Magic Mushrooms: medicine or class A drug?

If your doctor prescribed you ‘shrooms’, you’d probably double take, right?

The rise of the use of magic mushrooms to help treat illness ranging from PTSD to depression is becoming ever more popular. Crazy or not? So, what’s the science? And how will this work if ‘shrooms’ are still categorised as a class A drug?

In May 2019, Denver became the first city in America to legalise psilocybin (what you and I refer to as magic mushrooms) with two cities in California following suit not long after. In 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalise them. So, it’s clear that the movement towards use of magic mushrooms isn’t just championed by hippies or partygoers, but also American legislators. This is backed by the fact that psychedelic therapies are now attracting huge investments from investors.

So why is everyone suddenly backing the psychedelic craze? One of the best features of psychedelics is that they are likely to have transdiagnostic applicability (meaning that they help with mental disorders); helping to cure problems ranging from memory loss to depression. In With regards to depression for example, micro-dosing magic mushrooms can help open a person’s mind and break negative thinking cycles. Patterns of thinking when depressed can become very fixed and often depressed people ruminate almost uncontrollably on past experiences or future worries and - it’s argued - magic mushrooms can break this pattern and therefore make the mental health issue a lot easier to manage. What makes the treatment even more appealing to some is that it’s natural, especially to people who are against putting manufactured substances in their bodies.

A ground-breaking study done in 2016 helped revealed the curative properties found in magic mushrooms: a group of 29 cancer patients received a single dose treatment to deal with their anxiety and depression resulting from the disease and the conclusion of this study was that the micro-dose produced ‘rapid, robust and enduring anti-depressant effects’ on the patients who had taken it.

Clearly, the research is there, and this phenomenon seems likely to grow over the coming years. The final question is when – if at all – it will be legalised in the UK? In 2021, Boris Johnson faced calls to consider legalising shrooms. At present, nothing has come of these discussions, but we wait with bated breath to see if the UK will follow in the US’s footsteps and take the leap of legalising this obviously life-changing drug. Cannabis oil was for a long time considered a drug too, but its healing properties are now well documented. But for now, shrooms are still classed as a drug and totally illegal almost anywhere. So best to stay away from it until legalised and deemed safe.

By Lara Morant.

References & links: