The Johns Hopkins Hub shares the news that their medical school researchers are advocating, in the October issue of Neuropharmacology, that psilocybin mushrooms be taken out of the same legal category as heroin and into the same category as sleeping pills… because they’re actually useful in therapy:
“We want to initiate the conversation now as to how to classify psilocybin to facilitate its path to the clinic and minimize logistical hurdles in the future,” says Matthew W. Johnson, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We expect these final clearance trials to take place in the next five years or so.”
Following the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, any drug with the potential for abuse is categorized based on criteria that take into account whether the drug has accepted medical use, and its safety and the potential for abuse. Schedule IV drugs are those that have a low potential for abuse or dependence.
Although preliminary research studies suggest that psilocybin may be effective for smoking cessation and for disorders such as cancer-specific depression and anxiety, it must clear phase III clinical trials before the Food and Drug Administration can be petitioned to reclassify it.
Studies in animals and humans both show low potential for abuse, the researchers say. When rats push a lever to receive psilocybin, they don’t keep pushing the lever like they do for drugs such as cocaine, alcohol, or heroin. When it comes to human studies, people who have used psilocybin typically report using it a few times across their lifetime.