Essay on Medical Use of Psilocybin

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During a visit to Mexico, Gordon Wasson, a mycologist, discovered the use of psilocybin mushroom in spiritual ceremonies by Indian tribes. Upon experiencing the spiritual and hallucinatory effects of the mushroom, Wasson returned to the area accompanied by an experienced mycologist, Roger Heim, who managed to cultivate the mushroom once in France and send samples of it to the scientist who had discovered lysergic acid, Albert Hoffman. From the mushrooms, Hoffman successfully isolated two compounds which he further named psilocybin and psilocin. Analogs of these compounds were further synthesized and were employed mainly for psychotherapeutic uses. Many tests on psilocybin were made at Harvard University in the early 1960’s. However, along with LSD, psilocybin became a scheduled substance in 1970, making it illegal. During this time, psilocybin mushrooms became a part of the psychedelic and hippy movement and were used for recreational and spiritual purposes. Research on psilocybin ended in the late 1980’s because of strict rules imposed by the government but recently scientist have started researching on this chemical once more.

Chemical Structure
Psilocybin’s chemical structure is C12 H17 N2 O4 P. It has a ring configuration by the name of indole attached to an ethyl amine substituent. Indole’s are aromatic compounds that have a benzene ring attached to a pyrrole ring containing nitrogen. Psilocybin’s chemical structure is derived from an amino acid and tryptamine called trypthophan. It also has a visible structural resemblance with serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for “happiness”. Psilocybin is very soluble in water, insoluble in organic compounds and slightly soluble in methanol and ethanol. This due to the ...

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...ects, which in my opinion shows that its introduction into society (decriminalization) could benefit the community in many aspects (such as volunteering for a good cause) due to the increased sensibility that one may develop in regards to the society/others. I find that society has been misinformed about this chemical, seeing it solemnly as dangerous substance and classifying it along with physically harmful and potentially deadly substances such as heroin and cocaine. Not only is psilocybin non-lethal, but its potential for abuse is lower than that of caffeine. To summarize and conclude, I find that used responsibly, psilocybin along with other entheogens can be beneficial for one’s mental health and that more light needs to be shed on its benefits to allow society to see it in a different angle rather than what is propagated through the media about it today.

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