• Fungus Among Us

      Hilty, Christopher; Kitabwalla, Fatema; Pandey, Abhi; Bhatti, Saira; Sigler, Danni; Farkas, Daniel (2021-05)
      Everyone knows that drugs are bad for you. That’s why they’re illegal, right? This outdated idea is facing increased scrutiny, as we’ve already begun to see the prohibition and regulation of some of these substances being reexamined. For example, marijuana is federally recognized as a Schedule 1 drug, a classification that implies it has a high abuse potential and no recognized medicinal value. However, this classification has been challenged by many recent studies that have shown its potential as a treatment option for various conditions ranging from mild nausea to debilitating epilepsy [1]. Another drug in this Schedule 1 category is psilocybin, which was once considered a revolutionary tool in psychotherapy. This drug isn’t some modern creation synthesized in a lab, it’s a naturally occurring substance found in certain species of mushrooms . The ritual consumption of these mushrooms dates back thousands of years in Mexico, where it had been used for both medicinal and spiritual purposes [2]. In the late 1950’s, isolation of the psy choactive psilocybin molecule allowed scientists to evaluate its potential as a treatment option for various mood disorders and alcoholism [3]. However, as the war on drugs ramped up, funding for these studies dried out. After a hiatus that spanned multiple decades, research on this promising molecule is finally resuming. Recent studies indicate that psilocybin can be a powerful treat ment option for various ailments such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), addiction, and depression. Its ability to produce a “mystical-type experience” is thought to be correlated with its effectiveness, though the cause of this experience is still under investigation [4]. Despite the uncertainty surrounding this phenomenon, the positive therapeutic results of the drug offer hope for a new tool to fight the rising mental health issues and addic tion epidemics that lurk below the surface of our society.