National & International University

Law obstructs research on magic mushrooms’ benefits

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The Conservative Drug Policy Reform Group’s new report highlights how law obstructs scientific research of the potential medical benefits of “magic mushrooms” for over 50 years, according to Health Europa.

Psilocybin, the main active ingredient in “magic mushrooms”, is a Schedule 1 substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

The CDPRG is urging the UK Home Office to reschedule Psilocybin for research purposes.

The report ‘Medicinal Use of Psilocybin: Reducing restrictions on research and treatment‘ argues current psilocybin restrictions are, as described by leading drug specialist Professor Nutt, “the worst censorship of research in the history of the world” and that rescheduling of the compound would not increase an illicit use.

The 50 years old law made research into Psilocybin ‘nearly impossible’ due to high licensing costs.

Obtaining a license takes up to a year, which significantly slows research.

Six individual Controlled Drug licences are necessary for each stage of the drug delivery process skyrocketing costs to around £20,000 per clinical trial.

Schedule 2 substances, such as fentanyl, heroin or cocaine are much more dangerous, yet universities have a Schedule 2 licence, and none of the restrictions for Schedule 1 substances applies.

“This scheduling is undeniably a considerable barrier to research as few studies have been able to take place over the last 50 years,” said MP Jeff Smith.

A fifth of Britons suffer from depression or anxiety, one in three cases of depression do not respond well to existing treatments, and at least 7,500 people in the UK with depression and PTSD are beyond treatment.

For 50 years, people are treated with opiates which are extremely addictive, while there might be a non-addictive alternative.

Schedule 1 substance means there is no potential for medical use, yet scientific evidence suggests otherwise.

Imperial College London experts say Psilocybin might be able to reset connections inside the brain, that help patients overcome depression.

At the same time, healthy individuals report zero side effects, according to King’s College London scientists.

Research from New York University found taking a single dose of Psilocybin, which is found naturally in over 100 species of fungi, diminished depression and anxiety in cancer patients.

Psilocybin might treat substance use disorders, including tobacco, alcohol and cocaine addiction, according to a small pilot study from Johns Hopkins University.

The Home Office stated the current Schedule 1 classification of Psilocybin does not prevent research or clinical trials.

As a response, the CDPRG has launched an economic investigation.

A peer-reviewed economic analysis of the setbacks that Schedule 1 classification inflicts on research will be published this Autumn.

Image source: pikist

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