Psilocybin Formulations for Treating Anxiety

Psilocybin Formulations for Treating Anxiety

Many people suffering from anxiety would benefit from access to psilocybin.  Anecdotal reports suggest that it could be a safe and effective option for treating many forms of anxiety including general anxiety, social anxiety, and post-traumatic stress, etc. Research at John’s Hopkins and New York University indicates that psilocybin shows promise for alleviating end-of-life anxiety in small groups of study participants.

Presently, doctors do not have sufficient scientific support for recommending psilocybin based treatments.  Understandably, doctors require reliable scientific support for their medical decisions.  When recommending a drug, doctors need a scientific study demonstrating that administering a known amount of that specific drug leads to a predictable effect.

The inherent variability in magic mushrooms makes it impossible for doctors to recommend them to patients suffering from anxiety.  Presently, doctors are unable to connect (A) an available option to (B) a scientific study supporting that specific option.  A doctor cannot responsibly recommend “magic mushrooms” to a patient because that doctor is uncertain about the chemical composition of those mushrooms.  See Mushrooms versus Molecules.

Scientific studies demonstrate the effects of psilocybin — NOT MUSHROOMS — on brain activity.

Using psilocybin formulations would eliminate the problems mentioned above.  Scientists could study the safety and efficacy of specific psilocybin based formulations.  Based on those studies, doctors could recommend specific formulations, relying on the data pertaining to those exact formulations.  As a result, more people suffering from anxiety could benefit from psilocybin based treatments.  

State of the Art – Psilocybin for Treating Anxiety

Today, a small population of people suffering from anxiety is able to find relief by consuming magic mushrooms. These people administer the drug by consuming some form of mushrooms such as fresh, dried, or preparations thereof. The practice of “microdosing” is gaining popularity for people seeking cognitive benefits without experiencing the psychedelic effects attributed to higher doses.

Inherent variability in the chemical composition of magic mushrooms makes it impossible to predict the dose administered.

For many people, the variables associated with consuming mushrooms limit access to psilocybin as a treatment option.  Understandably, most people are hesitant to pursue treatment options without their doctor’s recommendation.  Arguably, anxious people would be especially hesitant.  Doctors are unlikely to recommend a treatment option without scientific studies supporting its safety and efficacy.  The inherent variability in “magic mushrooms” makes it impossible to attribute a particular effect (i.e., alleviating symptoms of anxiety) to a specific treatment (i.e., consuming a particular amount of known molecules).

Variability in the active ingredients is also a significant concern for people willing to pursue treatment options without their doctor’s assistance.  People taking psilocybin must be willing to accept unpredictable and variable results. Nevertheless, for many people, the benefits of taking psilocybin appear to outweigh the uncertainty associated with consuming magic mushrooms.  (Because, again, psilocybin appears to be miraculously good at treating mood disorders).

Formulated Psilocybin Products for Treating Anxiety

Psilocybin is one molecule present in magic mushrooms. In its pure form, psilocybin is a white crystalline compound. In mushrooms, it is present in variable concentrations around 1%.

Psilocybin formulations would make it possible to study how a specific amount of a particular molecule (psilocybin) affects a person’s symptoms (e.g., sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, etc.).  Those scientific studies would make it possible for doctors to trust psilocybin as a treatment for anxiety.  Doctors could advise patients to take known amounts of known molecules based on data connecting that treatment to a particular benefit.

Aren’t natural psilocybin mushrooms good enough?  Why do we need formulations?

Mushrooms are great.  Nature is great.  There are unquestionable benefits to consuming many foods and medicines in their natural form.  Consuming mushrooms can be a highly effective way of administering psilocybin. But, this method only serves a fraction of the people needing help. 

  • Many people go to their doctor for assistance diagnosing and treating their symptoms of anxiety.
  • Most physicians are hesitant to recommend a medicine without understanding both (1) the chemical composition of the medicine and (2) the dosing information.  From the doctor’s standpoint: (1) What am I giving this patient; (2) How much am I giving them?
  • As a result, many people suffering from anxiety are never informed that psilocybin could provide a safe, natural, fast-acting treatment.  Even those knowing about psilocybin’s potential are unlikely to pursue it without their doctor’s recommendation.

Unmet Need for Psilocybin Formulations for Treating Anxiety

Precisely dosed psilocybin formulations would overcome concerns about variability in chemical composition.  Formulating psilocybin into known dosage formulations would allow doctors to recommend a treatment regimen based on research supporting that particular regimen. Earning the support of doctors would make psilocybin more accessible to people suffering from anxiety because many patients rely on the advice or their doctor when choosing a treatment option.  

Properly studying, formulating, and dosing psilocybin and its derivatives would provide significant benefits in treating mood and neurological disorders, such as depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and/or an anxiety disorder.

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2 thoughts on “Psilocybin Formulations for Treating Anxiety

  1. Daniel Houghlan

    Didn’t we study this with LSD back in the 50s, 60s or before them times

    • Staff Scientist Post author

      Could you define “study”?
      Here we would note that LSD is a different drug compared to psilocybin (and psilocybin derivatives).
      Technically, we have been using/studying psilocybin for several millennia.

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