Music an essential part of psilocybin assisted therapy, research suggests
Liam O’Dowd – October 6, 2021
Danish scientists at the European College Of Neuropsychopharmacology have found that psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, significantly changes the emotional state of people listening to music.
Psilocybin assisted therapy is being developed as a treatment for depression and other mental health conditions, with pre-selected music playlists being a common feature in therapy settings. The study, to be presented at the ECNP Congress in Lisbon, shows that enhanced emotional processing may be a positive outcome of combining psilocybin with music, suggesting that music should be an active component of psilocybin therapy.
In the study, 20 healthy participants were tested on their emotional response to music before and after given psilocybin. 14 of these participants were also tested after being given ketanserin, an anti-hypertension drug commonly used as a comparison in psychedelic experiments. Whether ketanserin or psilocybin was given first was randomly selected and each person was thus able to report on the changes effected by both psilocybin and ketanserin. At the peak of drug effects, participants listened to a short music program and rated their emotional response.
Lead researcher Associate Professor Dea Siggaard Stenbæk said: “We found that psilocybin markedly enhanced the emotional response to music, when compared to the response before taking the drugs. On the measurement scale we used, psilocybin increased the emotional response to music by around 60%. This response was even greater when compared to ketanserin. In fact, we found that ketanserin lessens the emotional response to music. This shows that [the] combination of psilocybin and music has a strong emotional effect, and we believe that this will be important for the therapeutic application of psychedelics if they are approved for clinical use. Psilocybin is under development as a drug to treat depression, and this work implies that music needs to be considered as a therapeutic part of the treatment.
“Our next step is to look at the effect of music on the brain while under the influence of psilocybin in data material we have already collected, using an MRI”.
While the results of the study are unlikely to surprise any recreational user of psychedelic drugs, it is significant in the development of clinical settings for psilocybin assisted therapy. Commenting on the study Professor David Nutt of Imperial College, London said: “This is further evidence of the potential of using music to facilitate treatment efficacy with psychedelics. What we need to do now is optimise this approach probably through individualising and personalising music tracks in therapy”.
The emotional response to the music in the study was rated according to the Geneva Emotional Music Scale. The music used was a short programme comprising Elgar’s Enigma Variations no 8 and 9, and Mozart’s Laudate Dominum, together lasting around 10 minutes. Interstingly, Elgar was encouraged to write some of the music used as a way out of depression by his close friend Augustus Jaeger. “We’re pleased to see it used again to help understand more about mental health” Professor Stenbæk added.
Story from Leafie UK
Alison Myrden submits to the Minister of Health a s. 56 application to grow 50 grams/ day of psilocybin mushrooms
Cannabis & Psychedelics Law Group LLP have submitted a s. 56 application on behalf of Alison Myrden to the Minister of Health seeking a 50 grams/ day exemption which would also allow Ms. Myrden to grow her own psilocybin. Henria Stephens has done some terrific work in assisting with this application.
Ms. Myrden suffers from Bilateral Trigeminal Neuralgia which is a vicious condition that causes chronic and excruciating pain on both sides of her face, as well as painful facial tics. The trigeminal nerve is the source of the pain. It leads to eye pain that causes cluster migraines. Some sufferers describe it as getting electric shocks to the face. This condition “is one of the most characteristic and difficult to treat neuropathic pain conditions in patients with multiple sclerosis.” It has caused her to suffer from severe facial pain 24 hours a day which starts as soon as she is conscious in the mornings.
Ms. Myrden also suffers from Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS) which is the worst type of MS. Her MS has gotten worse and worse. She suffers from constant nerve pain, fatigue, balance issues, vision problems and speech problems. The psilocybin helps with all of these.
Ms. Myrden has tried a long list of drugs and treatments. Many of these drugs have caused further health problems. Cannabis has helped. However, nothing is as effective at reducing the pain as psilocybin. This is similar to the cluster headache sufferers who have obtained relief through psilocybin. Ms. Myrden requires 50 grams of psilocybin mushrooms a day. She has developed somewhat of a tolerance to psilocybin mushrooms so she needs a bit more than the average person. She also needs psilocybin mushrooms all through the day as her pain is with her all through the day.
Ms. Myrden is seeking to grow her psilocybin herself. Psilocybin mushrooms do not grow in the wild where Ms. Myrden lives. Also, she is cautious about inadvertently picking mushrooms that are unsafe for human consumption. She would prefer to have control over her medicine. At the Ontario Court of Appeal found in Hitzig v. Canada, the right to use a drug is useless without a legal supply.
The decision to grant a s. 56 exemption must be made in a manner consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Supreme Court of Canada, in PHS Community Services Society v. Canada 2011 SCC 44, at para. 117, said
The discretion vested in the Minister of Health is not absolute: as with all exercises of discretion, the Minister’s decisions must conform to the Charter: Suresh v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship & Immigration), 2002 SCC 1,  1 S.C.R. 3 (S.C.C.). If the Minister’s decision results in an application of the CDSA that limits the s. 7 rights of individuals in a manner that is not in accordance with Charter, then the Minister’s discretion has been exercised unconstitutionally.
Ms. Myrden believes the Minister of Health will do the right thing and grant Ms. Myrden an exemption. As various courts have held over the years, no person should have to choose between their health and the law.
Alison gets great relief from Psilocybin found in various types of “Magic Mushrooms” …
Possessing And Cultivating Psychedelics Would Be Legalized In Michigan Under New Senate Bill
Michigan senators on Thursday introduced a bill to legalize the possession, cultivation and delivery of an array of plant- and fungus-derived psychedelics like psilocybin and mescaline.
The legislation, sponsored by Sens. Jeff Irwin (D) and Adam Hollier (D), would amend state statute to exempt people from criminal penalties for such activities so long as they are not “receiving money or other valuable consideration for the entheogenic plant or fungus.”
As such, commercial production and sales would not be legalized under the measure.
The legislation does clarify, however, that people can charge a “reasonable fee for counseling, spiritual guidance, or a related service that is provided in conjunction with the use of an entheogenic plant or fungus under the guidance and supervision of an individual providing the service.”
Irwin said in a tweet that “decriminalization of entheogenic substances makes sense.”
“There is medicinal value. These plants and fungi have religious significance. And these substances are relatively safe and not prone to abuse,” he said. “Let’s stop wasting time and money making more victims of the War on Drugs.”
The list of entheogenic substances that are covered under the proposal includes plants and fungi that naturally produce DMT, ibogaine, mescaline, psilocybin and psilocyn.
Notably, the inclusion of mescaline doesn’t specifically prohibit the substance from being derived from the cacti peyote, despite some concerns about overharvesting that have been raised by indigenous groups and have led to that specific plant being left out of other reform proposals across the country.
Michigan has become a unique hub for the psychedelics movement, with local chapters of the group Decriminalize Nature pushing their city councils to adopt reforms.
The Ann Arbor, Michigan City Council approved entheogenic decriminalization last year—and in July, local lawmakers passed a resolution to officially designate September as Entheogenic Plants and Fungi Awareness Month.
Efforts are also underway in Grand Rapids to enact a policy change for the psychedelic substances.
But the new bill, SB 631, is the latest example of how this local movement is expanding and reaching state lawmakers.
A California senator advanced a bill to legalize the possession of psychedelics through the Senate and two Assembly committees, but he recently put the effort on pause until next year to generate additional buy-in.
Activists in California are also hoping to place an initiative before voters in 2022 to legalize the possession and sale of psilocybin. And a legislative analysis of the proposal that was released this week found that it would reduce costs associated with enforcing laws against the substance.
Oregon voters approved a first-of-its-kind initiative last year to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic use alone.
Meanwhile, Denver activists who successfully led a 2019 campaign to make the city the first in the U.S. to decriminalize psilocybin possession have their eyes set on broader reform, with plans in the works to end the criminalization of noncommercial gifting and communal use of the psychedelic.
Massachusetts cities that have enacted the policy change are: Northampton, Somerville and Cambridge. In July, state lawmakers heard testimony about a bill to create a task force charged with studying the implications of legalizing psychedelics like psilocybin and ayahuasca.
The governor of Connecticut recently signed legislation recently that includes language requiring the state to carry out a study into the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms.
Texas also recently enacted a bill to require the state study the medical benefits of psychedelics for military veterans.
A New York lawmaker introduced a bill in June that would require the state to establish an institute to similarly research the medical value of psychedelics.
In Oakland, the first city where a city council voted to broadly deprioritize criminalization of entheogenic substances, lawmakers approved a follow-up resolution in December that calls for the policy change to be adopted statewide and for local jurisdictions to be allowed to permit healing ceremonies where people could use psychedelics.
After Ann Arbor legislators passed a decriminalization resolution last year, a county prosecutor announced that his office will not be pursuing charges over possessing entheogenic plants and fungi—“regardless of the amount at issue.”
The Aspen, Colorado City Council discussed the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like psilocybin and proposals to decriminalize such substances at a meeting in May. But members said, as it stands, enacting a reform would be more better handled at the state level while entheogens remain strictly federally controlled.
Seattle lawmakers also recently sent a letter to members of a local task force focused on the opioid overdose epidemic, imploring the group to investigate the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like ayahuasca and ibogaine in curbing addiction. In response, the task force on issued a recommendation for the widespread decriminalization of all drugs. The group said psychedelics in particular could represent a promising treatment to address substance abuse disorders and mental health issues.
Meanwhile, Portland, Oregon activists are mounting a push to have local lawmakers pass a resolution decriminalizing the cultivation, gifting and ceremonial use of a wide range of psychedelics.
In a setback for advocates, the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted against a proposal from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) that would have removed a spending bill rider that advocates say has restricted federal funds for research into Schedule I drugs, including psychedelics such as psilocybin, MDMA and ibogaine. However, it picked up considerably more votes this round than when the congresswoman first introduced it in 2019.
Report provisions of separate, House-passed spending legislation also touch on the need to expand cannabis and psychedelics research. The panel urged the National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) to support expanded marijuana studies, for example. It further says that federal health agencies should pursue research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics for military veterans suffering from a host of mental health conditions.
When it comes to broader drug policy reform, Oregon voters also approved an initiative in November to decriminalize possession of all drugs. This year, the Maine House of Representatives passed a drug decriminalization bill, but it later died in the Senate.
In May, lawmakers in Congress filed the first-ever legislation to federally decriminalize possession of illicit substances.
Story from Marijuana Moment
A comprehensive overview of psilocybin legality
Jeff C – February 16, 2020
Psilocybin is the active psychotropic compound found in mushrooms of the Psilocybe genus and a few others, frequently referred to as “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms”. The over 200 species that comprise these genera can be found growing naturally throughout the world on every continent with the exception of Antarctica.
These mushrooms are one of the most commonly known and universally recognized psychedelics – substances that induce a profound altered state of consciousness and are beginning to be recognized for their positive effects on overall mental health, and the symptoms of many psychological conditions. Despite the promising research regarding their safety and efficacy as atreatment for psychological conditions, and their long (not to mention safe) history of use by indigenous peoples, they are illegal in the majority of countries – with a few notable exceptions.
The legality of psilocybin, and the fungi that contain it
Psilocybin (the molecule) and psilocybin-containing fungi are NOT synonymous from a legal perspective. Prohibition of the psilocybin molecule was catalyzed by the UN’s 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, a meeting that aimed to suppress the rising popularity of psychedelic drugs like psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA during the 1960’s.
The convention placed psilocybin in Schedule I, the most restrictive category (defined as having serious risk to public health, with no therapeutic value). However, the convention neglected to precisely define the legality of mushrooms or fungal mycelium containing the substance, and included a clause (Article 32) allowing nations to exempt certain traditional uses of substances from prohibition.
The convention neglecting to ban both psilocybin and psilocybin-containing mushrooms was perhaps an unintentional oversight, and therefore left the decision to prohibit the mushrooms up to member countries, many of whom applied differing legal interpretations and did not outrightly ban the mushrooms (although all agreed to prohibit the compound psilocybin).
This discrepancy has led to multiple loopholes and a confusing double standard that is in need of clarification and rectification, especially now after promising study results regarding the substance. This article serves to address these loopholes, and provide an overview of the current legal status of psilocybin and psilocybin-containing fungi worldwide.
Psilocybin legal status in the United States
The American Psychotropic Substances Act lists psilocybin and psilocybin-containing mushrooms in Schedule I (defined as having a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment, and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision) however there are notable exceptions.
It is legal in most states to purchase magic mushroom spores (“for research and microscopy purposes”), and legal to grow them in New Mexico — there is even a recognized religious group in this state which uses the mushrooms for sacramental purposes.
Recently there has been a nationwide push for decriminalization, led by cities such as Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz which have all decriminalized the picking and personal possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms and other entheogenic substances (with the cultivation for commercial purpose and sale of these substances remaining illegal).
Activists in over 100 additional localities have initiated similar measures, while political figures like Andrew Yang and Rep. Alexandria Oscatio-Cortez have also declared support for policy reform around psychedelics.
Psilocybin legal status in Canada
Canada’s laws around psilocybin (the molecule) are mostly congruent with the UN Psychotropic Substances Act, however they classify the substance as schedule III (defined as posing some risks to public health in some situations). The legal landscape surrounding magic mushrooms and psilocybin in Canada (and most other countries) is rather hypocritical, and laws are lightly enforced.
It’s legal to purchase spores and pre-inoculated grow kits, legal to pick and possess fresh psilocybin-containing mushrooms, but illegal to possess dried mushrooms. Laissez-faire enforcement has spurred the creation of many small businesses offering mushrooms and mushroom infused products online. The most publicized case of this being pot activist Dana Larsen’s online Medicinal Mushroom Dispensary — he’s also set to open a storefront in Vancouver Q1 2020).
There is also a clause in the Canadian Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (Section 56) which exempts substances from illegality if medically necessary. A group of therapists in Canada (Thera-psil) have appealed to Health Canada for psilocybin to be exempted from illegality under this clause.
Psilocybin legal status in the United Kingdom
British law regarding the molecule psilocybin is consistent with the UN Psychotropic substances act. However, up until 2005, the possession and even sale of magic mushrooms were fully legal. The Misuse of Drugs Act amendment of 2005 rectified this discrepancy and made the possession, sale, and cultivation of these fungi illegal.
The UK now has more restrictive laws in this area than most other countries — perhaps a rebound effect — with the sale of mushroom spores and inoculated grow kits being illegal as well.
Psilocybin legal status in The Netherlands
Psilocybin (the compound) and magic mushrooms are both illegal in The Netherlands, however many ‘smart shops’ — specialized in ethnobotanical products — profit from one of the most widely known loopholes in the Dutch Drug Misuse Act.
Fungi consist of two main portions, mycelium and fruiting bodies. The Drug Misuse Act lists only the mushrooms as illegal, however it does not include the mycelium of the fungi which also contains psilocybin under certain conditions. Mycelial clumps or “Magic Truffles, along with spores and inoculated grow kits are sold throughout the netherlands.
Psilocybin legal status in Austria
Austria decriminalized the possession of psilocybin-containing mushrooms in January 2016. Offenders caught in possession of personal-use amounts will have to undergo a free therapy program instead of a trial. Cultivation is technically legal as long as the mushrooms are not intended for use as a drug. Grow kits and spores can be legally purchased, however the sale and possession of large amounts of dried magic mushrooms is still illegal.
Psilocybin legal status in Mexico
Both psilocybin and magic mushrooms are illegal in Mexico, however authorities often turn a blind eye to personal use, citing Article 32 of the UN Psychotropic Substances Act which states that exemptions can be made for religious or sacramental use.
Psilocybin legal status in Brazil
Psilocybin (the molecule) is illegal in Brazil, however magic mushrooms are legal to possess, cultivate, and distribute in all forms.
Psilocybin legal status in The British Virgin Islands
Psilocybin (the molecule) is illegal in the BVI, however naturally-occurring magic mushrooms are legal to pick and possess. The sale of psilocybin-containing mushrooms is prohibited, but laws are loosely enforced and they are openly sold throughout the country.
Psilocybin legal status in The Bahamas
Psilocybin (the molecule) and magic mushrooms are fully legal to cultivate, possess, and sell in the Bahamas
Psilocybin legal status in Cambodia
Psilocybin (the molecule) and psilocybin-containing mushrooms are illegal in Cambodia, however laws are loosely enforced, especially in tourist areas.
Psilocybin legal status in the Czech Republic
Psilocybin (the molecule) is illegal in the Czech Republic however magic mushrooms are decriminalized and cultivation is allowed for personal use. Possession of large quantities, and the sale of dried mushrooms, is still illegal but loosely enforced.
Psilocybin legal status in Iceland
Psilocybin (the molecule) and dried magic mushrooms are illegal in Iceland, while picking and possession of fresh mushrooms is allowed.
Psilocybin legal status in India
Psilocybin (the molecule) and magic mushrooms are technically illegal in India. However, the laws are loosely enforced due to many police departments being unaware of the prohibition.
Psilocybin legal status in Israel
Psilocybin (the molecule) and magic mushrooms are illegal in Israel for the purpose of personal use. However, the purchase of spores and inoculated grow kits “for research or microscopy purposes” are allowed.
Psilocybin legal status in Italy
Psilocybin (the molecule) is illegal in Italy. However, magic mushrooms are decriminalized; grow kits and spores are also legal to buy, sell and possess.
Psilocybin legal status in Laos
Psilocybin (the molecule) and magic mushrooms are illegal in Laos. However, laws are loosely enforced, especially in tourist areas.
Psilocybin legal status in Portugal
The Drug policy of Portugal has decriminalized possession of all drugs.
Psilocybin legal status in Samoa
Psilocybin (the molecule) and magic mushrooms are legal in Samoa. However, there are government plans to make both illegal.
Psilocybin legal status in Spain
Psilocybin (the molecule) is illegal in Spain. However, the consumption of magic mushrooms is decriminalized. The cultivation and sale of psilocybin-containing mushrooms is still illegal. The legality of spores and grow kits are ambiguous and prosecution is dependent on intent.
Psilocybin legal status in Thailand
Psilocybin (the molecule) and magic mushrooms are illegal in Thailand. However, laws are loosely enforced, especially in tourist areas.
Psilocybin remains globally illegal
Any country not listed in this article has no ambiguity on the illegality of psilocybin or magic mushrooms in any form (including spores). Hopefully, in light of shifting public sentiment worldwide and promising research, this will soon change. Over the last 20 years (since the first post-drug-war psilocybin study was approved at Johns Hopkins University) the stigma and misinformation around psychedelics have been steadily decreasing.
We believe that within the next 20 years, psilocybin will become both legal and commonplace as a treatment for psychological conditions, and as a tool for personal growth.
Article from – Psillow
Sarah Whites-Koditschek, al.com
Psychedelic drugs creating hopes for breakthroughs in depression, anxiety, pain and addiction are being tested at UAB. The university is one of a handful in the nation conducting trials with psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms.
Researchers at the University of Alabama in Birmingham do not know exactly what effect the isolated drug molecules from mushrooms have on the brains of people suffering from such maladies, but studies have shown promising results.
“My own hypothesis is that when, in the right circumstances, someone ingests a classic psychedelic, they experience an emotion we know of as awe,” said UAB’s Dr. Peter Hendricks, professor of public health, who is conducting trials to see whether psilocybin can help people overcome cocaine addiction.
“(Awe) fills you with a feeling of wonder and amazement in this moment, the stimulus, this vast thing outside of your understanding. It captures every ounce of your attention, and because it’s so outside of your understanding of reality, it ultimately requires that you change the way you view reality.”
Nationally, the pharmaceutical industry is ramping up investments in psilocybin in anticipation of eventual FDA approval, and major publications are hypothesizing a “shroom boom” in the United States.
According to Hendricks, psilocybin connects different regions of the brain in new ways, disrupting ruminative thinking in the default mode network, the part of the brain that engages in unfocused activities.
A national movement to legalize psilocybin is gaining momentum.
Oregon legalized the use of psilocybin therapy last year. Denver and Washington, D.C. have decriminalized the drug, and other proposals to legalize or decriminalize it have been put forward in the legislatures of Florida, Maine, Hawaii and California.
Last month, the director of the National Institutes of Health told the U.S. Senate he believes psilocybin holds promise for mental health treatment.
“There has been a resurgence of interest in psychedelic drugs, which for a while were sort of considered not an area that researchers legitimately ought to go after,” said Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health. “And I think as we’ve learned more about how the brain works, we’ve begun to realize that these are potential tools for research purposes and might be clinically beneficial.”
“I think the support and interest in the scientific community is really growing,” said Hendricks.
There is anthropological research going back tens of thousands of years showing humans have used hallucinogenic mushrooms, said Hendricks.
“I think even the earliest humans realized there’s something about psilocybin, and it’s not just a recreational good time, it’s something else, it’s something much more serious, much more potent, and in fact, in many cases, it was considered quite sacred.”
Psilocybin mushrooms induce a spiritual experience that expands people’s perception of reality and deepens their sense of meaning, said Hendricks. That can help people with ruminative, tunnel focused, obsessive thought processes, hallmarks of depression, anxiety, chronic pain and drug addiction.
“Suddenly your horizons are broadened, and broadened tremendously, and you’re thinking about something other than obtaining or using that drug (or worrying about your pain),” he said.
“It’s as though you’ve taken a step outside of yourself, and you’re able to perhaps see some patterns that you might not have otherwise seen, or you might have some insights you might not have otherwise had when you were in the state of tunnel vision.”
In his research at UAB, Hendricks found such changes appear to have lasting effects.
“Those randomized to receive psilocybin reported significantly fewer days of cocaine use compared to those who were randomized to receive the placebo,” he said about unblinding the first 10 participants in his study on cocaine addiction.
The first wave of exploration into hallucinogenic mushrooms in the United States began in the 1950′s when a New York City banker with a mycology hobby named R. Gordon Wasson traveled to Oaxaca Mexico to try psychedelic mushrooms with an indigenous “curandera”, or healer, named Maria Sabina, Hendricks said.
Wasson published an account of his experience in Life Magazine, setting off a wave of interest in hallucinogenic drugs that included Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert at Harvard, and eventually turned to LSD, a synthetic substance derived from fungus.
“LSD was sort of the primary psychedelic that was studied at a time, and a number of scientists and clinicians and the like were really quite excited. They noticed in themselves and their patients and their participants some pretty profound changes for the better,” said Hendricks.
But that era of experimentation came to an abrupt halt after about a decade, stopping exploration into possible uses for the drugs. Psychedelics were associated with counterculture, the protests against the Vietnam War and the civil rights movement. They came to be perceived as a threat by political leaders like Richard Nixon, said Hendricks.
In 1970 LSD and psilocybin were designated as Schedule 1 substances by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency, a category reserved for the most dangerous and harmful substances with high potential for addiction and abuse. Such a designation limited researchers’ ability to study the therapeutic potential and safety of mushrooms.
Dr. Hendricks said that void of research has begun to be addressed in recent years, as scientists have identified that psilocybin is not addictive and is relatively safe. People can experience “bad trips” on the drug, and it is not advised for those with a family history of schizophrenia because it has been known to precipitate a mental break for people with such a genetic propensity.
Dr. Hendricks decided to seek approval for trials with psilocybin after reading a 2006 landmark paper on the uses of psilocybin for mystical experiences that increase spiritual meaning. At the time, he was observing the failure rate of people trying to quit smoking, about 70 percent.
“My thought was, this could be a game changer. Maybe here’s something that could really boost the effectiveness of our existing treatments. I don’t know for certain, but there’s this really interesting trend here.”
The search for new ways to combat persistent mental health issues is partly a response to a trend of growing psychological problems in the United States, even prior to COVID-19.
In 2018, 19 percent of Americans had a mental health disorder, an increase of 1.5 million over the previous year, according to a study by the group Mental Health America.
Now UAB also plans to test the usefulness of shrooms on people with chronic pain conditions, such as fibromyalgia and opioid addiction.
“It has a very, very, very good safety profile, but like anything, it is not harmless or without risk. It certainly does confer risks,” said Hendricks of psilocybin, “but I myself would be much more concerned about alcohol consumption.”
Go to MSN.com