How drugs can improve our mental health

Salt Lake City (ABC4) – While recent years have seen major changes in Utah’s drug policies – including the departure of Utah Medical Cannabis Act In November 2018 – many are still wondering why the country has not yet legalized or even decriminalized the use of psilocybin.

Psilocybin is derived from so-called magic mushrooms. Currently, psilocybin can be possessed It carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years or $5,000 in fines.

But with the neighborhood Colorado criminalizes the use of psilocybin Last year, the question of “if” it would become legal here in Utah quickly became a question of “when” it would happen.

As clinical research continues to explore the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in medicine, experts and patients alike are calling for it to be reclassified.

What is psilocybin?

There are more than 200 known species of “magic mushrooms” that produce psilocybin – a substance that when ingested is known to cause euphoria, synesthesia (a mixing of the senses) and even perceptions.

These types of mushrooms grow on nearly every continent, with many growing in the forested regions of Utah.

How does psilocybin work?

Once consumed, psilocybin compounds bind to serotonin receptors in the brain’s primary visual cortex, decreasing the activity of those neurons, giving users an increased sense of connection to their surroundings while reducing their sense of ego.

Data collected through clinical research by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine It was also found that psilocybin changes how this region communicates with other areas of the brain involved in hearing, attention, memory, and even decision-making.


How can psilocybin help?

Recent research has shown that psilocybin-assisted treatment combined with psychotherapy can relieve symptoms of major depressive disorder in adults for at least a year in some cases.

In this study by Johns Hopkins of 27 patients with a long-term history of depression, results It was significant as participants showed a response rate of 75% with a remission of 58% at 12 months of treatment and follow-up.

These findings are crucial for those struggling with depression and mental health in general, as experts are also finding psilocybin to help people with long-term symptoms of PTSD and even addiction.

“They have exceptional results in research studies right now,” says Anne Bowden, APRN-FNP with Rising Health Specialty Clinic. “So, we’re really excited about this possibility… It’s all about serving our community. Anything we can do — especially when it comes to mental health.”

How safe is psilocybin?

Research into the offensive potential of psilocybin shows that it is not a chemically addictive substance. Although adverse reactions are rare, some may experience symptoms of mushroom poisoning such as muscle spasms, delirium, psychosis, and mild gastrointestinal illness.

In other unique cases, negative reactions include visual flashbacks that can be experienced anywhere from weeks to years after the use recall Persistent hallucinogenic perceptual disorder.

What similar treatments are now available to patients?

As research into narcotic medications and their uses continues, many patients have found significant relief in symptoms with ketamine-supported therapies. Although ketamine works differently in the brain than psilocybin, it can still have beneficial effects with a similar feel.

FILE – In this May 24, 2019, file photo, a vendor packs bags of psilocybin mushrooms at a cannabis market in Los Angeles. Despite pandemic conditions that have made natural signature collection nearly impossible, activists in the nation’s capital say they have enough signatures for a ballot initiative in November that would decriminalize natural narcotics like mescaline mushrooms and psilocybin. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File)

High specialty health clinic In Holde, Utah, it is one of several providers offering patients a variety of treatment options, including ketamine therapy, to create synaptic growth in the brain, improve communication between cells, and relieve depression in patients.

According to Bowden: “What we found in people with drug-resistant depression — ketamine has been wonderful … We can take those patients with no options, who can’t take SSRIs or antidepressant medications, and we can see these life-altering experiences.. That’s our hope with these other things (like psilocybin).”

What is the future of psilocybin?

With strict laws currently in place here in Utah around psilocybin use and no changes expected, options for medicinal use have yet to take hold despite ongoing research.

In March of 2022, you created the Utah Legislature Psychiatric Medicines Task Force for Mental Illness To conduct further studies, provide training, and make recommendations on potential therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin. The task force includes a licensed psychiatrist, a licensed psychologist, and a representative of the Utah Medical Association.

While the legalization (or decriminalization) of psilocybin may not happen in Utah this year, exciting new benefits surrounding its use are being discovered every day, which could mean changes sooner rather than later.

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