaten by being mixed into foods or drinks. However, some people consume freshly picked magic mushrooms.
What do Magic Mushrooms do in Cancer Patients?
The general effect of consuming Magic Mushrooms is hallucinating. They can cause you to hear, see, and feel a sensation that seems real but is not. These effects are however influenced by environmental factors.
Shrooms (as we know them) are associated with spiritual experiences and self-discovery.
The psilocybin found in shrooms is converted into psilocin and influences the serotonin levels in the brain, leading to altered and unusual perceptions of reality. These perceptions take up to 20 to 40 minutes to start and usually last 6 hours – the time it takes the body to expel the psilocin.
With this brief background of the Magic Mushrooms, we need to ask ourselves how this is used in the treatment regimen of cancer patients.
Magic Mushroom use in Cancer Treatment
Researchers at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine found that psilocybin combined with psychotherapy appeared to improve the emotional wellbeing of cancer patients for the five years.
The ground–breaking study carried out in 2016, found out that psilocin combined with psychotherapy sessions produced immediate results in terms of improvements in anxiety and depression. This therefore improved the quality of life by decreasing cancer related hopelessness and demoralization, and it improved spiritual well-being of the 29 patients involved in the study.
A review 5 years later by the researchers showed that 70 percent of the test group participant said that the psilocybin-assisted therapy gave them long-term positive life changes.
Studies dating far back as 1950 show that psilocybin therapy is a promising area in improving emotional, spiritual, and psychological well-being for patients with life–threatening cancer.
However, the researchers rallied against self-medicating with psilocybin noting that they should take it in a controlled environment with trained mental health practitioners.