Taking Pure Psilocybin is Different from Eating Magic Mushrooms

The Independent recently published an article about how “Eating magic mushrooms can treat depression.”  According to the article, “[t]he drug ‘resets’ the brain circuits to immediately improve moods.”

According to Andrew Griffin at the Independent, “[s]cientists got special permission to give the mushrooms to 19 people.”  This statement my not be 100% accurate.  According to the journal Scientific Reports, patients with treatment-resistant depression were given a 10mg and 25mg doses of psilocybin seven days apart.

This information about dosing raises an important point. Psilocybin mushrooms often vary greatly in terms of the composition and concentration of active ingredients.  Here, the study dosed participants with 100% psilocybin — NOT mushrooms.  Mushrooms contain a variety of different psychoactive molecules, including several psilocybin derivatives (like psilocin) and also phenylethylamines and other molecules.

psilocybe cyanescens is a species of mushroom known to contain psilocybin and psilocin.

Progress in the psilocybin space will require distinguishing “the mushrooms” from each of the active ingredients found in them.  First, those active ingredients probably interact with each other, providing effects different from administering them individually in their isolated and purified form.  Second, the concentration of active ingredients (e.g, psilocybin and/or psilocin) varies from mushroom to mushroom, whereas the study involves dosing people with precise quantities of one compound.