November 20, 2019

Magic Mushrooms and Psychotherapy

A few days ago, a customer named Kevin visited Mycoboutique’s shop in Montréal. Among other purchases, he brought to the cash counter a fascinating book: How to Change Your Mind, in which Michael Pollan explains how hallucinogens, psilocybin in particular, are used today to treat numerous mental disorders. Psilocybin is present in many species of mushrooms, so-called "magic" mushrooms that have been ritually ingested for millennia. The visitor candidly stated that he had been a drug addict and that, for three months, he had freed himself from this dependence by regularly taking psilocybin microdoses. "Every morning, I wake up sullen, but, as soon as I swallow my daily capsule, I find my spirit ", he said.
On November 1, 2019, at McGill University, two psychologists, Ingmar Gorman and Elizabeth Nielson, psychologists, and a psychiatrist, Simon Amar spoke to us about the evolution of mdma (ecstasy) and psilocybin assisted therapy. Unlike psilocybin, mdma is not a hallucinogen and takes different pathways in the brain. Both seem to have similar beneficial effects.
The therapeutic potential of these drugs has been studied for years. Their general use has been made illegal in the United States in 1985, after which the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) was formed to support research that has since been strictly controlled. In 2002, a first publication reported encouraging results with subjects suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Corroborating results have accumulated with various psychological disorders, to the point that in 2018, the approach was elevated to the status of Breakthrough Therapy by the US Food and Drug Administration.
As part of the new approach, treatments are short-term, carried out under the close supervision of psychotherapists in a controlled environment. The targeted behaviors seem to share a repetitive character. The procedure seems to break the cycle of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, alcohol and drug addiction, conditions against which neuroleptics with undesirable side effects are often prescribed. Schizophrenia and bipolar disorder do not correspond.
The researchers anticipate the legalization of these drugs in the US, for medical purposes within three years. However, reservations are still needed since, despite encouraging results, the mechanisms are still unclear. In all instances, professional supervision and a controlled environment will be required for the foreseeable future.
Does Kevin measures the risk of microdosing oneself with on line purchases?

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