What is Psilocybin?
March 03, 2020
by: Psilo
There were two drugs that were designated as “breakthrough therapy” status last year. The first was a drug called psilocybin and the FDA said it was likely safer and more effective at treating Major Depressive Disorder than any other drug on the market.

The second drug was also psilocybin and the FDA said it was likely safer and more effective at treating Treatment Resistant Depression.  Psilocybin will be used in Phase III Clinical Trials this year and the outcome will likely impact over 300,000 Tennesseans who suffer from depression.

What is psilocybin?

Psilocybin is a compound found in over 200 mushroom species worldwide.  It is also listed as a Schedule I drug by the Tennessee General Assembly. This means that simple possession of psilocybin could result in mandatory prison sentences as well as criminal and civil penalties. It is also, paradoxically, designated as a “breakthrough therapy” by Donald Trump’s U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

What does the FDA say about psilocybin?

Donald Trump’s FDA designated psilocybin as a “breakthrough therapy” for its treatment of Major Depression Disorder and Treatment Resistant Depression in 2019.  Under this designation, the FDA acknowledges the medical applications of psilocybin to treat depression. Additionally, researchers have proven that psilocybin is far more effective and much safer than other medications currently on the market designed to treat depression.

Researchers are conducting phase III clinical trials with a large demographic of patients.  These clinical trials will conclude in 2020 with many expecting psilocybin assisted therapy to be expanded to treat alcohol addiction, tobacco addiction, end of life anxiety, body dysmorphia and possibly Alzheimer’s Disease.

Relationship between psilocybin and Tennesseans?

Tennesseans have the 2nd highest rates of depression in the United States.  Psilocybin treatment could ease the suffering of 100’s of thousands of people suffering from depression.  The ramifications of such treatments would go beyond the individual and create better home lifes and more productive workers.

However, psilocybin is listed as a schedule I drug in Tennessee.  This means that simple possession of any of the 200 mushroom species could lead to thousands of dollars in penalties as well as prison time.  Even after the FDA approves psilocybin in clinical settings, the scheduling could remain the same in Tennessee and create limited and disproportionate access.

What can be done?

Perhaps the most immediate need is to compel the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Substance Abuse Services of Tennessee to testify about three things: 1) the FDA psilocybin trials 2) depression statistics throughout Tennessee and 3) how the results of the clinical trials will impact Tennesseans. 

What is likely needed beyond these testimonies is for the Tennessee General Assembly to comply with its own guidelines and remove psilocybin from the list of Schedule I drugs.

You can join Psilo to learn more and to join us in our quest for common sense psilocybin scheduling.


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