Definition of Psilocybin

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound produced by more than 200 species of mushrooms. It’s quickly converted in the body to psilocin, whose effects include euphoria, changes in perception and sense of time, hallucinations, and profound spiritual experiences. Prehistoric murals from Spain and Algeria suggest that human use of psilocybin mushrooms predates recorded history and use for spiritual ceremonies dates back 3,000 years in Mexico and the Southwestern US.

Studies are mounting that psilocybin induces positive psychological experiences that may prove uniquely effective in treating depression, anxiety, end-of-life distress, and substance abuse disorders—while also increasing the mental wellbeing of healthy individuals. Psilocybin’s benefits are related to reduced neural activity in the brain’s default mode network (DMN), an interconnected brain region associated with the ego and self-identity.

While psilocybin is illegal in most countries, it’s not addictive, has low harm potential (there is no known lethal dose), and studies show it’s the safest recreational drug. Thousands of doses have been administered in clinical settings since the 1990s, with NYU researchers reporting no lasting medical or psychiatric issues. Research and decriminalization are heating up: For instance, the US FDA designated psilocybin a “breakthrough therapy” for depression in 2019, an action that speeds up research development for drugs expected to represent a major improvement over currently available agents.

Read a good overview of psilocybin from Psychology Today.


Spotlight

This section is designed as a jumping-off point. We’ve “spotlighted” a
few medical studies on psilocybin 
to introduce you to the nature and 
diversity of the research. Consider it a springboard to the RESEARCH area.

Research

The heart of the portal. Search the PubMed and TRIP databases for clinical studies about psilocybin‘s impact on numerous health issues.

Studies-in-Progress

Investigate the clinical trials currently underway for psilocybin. Where they’re being conducted around the world – which health conditions are being studied – and how to get involved.