Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Group 3 : Shroom Science

The case McGee provided for us highlighted the question as to whether or not we might see an emergence of hallucinogenic drugs such as Psilocybin - to an extent comparable with that of say Ritalin, due to its reported ability to cure headaches. Our group very quickly descended upon tautology, shrugging our shoulders as if bamboozled not by the question itself, but its tone of urgency or perhaps lack of insight, saying "if it works, then it works!"

The implications of that may be less open to the idea of magic mushrooms as anything more than a recreational drug than they sound, as they don't really -work- like Ritalin does. Perhaps in a society where there was a greater focus on aesthetic beauty and intrigue rather than critical thinking and industriousness, Psilocybin and LSD might be useful, but in today's society they render the user useless for between six and fourteen hours at the minimum effective dose. While it's true that Ritalin is much more addictive than either of these very illegal narcotics, Ritalin accomplishes the specific task of disciplining rambunctious children so that their parents can do whatever they thought was more important than raising their children, and there is a legal market for that which exists because the drug carries with it a lack of foreseeable harm to the user, provided it is used as prescribed. Psilocybin is a naturally occurring poison in mushrooms that naturally grow on fecal matter, and has an element of foreseeable harm to the user.

The article mentions that Psilocybin has been reported to cure some migraines. Some headache medicines have some pretty potent side effects, but if there were any medication that caused its users to experience hallucinations for several hours that may or may not permanently alter their life on an emotional and psychological level, it would not be on the market for very long.

However, there are medications that exist in the word (not in the United States) like Ibogaine, which is a very powerful psychedelic used to cure opiate addictions. The effect is an extremely potent three-day quest of introspection and overwhelming Dadaism that would scare away most recreational users - but to a heroin addict, the tradeoff might be worth a shot at kicking the habit for good. Weighing those kinds of side effects with a more ambitious goal for the active ingredient makes the proposal far more reasonable, and likely to be taken seriously by the medical field.


  1. I agree that the possible medical issues Psilocybin has of curing aren't worth the other side effects that comes along with it. There's no point fooling around with as unpredictable and potent drugs as Psilocybin unless, like in the Ibogaine example, its possibilites include curing something as harmful as a heroin addiction. However...how can we truly know what something like Psilocybin can possibly treat without experimenting with it? It's one big messy circle.

    Oh, and here's an Eminem throwback, just for laughs:

  2. As with an substance with a prospect in medicine, Psilocybin should be extensively researched, so that these potential side effects can become understood. This is why the article seemed to lack a significant question for me. Is the "controversy" only a result of social stigma? If so, I would say it is a manufactured controversy at best.

  3. It seemed that our main issue with the testing of psilocybin broke down to: are the side effects worth curing your migraines. Because of the social stigma about drugs and hallucinations I can understand why most people would be against prescribing mushrooms to everyone with migraines. But what if we could get the benefits without the side effects? Here is an article about LSD experimentation with cluster headaches. http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2011/06/lsd-alleviates-suicide-headaches.html
    They have essentially added a Bromide or something of that nature on to the molecular structure of LSD, this inhibits the patient from having hallucinations while still maintaining its effectivness on preventing cluster headaches.