The Therapeutic Potential of Magic Mushrooms
According to the World Health Organization, phantom limb pain is experienced by 50% to 80% of the more than 40 million amputees in the world, the largest group being military veterans. Thanks to a grant of over a million dollars, the Psychedelics and Health Research Initiative at UC San Diego will be studying psilocybin, a psychedelic compound produced by fungi such as “magic mushrooms," as a potential treatment for phantom limb pain. In addition to determining psilocybin’s safety and efficacy, the study should shed light on the brain’s mechanisms involved in phantom limb pain, and how to alter them.
Timothy Furnish, MD, clinical professor of anesthesiology at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a co-principal investigator in the trial, commented, “The therapeutic potential of psilocybin is unique among pharmaceutical agents that are used as analgesics. Psilocybin has the potential to ‘reset’ altered cortical brain circuits associated with certain chronic pain conditions.” Because psilocybin may rewire or reset pain circuits, it can work on an extended basis. Studies will show if “extended” equals days or weeks, or possibly even qualify as a cure.
Read the press release.
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