Need for Better Psilocybin Formulations

Ongoing research indicates that the chemical compound psilocybin is useful for treating mood disorders, including depression, anxiety, compulsive disorders, and addiction. This molecule also shows promise in treating certain types of pain, such as cluster headaches.

Although psilocybin shows great potential as a useful therapeutic molecule, very little progress has been made in formulating psilocybin into useful therapeutic products.  

Need for Better psilocybin formulations

Because of psilocybin’s categorization as a Schedule I Controlled Substance, very little progress has been made in formulating this molecule into useful products.  Most users of psilocybin consume it by eating mushrooms.  Relying on mushrooms as a source of therapeutic compounds poses two problems.  First, identifying psilocybin mushrooms can be difficult for people not trained in mycology.  Second, even properly identified mushrooms can vary in terms of the concentrations of active molecules present.  Formulating precise quantities of pure psilocybin and/or derivatives into capsules, tablets, pills, or liquid forms would eliminate unnecessary problems arising from eating mushrooms.

Desired Ingredients Without Contaminants

Formulating the active components in “magic mushrooms” into reliable dosage forms would allow users to know exactly what they are taking.

Formulated products would provide the desired active ingredients without any undesired compounds.

Undesired compounds could include poisons contained in lookalike mushrooms. Undesired compounds could also include food borne pathogens, such as bacteria or mold.

Formulations with Precise doses of Active Ingredients

Formulating psilocybin products would provide access to precise dosage forms.  The currently accepted method of taking psilocybin (eating mushrooms) does not allow the user much control over the dose.  Although a user can carefully measure the mass of mushrooms ingested, they have little or no idea about the concentration of active ingredients present in those mushrooms.  As a result, the current methods for administering psilocybin fail to provide reliable dosing, which makes the resulting effects both inconsistent and unreliable.

Formulated combination products

The state of the art currently considers psilocin to be the principle active ingredient in magic mushrooms.  Because psilocin is unstable, it is administered indirectly, by giving a subject psilocybin, which rapidly converts into psilocin upon ingestion.

The Future of Psilocybin Technology

The path to better psilocybin products will begin by treating magic mushrooms as collections of magic molecules.  Even in the most potent “magic” mushrooms, psilocybin is only present in about 1-2% by mass. This means that 98-99% of that mushroom is composed of other molecules.  While many of those molecules may have no therapeutic value, some of them are pharmacologically active — either taken alone or in synergy with known psilocybin derivatives.

In order to figure out how psilocybin derivatives work, researchers will need to begin by isolating all of the potentially “magic” molecules from the mushrooms.   Then, once researchers can account the chemical composition of the mushrooms, they can begin studying how those molecules work — both alone and in combination with other molecules.

As evidenced by the prevalence of “magic mushroom” language, psilocybin technology is presently viewed from a mycologist’s perspective.  That perspective is essential to cultivating and/or identifying mushrooms that provide psilocybin and it’s derivatives.  However, future advances in this area will require looking at these mushrooms in greater detail — from a chemical perspective.