Oregon Psilocybin Service Centers Set High Prices, Thousands Have Already Waitlisted

An estimated 3,000 people are now on a waitlist for Oregon’s first legal and operating psilocybin service center. EPIC Healing Eugene opened in June but is one of many psilocybin service centers that are still working on beginning operation.

“Our services focus on deep healing work, mindfulness, empowerment, spirituality, and transformation through psilocybin facilitation and integration,” EPIC Healing Eugene states on its website. “We teach self-help strategies that support self-directed personal development and brain change. We help you prepare for a healing shift that will help you get the most out of your experiential journeys. Our skilled and supportive staff offer preparation sessions, followed by integration sessions to help you better recognize and incorporate the gems of insight from your psychedelic experiences into your daily life.”

While patients don’t need a prescription or referral in order to take advantage of EPIC Healing Eugene’s services, their insurance also won’t cover such an experience. AP News stated that the price to try this new experience can exceed more than $2,000, which covers the business cost of the service center, as well as facilitators who assist participants through their experience, and lab-tested psilocybin. However, group pricing reduces the overall price.

According to Angela Allbee, Oregon Psilocybin Services (OPS) Section Manager, patients appear to be enjoying their experiences since EPIC opened. “So far, what we’re hearing is that clients have had positive experiences,” she told AP News. Allbee also mentioned that they’ve received inquiries from across the world.

In November 2020, Oregon voters pass Measure 110 officially became the first state to decriminalize hard drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine, and also legalized the use of psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use. By December 2022, the state was training facilitators to care for participants experiencing their psilocybin journey.

It took until May 2023 to approve the first license, which belonged to EPIC Healing Eugene. “We want to congratulate Cathy Jonas of EPIC Healing Eugene on being the first licensed service center in the state,” Allbee said at the time. “This is such a historic moment as psilocybin services will soon become available in Oregon, and we appreciate the strong commitment to client safety and access as service center doors prepare to open.”

As of September, there are 10 licensed service centers (a few of which are not yet operational), four growers, two testing laboratories, and “dozens of facilitators,” according to AP News

EPIC Healing Eugene states on its website that it specifically offers macrodosing, ranging between 10 mg to 35 mg (although the state allows these service centers to offer up to 50 mg). However, the service center hopes to include microdosing in the future. Once it has been verified if participants are ready for such an experience, they must undergo two one-hour sessions (or one two-hour session) for preparation. A single psilocybin administration session takes approximately six hours. Once the session has completed, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) requires that all forms and documentation be kept for five years. 

According to EPIC Healing Eugene owner Cathy Jonas, she’s not expecting to turn a profit anytime soon. Instead, it’s more of a calling to help others. “The plant medicines have communicated to me that I’m supposed to be doing this thing,” she told AP News. 

One of Jonas’ first clients took a 35 mg dose, which they described as “… kind of infinite-dimension fractal that just kept turning and twisting.” “It was kind of mesmerizing to watch, but it got so intense,” explained the unnamed individual. “I started to have this experience of dying and being reborn. And then I would kind of see large portions of my life going by in a very rapid way.”

Additionally, another psilocybin service center called Omnia Group Ashland opened in September in southern Oregon as well. So far, it has approximately 150 people on its waitlist. Another center in Bend, Oregon, called Lucid Cradle, is already booked through December 2023, but plans to serve one client per week.

Mushroom cultivation differs quite a bit from cannabis cultivation. One of Oregon’s licensed mushroom growers, Gared Hansen of Uptown Fungus, is the sole person cultivating psilocybin for his business. He grows mushroom varieties such as Golden Teacher, Blue Meanies, and Pink Buffalo, with an average cost of $125 for a 25 mg dose.

Hansen emphasizes the importance of purchasing mushrooms for legal sources, because mushrooms often look similar, and some may be an incorrect and poisonous variety to the untrained eye. “Sometimes part of the healing could be a negative experience someone has to go through, to kind of flush negative emotions out or reexperience some trauma in a healthier way,” said Hansen. “I’d hate to have someone that’s never tried it before take it home, have a bad trip and hurt themselves.”

According to a recent report from Willamette Weekly, Oregon Psilocybin Services have not yet yielded a groundbreaking amount of money from fees, noting that it currently costs more to run the program. “Backers of Measure 109 said the program would cost far more—$3.1 million a year—to run,” the outlet stated. “To fill at least part of that gap, Oregon lawmakers appropriated $3.1 million from the taxpayer-supported general fund for the two-year period that started July 1. OHA is betting that shroom fee revenue will pick up as the biennium proceeds, making up the rest of the shortfall,”

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Women & Psychedelics: How Estrogen Alters Psilocybin’s Effects

The numerous benefits of psychedelics have been coming to light in recent years, and women are taking notice. With little options in the way of pharmaceutical drugs, especially when it comes to treating mental illness and hormonal imbalances, it’s no surprise that women are experimenting with hallucinogens to see what can actually help. And better yet, a recent study found that psilocybin can help regulate menstrual issues. Let’s dig deeper into how and why psychedelics are so valuable for the fairer sex.

Women and psychedelics 

The psychedelic renaissance is in full swing, and women are at the heart of it. After decades of prohibition and condemnation (following a brief period of them being studied and used medicinally), the western world is finally starting to reexamine the many therapeutic benefits of these substances. LSD, Ketamine, MDMA, and psilocybin have been undergoing various clinical trials to see how they can be utilized to address a growing mental health crisis in the United States.  

Jennifer Gural, a psychotherapist from Los Angeles, California, commented about how hallucinogens have helped change her life, and how she began using them to help her female patients as well. “It shifted the focus of my life,” she stated. “It really helped me to tackle how my brain works and how I was thinking … It was such a profoundly life-changing experience. I have done ayahuasca and I’ve done psilocybin. I don’t know if I’ll ever do it again, but I’m open to that if it’s needed—which I think is how we should use psychedelics.”  

While there seems to be a recent influx of ladies trying psychedelics, self-medicating is nothing new for women. This could stem from frustrations with our existing health-care system, and how it has been historically geared toward treating men and either dismissing our issues or over-medicating us.  

As women – daughters, mothers, sisters, grandmothers, wives, friends – we have many struggles that we are often forced to face alone. Women are more likely to suffer from PTSD than men – particularly women of color, transgender, and gender-diverse individuals. Women also deal with depression and anxiety more often, and one in seven women have postpartum depression after childbirth.  

New studies have found that even a couple experiences with psychedelics, especially when combined with talk therapy, can lead to lifechanging, psychological developments. As a matter of fact, MDMA and psilocybin have been labeled as “breakthrough therapies” by the FDA, a designation given to “promising drugs proposed to fill an unmet need”. With so many pharmaceutical antidepressant and antianxiety drugs on the market, and the number of mental disorders still rising, we can clearly see that treating our troubled human minds is that unmet need.  

Is this the beginning of a brighter, more beautiful future for women’s healthcare? One where common mental illnesses, chronic pain, and hormonal conditions are treated successfully with psychedelic trips, rather than a lifetime of pharmaceutical medications? It seems quite promising.  

The new research on psilocybin and estrogen 

Although no clinical trials have been conducted, researchers from John Hopkins University have been looking over case files and anecdotal reports on women and psychedelics, and how estrogen can change the effects of psilocybin specifically. We know that estrogen can impact binding at serotonin receptor sites, and because most hallucinogens interact with serotonin receptors as well, experts believe that our cycles can influence how psilocybin works in our bodies, and vice versa, the psilocybin itself can have an impact on our hormones.  

Based on the aforementioned case studies, researchers discovered that psilocybin seemed to help regulate menstrual cycles. One of the women studied had premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which is a very severe form of PMS, and she used psilocybin to help regulate it. In another case, a woman suffered from polycystic ovarian syndrome and was having irregular periods. At one point, menstruation completely stopped for a while, but after taking psilocybin, it came back.  

“Our menstrual cycles occur along the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, so as one hormone kicks off, it tells another hormone what to do in this feedback loop and that’s the trajectory of our menstrual cycles,” says Jennifer Chesak, author of The Psilocybin Handbook for Women. “We also have the axis that manages our stress response, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. These two axes sort of overlap, and so they each impact one another. When we use psilocybin, we are at doing something along that stress response along the HPA axis.” 

Chesak added: “We already know from research outside of psychedelics, that these two axes do impact each other: our stress response can impact our cycle, and our cycles can impact our stress response. So, it’s not a stretch to think that when we are using psilocybin, that something is going on with our stress response that then impacts the menstrual cycle” 

Although we only have these few case studies and anecdotal reports at the moment, the results are telling. And it begs the question of when we can see a real clinical trial on this topic, so we can better understand the mechanisms of how it works from a scientific perspective. 

Aside from medical benefits, do women experience psychedelics differently than men? 

Honestly, who really knows? Obviously, no studies have been done on whether women trip differently than men. But it’s possible that because women tend to be more emotional, empathetic, and receptive to spiritual experiences – this could be beneficial to producing better and more positive, even more therapeutic highs.  

Historically, statistics indicate that men use more drugs than women – and this across the board, from illicit drugs to legal substances like tobacco and alcohol. And since most research is still conducted on male subjects, female drug use patterns and their subsequent experiences remain somewhat of an enigma.  

However, we do know that in general, psychotropic drugs impact women differently than men, but sex-based responses to medications are often overlooked. It wasn’t until the 1990s that women were even allowed to participate in clinical trials in the United States, and many studies are still done using a larger number of male participants.  

Despite this, women are twice as likely as men to be prescribed psychotropic medication (back to that overmedicating issue), and recent research shows that factors like different hormones, body composition, and metabolism can cause different drug-reactions. For example, the sleep medication Ambien was found to be twice as potent for women.  

Additionally, experts claim that women are “between 50 and 75 percent more likely to experience side effects”. An analysis of existing clinical trials published June 5, 2020, in the journal Biology of Sex Differences, authored by Prendergast and Irving Zucker of UC Berkley, they noted 86 drugs which presented “clear evidence of sex differences in how the body broke down the drug.” They found that “For nearly all of these drugs, women metabolized them more slowly than men, leading to higher levels of exposure to the drug; in 96% of cases, this resulted in significantly higher rates of adverse side effects in women.” 

Final thoughts 

To reiterate, because the foundation of modern medicine is structured around research performed almost exclusively on men, most of what science tells us about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of illness may not be applicable to women. With so much of our population feeling like they are not understood by healthcare professionals, it’s no surprise that a growing number of women are self-medicating with cannabis, psychedelics, and other natural, alternative solutions.

As we learn more about how psilocybin and other hallucinogens interact with female hormones, we can better understand how to use these incredible products to improve our health, and our lives.  

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From Beer to Psychedelics: Making Psilocybin From Yeast

Summary: Researchers are exploring the potential of yeast fermentation as a sustainable method for large-scale psilocybin production, a compound found in “magic mushrooms” that has shown promise in treating various mental health conditions.

Yeast Fermentation: A New Frontier in Psilocybin Production

The global mental health crisis has intensified the search for effective treatments, and psilocybin, a hallucinogenic compound in “magic mushrooms,” is emerging as a promising candidate. With the potential FDA approval of psychedelic medical treatments on the horizon, there’s a growing need for sustainable and large-scale production methods for psilocybin.

In a significant development from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability at the Technical University of Denmark in 2020, scientists successfully produced psilocybin using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a yeast commonly used in beer fermentation. This innovative method involves genetically engineering the yeast with genes from the Psilocybe cubensis mushroom. When fermented with sugar, tryptophan, and other nutrients, the yeast produces psilocybin.

A new way to treat depression

This approach is not only more environmentally friendly but also sidesteps the expensive and harmful by-products associated with the current synthetic production of psilocybin. However, this breakthrough also brings challenges. There are rising concerns about the potential misuse of this method for illicit homebrewed psilocybin, especially after researchers demonstrated psilocybin production using genetically modified E. coli bacteria in a homebrew setting in 2021.

This development underscores the importance of robust regulations to ensure that psilocybin production remains dedicated to medical research and treatment.

Source: HealthNews

And we would like to know what regulatory measures are essential to prevent the illicit homebrewing of psilocybin or, even better, shouldn’t we stop fighting the use of recreational drugs and start regulating them… Afterall, while using drugs carry risks, at the same time, they provide many benefits so a smart regulator sould rather control it, that create a black market by trying to stop it.

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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using a AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

The post From Beer to Psychedelics: Making Psilocybin From Yeast appeared first on Cannadelics.

Study: Psilocybin ‘Shows Promise’ As Treatment For Depression

A study by American Medical Association, published late last month, sought to measure the “efficacy and safety of psilocybin in patients with major depressive disorder” and to “evaluate the magnitude, timing, and durability of antidepressant effects and safety of a single dose of psilocybin in patients with [major depressive disorder].”

Researchers conducted a “a randomized, placebo-controlled, 6-week trial in 104 adults, a 25-mg dose of psilocybin administered with psychological support,” ultimately determining that the psilocybin treatment “was associated with a rapid and sustained antidepressant effect, measured as change in depressive symptom scores, compared with active placebo,” and that no “serious treatment-emergent adverse events occurred.”

“A 25-mg dose of psilocybin was well tolerated and may hold promise as a treatment for major depressive disorder when combined with psychological support,” the authors of the study wrote.

“Psilocybin shows promise as a treatment for major depressive disorder,” they added.

The authors said that the psilocybin treatment “was associated with significantly reduced” scores on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale, a measurement of the severity of depression, relative to those administered the niacin placebo. “Psilocybin treatment was also associated with significantly reduced Sheehan Disability Scale,” the authors wrote, referring to a clinical measurement of impairment. 

“More participants receiving psilocybin had sustained response (but not remission) than those receiving niacin,” the authors said.

“There were no serious treatment-emergent [adverse events]; however, psilocybin treatment was associated with a higher rate of overall [adverse events] and a higher rate of severe [adverse events].”

In their concluding analysis, the authors said that psilocybin treatment “was associated with a clinically significant sustained reduction in depressive symptoms and functional disability, without serious adverse events.”

“These findings add to increasing evidence that psilocybin—when administered with psychological support—may hold promise as a novel intervention for [major depressive disorder],” they said.

It is hardly the first piece of research to arrive at such a conclusion. Earlier this summer, a group of British researchers suggested that psilocybin is not only an effective treatment for those suffering from depression, but also an economical one

The researchers found that the cost of psilocybin-assisted therapy typically “varied from £6132 to £7652 depending on the price of psilocybin.”

“This compares to £3528 for conventional medication alone, £4250 for [cognitive behavioural therapy] alone, and £4197 for their combination. [Quality-adjusted life years] were highest for psilocybin (0.310), followed by [cognitive behavioural therapy] alone (0.283), conventional medication alone (0.278), and their combination (0.287),” the researchers said. “Psilocybin was shown to be cost-effective compared to the other therapies when the cost of therapist support was reduced by 50% and the psilocybin price was reduced from its initial value to £400 to £800 per person. From a societal perspective, psilocybin had improved cost-effectiveness compared to a healthcare perspective.”

A separate study released earlier this year found that psilocybin could also be beneficial for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The researchers behind that study conducted a “marble burying test” on a group of male mice.

“Twenty glass marbles were placed equidistant from each other in a 5 × 4 pattern. The experiment was done under dim light in a quiet room to reduce the influence of anxiety on behavior. The mice were left in the cage with the marbles for a 30-min period, after which the test was terminated by removing the mice,” the researchers said. “A marble was considered buried when two-thirds or more of its size was covered with burying substrate, and the number of buried marbles was counted after 30 min.”

“All mice underwent a pretest without any injection, and the number of marbles buried was counted. Only mice that buried at least 15 marbles were selected to perform the test after drug administration. Eighty percent of pretested mice fulfilled this criterion and were used in the definitive experiment, which took place at least a week following the pretest,” they added. 

The researchers determined that the mice that were ““administered psilocybin buried 32.84% fewer marbles over 30 min” than the other mice.

 In July, a group of doctors from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston announced that, starting next year, they will begin a study that examines “the effects of psilocybin for patients with controlled advanced cancer on maintenance therapy experiencing challenges with mental health.”

“Psychedelics, specifically psilocybin, have shown promise in treating various psychological symptoms including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and end-of-life distress,” the doctors wrote in the announcement. “Although a study focusing on gynecologic cancers has not yet been completed, the studies with mixed cancer diagnosis are encouraging.”

Those doctors said that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy “suggests lasting benefits from just one to two sessions, compared with the chronic use that is needed with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.”

The post Study: Psilocybin ‘Shows Promise’ As Treatment For Depression appeared first on High Times.

Are Magic Mushrooms the Cure for Aphantasia (Dream Deprivation)? 

Picture the greatest dream you’ve ever had. Flying over clouds? Running around naked in a land made out of candy? Lying on a beach with an unlimited supply of your favorite food? Well, imagine if you couldn’t dream. Whilst many of us will know the feeling of dreams becoming less frequent, the idea of not ever having one is quite extreme.

Well, this is the true story about a woman suffering from a condition that meant she hadn’t been able to dream for 34 years and decided to look for some answers. After taking part in a new study – using psilocybin – she was miraculously able to dream once again. But how is this possible? Are magic mushrooms a cure for aphantasia?

What are Dreams?

Every night, as the world plunges into darkness and slumber takes over, our minds embark on a remarkable journey. This journey is one that transcends the boundaries of reality, unleashing a cascade of images, emotions, and experiences that are both bewildering and captivating. These are dreams, the enigmatic tapestries woven within the realm of our unconscious minds. For centuries, dreams have intrigued, mystified, and inspired humans, prompting us to question what dreams actually are and what purpose they serve. Some call them: the theatre of the mind.

The Theatre of the Mind

Dreams are complex mental experiences that occur during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. They manifest as a collection of sensory perceptions, emotions, thoughts, and memories that create vivid, often surreal narratives. While dreams can vary widely in content and intensity, they often defy the laws of physics and logic, weaving scenarios that may seem nonsensical when juxtaposed with our waking reality. The origins of dreams can be traced to the intricate work of brain structures. The brain’s cortex, responsible for cognition and sensory processing, communicates with the limbic system, the emotional centre of the brain, during REM sleep. This interaction leads to the creation of dreamscapes that can evoke intense emotions, sometimes even more potent than those experienced during wakefulness.

Why do we Dream?

Throughout history, numerous theories have emerged to explain the purpose and significance of dreams. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, believed that dreams were windows into the unconscious mind, providing a means to understand suppressed desires and conflicts. His theory, which emphasised the symbolism and hidden meanings within dreams, laid the foundation for much of the modern understanding of dream analysis.

Be careful when describing one of your dreams to a Freud-lover – they might start creating some elaborate theory about what it all means. For instance, dreaming about losing your teeth is believed to be about grief or loss. Whether you believe in this or not, contemporary research in the field of neuroscience offers a more nuanced perspective.

The activation-synthesis theory, proposed by J. Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley, posits that dreams arise from the brain’s attempt to make sense of random neural activity during REM sleep. In essence, loads of random stuff jiggles about in our brains when we sleep, and our mind tries to create a sensical narrative from it. Another theory, written by NIH, states:

“An intriguing and detailed evolutionary theory of dreams… stipulates that the biological function of dreaming is to simulate threatening events and to rehearse threat avoidance behaviours.”

This is an interesting theory, as it gives dreams a genuine evolutionary purpose. Whereas the others seem to suggest that dreaming is simply a symptom of other things, or simply just a random collection of left over stuff. 

Dream Deprivation

Imagine trying to conjure an image in your mind’s eye – a beach at sunset, a loved one’s face, or even a simple geometric shape. For most people, this mental imagery is a natural and intuitive process, as they can effortlessly visualize these images in their mind. However, for individuals with aphantasia, this mental canvas remains blank, devoid of visual images. What is it like to not be able to dream? 


Aphantasia is a cognitive condition characterised by the inability to create vivid mental images or visualise objects, people, or scenes in one’s mind. People with aphantasia lack the ability to generate sensory experiences within their imagination, including both visual and auditory. The term ‘aphantasia’ was coined by neurologist Adam Zeman in 2015, and since then, it has garnered increasing attention within the fields of psychology and neuroscience. The term in Greek literally means: ‘without imagination’. Around 2-5% of the population suffer from this condition, and it tends to be more common in men than women. The woman that we’ll be discussing today recently described her experiences in the Metro:

“If someone tells me “imagine a castle”, I can only imagine a castle that I know, like Hogwarts, and it takes the form of descriptions I have read, not images.”

People suffering from aphantasia find it difficult to remember or plan routes when travelling, and can often get lost. There’s a bit of a spectrum with the condition – with some people having a complete absence of visual imagery, while others might possess a limited capacity to conjure faint, vague, or abstract images. At present, there is very little research into the cure for this condition. However, this year, there may have been an interesting breakthrough using magic mushrooms to cure dream deprivation. 

The Dream Study

A recent 2023 study investigated the effects that psilocybin – the psychoactive ingredient in magical mushrooms – would have on a woman who suffered from aphantasia. This woman was unable to see things in her mind’s eye. As much as she tried, she was unable to imagine anything basically. She could not picture it – only think of desriptions. However, after using magic mushrooms, this all changed. She was able to imagine and dream. She said:

​​‘I found it incredible because it was the first time I had images in my mind, and I realised that you can play with images, zoom in, zoom out, break down colours,’ 

The dream study proved that her perception of visual images had increased from a minimum to a maximum after taking the psychoactive substance. After this experience, the individual’s ability to to visualise thoughts became less colourful than when she experienced psilocybin, but her imagination and dreams were left at an average state. In a sense, she was cured.

Researchers are still struggling to understand exactly why the magic mushrooms were so effective in helping with her aphantasia, but they assume it’s something to do with the substance’s ability to alter perception. As it stands, this study was done on only one individual, so a lot more needs to be done before any conclusive evidence can be released. However, at present, it looks very promising. Could magic mushrooms really be the cure for people that cannot dream? 

Final Thoughts

Magic mushrooms have been used as a recreational substance to awaken the mind and alter perception for centuries. Anyone who has ever used this drug will know the power it has. But in recent years, scientists and academics have started to realise that these magic mushrooms have a bigger potential than just being used for recreational purposes. A CNN article writes:

“Let’s be adults about this. These are no longer ‘shrooms’. These are no longer party drugs for young people… Psilocybin mushrooms are non addictive, life-changing substances.”

When used responsibly, magic mushrooms can help people change their lives. When thinking of a mushroom trip – and all of the magic visual world’s that can arise – it is no surprise that this woman was able to cure her aphantasia. The colors, the sounds, the sensations, the emotions – these would have awoken her mind and perhaps unlocked it too. Drugs like magic mushrooms, LSD and MDMA need to be continued to be explored to see what else these substances can do for people’s various conditions. Like this specific case, the possibilities could be breathtaking. The world of medicine can be greatly benefited by an open approach to the world of recreational substances. 

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Single Dose of Psilocybin Reduces Depression Symptoms Up to 43 Days

Summary: A Phase 2 clinical trial has shown that a single dose of psilocybin, a psychedelic substance found in magic mushrooms, significantly reduced depression symptoms up to 43 days into the trial. The study, published in JAMA, involved 104 participants with documented diagnoses of moderate-to-severe major depressive disorder. Participants received either a 25 mg dose of psilocybin or a 100 mg dose of niacin (a placebo), along with psychological support. The psilocybin group experienced greater drops in depression severity scores than the placebo group at eight and 43 days, although they also reported more mild-to-moderate adverse events.

One Dose of Psychedelic Psilocybin Reduces Depression Symptoms Up To 43 Days

A recent Phase 2 clinical trial investigated the use of psilocybin, the psychedelic substance found in magic mushrooms, as a treatment for major depressive disorder. The study found that participants who received just one dose of psilocybin had significantly less severe depression symptoms than those receiving a placebo, up to 43 days into the trial. This study, published in JAMA, adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that psilocybin may be an effective treatment for depression.

Psilocybin is believed to work by binding and activating serotonin 2A (5-HT2A) receptors in the brain, which could help rewire the brain and increase its interconnectedness and flexibility. Previous studies have suggested that psilocybin might be an effective treatment for depression, but they involved small numbers of participants and did not show how long the beneficial effects might last.

The latest trial was conducted from December 2019 through June 2022 across 11 different sites in the U.S. It involved 104 participants, aged 21 to 65, with documented diagnoses of moderate-to-more severe major depressive disorder for at least 60 days. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a single 25 mg dose of psilocybin or a 100 mg dose of niacin (a placebo), along with psychological support. The study was double-blinded, meaning neither the study personnel nor the participants knew who was receiving what during the trial.

The researchers used the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) and the Sheehan Disability Scale to measure the severity of depression symptoms and their impact, respectively. Participants in the psilocybin group experienced greater drops in MADRS scores than those in the placebo group at the eight-day and 43-day marks. However, a higher percentage of participants in the psilocybin group (82%) reported at least one treatment-related adverse event, compared to 44% in the placebo group. Most of these were considered mild-to-moderate adverse events, although four participants in the psilocybin group reported serious adverse events, including a migraine, headache, illusions, panic attack, and paranoia.

The results of this trial are encouraging and suggest that psilocybin could potentially be an effective treatment for depression. However, more studies are needed to determine the safety and efficacy of psilocybin over longer periods and across broader populations. Existing depression medications have many potential drawbacks, including a range of side effects, so there is a real opportunity to break the mold when it comes to depression treatment.

Source: Forbes

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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using a AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

The post Single Dose of Psilocybin Reduces Depression Symptoms Up to 43 Days appeared first on Cannadelics.

Report: Despite Promises, Oregon’s Psilocybin Program Not Paying For Itself

According to Willamette Weekly, nearly three years after voters in the state approved a ballot measure to legalize it, “Oregon Psilocybin Services is nowhere near paying its own way,” despite promises from its backers that “Oregonians would get access to a life-changing compound in a safe, legal setting, and, after a two-year startup period, it wouldn’t cost taxpayers a dime.”

The outlet noted that advocates of the 2020 ballot proposal, Measure 109, asserted that the licensing fees paid “by mushroom growers, testing labs, trip facilitators and service centers would cover the costs of a new bureaucracy within the Oregon Health Authority.”

That has been far from the case.

“Fee revenue is anemic because too few people are seeking the various licenses (“Stuffed Mushrooms,” WW, May 24). Just four manufacturers, two testing labs, and eight service centers have been licensed. All three types of entities pay a one-time fee of $500 and then $10,000 a year to operate. Many more facilitators have been approved (88), but they pay only $150 up front and then $2,000 annually,” Willamette Weekly reported in a story published on Wednesday. 

“So far this year, Psilocybin Services has raised just $318,419 in fees, OHA says. That’s in line with estimates by WW. Tallying the number of permits issued and multiplying by all the fees, we came up with a total of $342,425 since the program began licensing participants on Jan. 2.”

“Backers of Measure 109 said the program would cost far more—$3.1 million a year—to run. To fill at least part of that gap, Oregon lawmakers appropriated $3.1 million from the taxpayer-supported general fund for the two-year period that started July 1. OHA is betting that shroom fee revenue will pick up as the biennium proceeds, making up the rest of the shortfall,” the outlet continued.

Measure 109 passed in 2020 by a fairly narrow vote, with 50% of Oregon voters approving and 44% voting against. It made Oregon the first state in the country to legalize psilocybin. 

In the spring, Oregon Psilocybin Services, a regulatory arm of the Oregon Health Authority, announced that it had awarded the state’s first license for a psilocybin service center in Eugene. 

Oregon Psilocybin Services (OPS) Section Manager Angie Allbee called it “a historic moment as psilocybin services will soon become available in Oregon, and we appreciate the strong commitment to client safety and access as service center doors prepare to open.” 

At the time of the announcement, Oregon Psilocybin Services offered a refresher on how the program will work.

“Under the statewide model, clients 21 years of age or older may access psilocybin services. While they won’t need prescriptions or referrals from healthcare providers, clients must first complete a preparation session with a licensed facilitator. If they meet the criteria to move forward, they may participate in an administration session at a licensed service center, where they may consume psilocybin products in the presence of a trained and licensed facilitator,” the agency explained. “Afterwards, clients may choose to join optional integration sessions, which offer opportunities to be connected to community resources and peer support networks for additional support. Once licensed, service centers can employ and/or contract with licensed facilitators who are trained in providing preparation, administration, and integration sessions to clients. Service centers will sell psilocybin products that were produced by licensed manufacturers and tested by licensed laboratories. To date, OPS has issued three manufacturer licenses, one laboratory license, five facilitator licenses, and 84 worker permits. OPS expects to issue more licenses and worker permits in the coming months.”

The state finalized the rules for the psilocybin program at the end of last year.

Albee and André Ourso, the administrator of the Center for Health Protection in Oregon, said at the time that Oregon Psilocybin Services “received over 200 written comments and six hours of comments shared in the public hearings during the November 2022 public comment period.”

“These comments helped to further refine and improve the rules, which have now been adopted as final. The final rules are a starting place for the nation’s first regulatory framework for psilocybin services, and we will continue to evaluate and evolve this work as we move into the future,” they said.

In response to this week’s report by Willamette Weekly, Oregon Health Authority spokesman Afiq Hisham urged patience.

“It takes time to build a new section in state government and to become 100% fee-based, specifically because ORS 475A is the nation’s first regulatory framework for psilocybin services and required an intensive two-year development period,” Hisham told Willamette Weekly.

The post Report: Despite Promises, Oregon’s Psilocybin Program Not Paying For Itself appeared first on High Times.

Researchers Explore Psilocybin’s Antidepressant Effects, How it Disrupts Brain Connectivity

In a recently published preprint study, entitled “Psilocybin desynchronizes brain networks,” researchers analyze the comparison between psilocybin and the default mode network (DMN) of the brain.

“Psilocybin-driven desynchronization was observed across [the] association cortex but strongest in the default mode network (DMN), which is connected to the anterior hippocampus and thought to create our sense of self,” researchers explained.

According to the study, the largest areas of the DMN that were affected by psilocybin in the patients included the thalamus, basal ganglia, cerebellum, and hippocampus. “Persistent suppression of hippocampal-DMN connectivity represents a candidate neuroanatomical and mechanistic correlate for pro-plasticity and anti-depressant effects of psilocybin,” researchers wrote in their abstract.

The study is in the preprint stage of research publication, meaning that it has not yet been peer reviewed, which is required before it can be considered for publication in a research journal. However, using a publication service like medRxiv, research that is not yet peer-reviewed can still be shared and discussed.

However, the team of researchers includes a variety of noteworthy individuals from Washington University School of Medicine, as well as Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Advocate Aurora Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Professor Robin Cahart-Harris of UCSF previously worked on a groundbreaking study that was published last year.

The most recent study analyzed results from seven adults between the ages of 18 and 45, recruited for study between March 2021 to May 2023. Participants were carefully selected with the criteria that they have experienced at least one psychedelic exposure (such as psilocybin, or other substances such as ayahuasca or LSD), but had not had such an experience within the past six months.

Participants were scanned “roughly” every other day in the neuroimaging department at Washington University Medical Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Researchers scanned participants’ brains using precision functional mapping to “identify desynchronization of resting state fMRIs” and find connections to depression-related areas of the brain.

“The relationship between the acute effects of psychedelics and their persisting neurobiological and psychological effects is poorly understood,” researchers explained. “Here, we tracked brain changes with longitudinal precision functional mapping in healthy adults before, during, and for up to three weeks after oral psilocybin and methylphenidate (17 MRI visits per participant) and again six+ months later.”

Methylphenidate is more commonly known as Ritalin and is an FDA-approved stimulant used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.

These results show that psilocybin “disrupted connectivity across cortical networks and subcortical structures” and produced more noticeable changes than methylphenidate. Additionally, researchers noted that the changes led to brain activity desynchronization of various special scales in the brain.

In April 2022, a collaborative study between the Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research and University of California, San Francisco, found that psilocybin helps patients with depression “open up” their brains weeks after consuming. “The effect seen with psilocybin is consistent across two studies, related to people getting better, and was not seen with a conventional antidepressant,” said Carhart-Harris last year. “In previous studies we had seen a similar effect in the brain when people were scanned whilst on a psychedelic, but here we’re seeing it weeks after treatment for depression, which suggests a ‘carry over’ of the acute drug action.”

At the time, Cahart-Harris noted that more research is necessary to better understand how psilocybin affects the brain. “We don’t yet know how long the changes in brain activity seen with psilocybin therapy last and we need to do more research to understand this,” Cahart-Harris said. “We do know that some people relapse, and it may be that after a while their brains revert to the rigid patterns of activity we see in depression.”

Previous psilocybin studies also reveal many other potential benefits of the substance for medical use. In 2015 we saw reports of how psilocybin helped some patients curb alcoholism, and in 2016 another study found that psilocybin could help smokers address nicotine addiction. Most recently, the Imperial College of London is using U.K. government funding this fall to study psilocybin therapy as a way to treat gambling addiction.

Studies analyzing the effects of psilocybin on people with depression have increased over the years, finding correlations between the substance and treatment-resistant depression, major depressive disorder, and more.

The past couple of years have yielded progress in some areas of the U.S. such as Oregon. The state’s psilocybin therapy program laws took effect in January, and its first psilocybin service center was approved in May. “This is such a historic moment as psilocybin services will soon become available in Oregon, and we appreciate the strong commitment to client safety and access as service center doors prepare to open,” said Oregon Psilocybin Services Section Manager Angie Allbee.

This shift in acceptance of psilocybin, like cannabis, has caused an increase in normalcy for people who have tried the substance. Last year, Canadian Senator Larry Campbell spoke at the Catalyst Psychedelics Summit about how he personally uses psilocybin for depression. Former NHL Kyle Quincey, who has shared that he used psilocybin to help boost his mental health during the pandemic, announced in August that he plans to open up a psilocybin retreat called Do Good Ranch.

The post Researchers Explore Psilocybin’s Antidepressant Effects, How it Disrupts Brain Connectivity appeared first on High Times.

NHL’s Kyle Quincey To Open Psilocybin Retreat

Former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Kyle Quincey found that psilocybin helped him with his battle with mental health during the pandemic, and he was to share that experience with others in the form of a retreat.

The pandemic amplified mental health disorders for people from all backgrounds. Amid the psychedelic renaissance, more are turning to psilocybin and other alternative therapies. Quincey also learned about how it can rewire the brain in ways that traditional medicine cannot. Colorado is one of the states leading the way in psilocybin reform, making it the perfect destination for such a retreat.

The Denver Post reports that in order to help others struggling with their mental health he’s in the process of building his retreat center on Colorado’s Western Slope, called Do Good Ranch. There, his team aims to provide psilocybin-assisted therapy for people with traumatic brain injury (TBI), addiction, anxiety, and depression.

He stressed that set and setting is important when you’re dealing with something as powerful as psilocybin.

“If we can create a process with our team that we’re building and be able to replicate that all over the country, we can provide help for way more people,” Quincey said. “Because there are millions of people who need this, and they need it in the right set and setting with the right team and the right intentions.”

Quincey plans to connect with both veterans organizations as well as former athletes.

“All of us in these industries, it’s very high stress. We trained our bodies, we never trained our minds,” he said during the panel. “Right now, these guys have fought for our country, but cannot heal in our country. They have to go to Mexico, Peru, and Jamaica. It’s ridiculous. So we’re trying to be the answer to that.”

Quincey’s Relationship with Psilocybin 

Numerous concussions sustained in the high-impact sport of hockey eventually takes its toll on players including Quincey.

“I ended my career in Finland. I came home, I’ve had 20 concussions. I had massive mood swings, from pure euphoria to suicidal thoughts,” Quincey said during a panel at the 43rd Telluride Mushroom Festival in August. “On almost my year anniversary of retiring, my youngest son was diagnosed with brain cancer. And COVID hit the same week.”

Each year, the Telluride Mushroom Festival features presentations on “all things fungi.” The festivities include mushroom identification sessions, hands-on demonstrations, and lectures led by regionally-, nationally-, and internationally-known experts. It culminates in a parade through town.

After finding success with psilocybin, Quincey partnered with Jeremy Widmann, a Boulder, Colorado-based biochemist who’s involved with a CBD company Boulder Hemp. The company sells things like full-spectrum CBD tinctures. They also sell feminized seeds and seedlings. Together they purchased a property to be the future location of Do Good Ranch.

“The mission there is to create a sanctuary and safe place for veterans, first responders, athletes and all warriors that are willing to do the work to heal themselves,” Quincey said during the panel.

Colorado voters approved legislation to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy last November, allowing healing centers like Do Good Ranch to exist. The retreat center is currently under construction in Paonia in anticipation of Colorado’s legal psilocybin-assisted treatment market rolling out in 2025. Public records show it as being 280 acres in Crawford, just outside of Paonia.

Psilocybin-assisted treatment is a frequent discussion topic for Quincey. In a 2022 episode of the “Life After Fame” podcast, Quincey said he was also growing functional mushrooms for a company he backed called Just Beat It, selling supplements made with antioxidants, hemp, and fungi such as cordyceps.

Former Philadelphia Flyer Riley Cote is also vocal about his support of psychedelics. Cote found success using psilocybin mushrooms at legal psychedelic-assisted therapy ceremonies in Jamaica. It’s one of the main topics of a episode of ESPN’s E:60 called “Peace of Mind” that is available for on-demand streaming on ESPN+.  

Psilocybin’s Potential for Treating Mental Health

Researchers found that psilocybin causes ‘significant reduction’ in symptoms of depression, a largest of its kind study shows.

At the American Psychiatric Association (APA) 2022 Annual Meeting that began on May 21 in New Orleans, Louisiana, COMPASS Pathways unveiled the “largest randomized, controlled, double-blind study of psilocybin therapy ever completed,” according to a May 24 press release, and the data shows “significant” improvements to treatment-resistant depression (TRD) symptoms.

Researchers associated with Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine said that psilocybin is being studied for its efficacy in treating neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. The aforementioned studies are focusing on its ability to treat depression and quality of life. In animal models, psilocybin shows promise in improving neuroplasticity, forming new neural connections, but human studies are needed.

The post NHL’s Kyle Quincey To Open Psilocybin Retreat appeared first on High Times.

Why Do Magic Mushrooms Turn Blue? 

Mushrooms are pretty common. As a matter of fact, there are over 14,000 identified species so far. That’s a lot to sort through, and it can be hard to know what’s safe, poisonous, or magical. One way to tell magic mushrooms from their counterparts and imposters is that they often turn blue when picked or bruised. But what exactly is the science behind this strange occurrence? It’s a mystery that has puzzled researchers for decades, but a few years ago, a team of German scientists seemed to have stumbled on the answer.  

All about magic mushrooms

Magic mushrooms belong to a group of fungi containing the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin (and/or trace amounts of psilocin). For the sake of simplicity, and because amanitas are not subject to bluing, we’ll be leaving them out of today’s discussion. Psilocybin mushrooms are similar to other hallucinogens like LSD and DMT, in that they all attach to serotonin receptors to create a psychoactive response. Some examples of popular magic mushrooms include: Panaeolus, Conocybe, and Psilocybe – the most well-known.  

While different hallucinogens are known for causing different reactions, or trips, there are some underlying similarities with all of them such as: visual, sensory, and auditory hallucinations, feelings of spirituality, euphoria, connectedness, introspection, and overall well-being, experiencing mystical and otherworldly encounters.  

Although all magic mushrooms contain psilocybin, their potency varies and is based on the level of active compounds in each strain. What’s great about mushrooms in comparison to other hallucinogens, is that you can really customize your dose from a microdose of 0.1 to 0.3 grams, all the way to what’s known as a heroic dose which is typically 5 grams or more in one sitting.  

Like all other psychedelics, the active compounds in mushrooms are listed as Schedule 1 narcotics in the DEA’s list of controlled substances. Although both psilocybin and psilocin are listed, it’s worth noting that psilocybin is the real active compound in these mushrooms. To feel the effects of the psilocybin, our bodies convert it to psilocin, which also exists in trace amounts in shrooms.  

There are some loopholes when it comes to the legality of mushroom related products, such as the spores used to grow them. Those are federally legal because only the fruiting bodies contain psilocybin, the spores do not. Interestingly, mushrooms are also not scheduled in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, nor on the Convention of Psychotropic Substances. This was confirmed in 2001 when the INCB’s Secretary of the Board made the following statement to the Dutch Ministry of Health:  

“As a matter of international law, no plants (natural material) containing psilocine (psilocin) and psilocybin are at present controlled under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. Consequently, preparations made of these plants are not under international control and, therefore, not subject of the articles of the 1971 Convention.” 

The connection between psilocybin and bluing  

Psilocybin with blue coloration on the stems

One of the most notable physical characteristics of psilocybin mushrooms is the blue hue they get when they get cut or bruised in some way. Aside from being indicative of the mushroom containing psilocybin, for decades mycologists struggled to figure out the root cause of the bluing. In 1967, a research team from Ithaca, New York, had a minor breakthrough when they observed the same bluing reaction in rat brain cells treated with psilocin. They claimed that oxidation of the compound is what caused the reaction.  

Again, psilocin is a minor compound in mushrooms. It’s an unstable molecule that breaks down very quickly, whereas psilocybin is more stable and resilient. Researchers suspected that the compounds vulnerability to the elements was the reason behind the color change, and in 2019, a German pharmaceutical microbiologist and his colleagues were able to prove it.  

According to Hoffmeister, picking, cutting, or damaging the mushrooms in even the slightest way can trigger a chemical reaction that activates two different enzymes in the mushroom, PsiP and PsiL. When a mushroom is mishandled, the PsiP enzyme converts psilocybin to psilocin within the mushroom, similar to how the enzymes in the human liver do. Shortly after, the second enzyme, PsiL oxidizes the psilocin, causing it to become unstable and convert into inactive compounds.  

A summary of this study published by Nature explains that “this action forces individual psilocin molecules to fuse into pairs, trios, and larger groupings; and these psilocin conglomerates appear blue to the human eye because the new chemical structures reflect blue light.” 

This phenomenon has been observed elsewhere in nature, like butterflies and bluebirds for example, whose wings and feathers don’t actually contain blue pigment, but rather the blue is created by the process of diffraction of light as it passes through the structures of their wings.  

Are blue mushrooms more potent? 

This is a common misconception, but no. Although blue bruising is a tell-tale indicator that the mushroom contains psilocybin, the connection pretty much ends there. As a matter of fact, mushrooms become less potent the more the bruise because the psilocybin is eventually converted into inactive compounds, so it’s important to handle and harvest your shrooms very carefully.

Any amount of psilocybin can create the blue bruising, so that has nothing to do with potency. Even when looking at mycelium, which is the vegetative part of the magic mushroom that consists of a network of thread-like hyphae structures. Although it’s not commonly thought of as being psychoactive, it does contain some psilocybin and also experiences the bluing reaction when bothered.  

Final thoughts

The cause of the bluing reaction in magic mushrooms has long evaded mycologists and shroom enthusiasts, but thanks to a team of researchers from Germany, we now have an answer. Not only do we know why magic mushrooms turn blue when bruised, but we now know that magic mushrooms with too much blue are likely less potent than their gently handled counterparts.

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