The fear of the unknown can be overwhelming, especially in the face of a chronic illness. Doubly so if one is facing the worst prognoses. Some researchers are finding evidence that hallucinogenic mushrooms might eliminate the existential distress faced by many cancer patients. And the results are interesting and kind of exciting.
Facing a terminal illness is one of the most devastating situations most of us can imagine. We neither want to do it ourselves nor face it with a loved one. Much of the suffering may be physical as the condition takes its toll on the body, but the mental and emotional elements should not be ignored. Suffering is suffering, whether it's mental or physical. In recent years, researchers have turned to hallucinogenic mushrooms looking for new avenues of possible support. Early research has found just one controlled dose of the drug can improve mood for weeks, possibly even months.
Many test subjects early forays into psilocybin have described what they perceived as “mystical” and “spiritually significant” events that left them feeling less anxious about the unknown. Some researchers feel these experiences might have a significant impact just as people are facing their last days.
As scientific interest in the potential benefits of psilocybin grows, so does the public’s interest in broadening its understanding of the drug. Oregon residents changed their laws in the 2020 election. Soon, the drug will be legal to administer in clinical settings for the treatment of depression and several other conditions. And as we've seen with marijuana, other states may soon follow.
OregonLive reported that Measure 109 passed with 56.12% of the vote, which also decriminalized personal amounts of the drug. Experts estimate psilocybin treatments will start becoming available for Oregon residents in about 2 years.
Researchers are looking at other benefits beyond psilocybin effects on mood. There’s reasonable evidence that this drug might treat cluster headaches and possibly even alcohol dependence. Likely, we’ve merely explored the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the possible benefits.
Hallucinogenic mushrooms are still controlled substances all across the country, with criminal repercussions for possession and distribution. And certainly, we don't know enough to encourage use at this point. While the benefits could be profound, and laws may be changing for some people, experts still caution strongly against personal experimentation. But these early results looking at microdosing are pretty exciting as initial forays into the possibilities. We still have a lot to learn about its effects, and treatment involving its use might not be right for everyone but we will keep an eye on these studies as they grow in frequency and scope and keep you posted as to the results.
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