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Big Pharma may need to watch its back, as England establishes the world’s first center for psychedelic research.

While the center was put together in 2019, at the prestigious Imperial College London, it’s not the first time that psychedelics have strongly threatened the stronghold that pharmaceutical companies have on global mental health. Nor is it likely to be the last, particularly with the impending mental health crisis that many experts are warning about following the devastation of COVID-19.

Individuals and medical providers worldwide have long been on the hunt for the new “silver bullet” in mental healthcare, especially as the number of sufferers continue to mount over time. Many of which rarely find the relief they’re looking for in traditional medication schemes. In an Independent article discussing the new center, the leading doctor said that most users of traditional antidepressants feel “blunted”, corroborating the stories of many that suggest traditional meds do little to change their state of being. Instead, most antidepressants seem to leave patients feeling more of nothing. Which is a logical curveball to anyone who has ever suffered from depression. 

This, coupled closely with the fact that many traditional antidepressants come with a long list of disturbing and even horrifying side effects, has professionals and victims alike searching for better options.

Microdosing Psilocybin vs Traditional Antidepressants

Psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms, has shown itself to be a genuine contender when it comes to the fight for better treatment options. Once broken down into psilocin, the naturally occurring compound comes to closely resemble serotonin, a common neurotransmitter that’s thought to be related to self-modulation of mood and cognition, as well as numerous other bodily functions.

Psilocin then interacts with specific serotonin receptors in the prefrontal cortex, a portion of our brains that acts as the powerhouse behind complex cognition, personality, speech, language, and expression. Thought to be the point in our brains at which thoughts and actions are orchestrated with internal goals. Making psilocybin an almost exclusive bedfellow to behavior. Something that typical antidepressants just can’t say.

Traditional antidepressants are almost overwhelmingly SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), effectively pooling serotonin in between our brain cells, as opposed to interacting directly with them. The other two, Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) and MAOI (Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors) are rarely used in modernity, largely because of their narrow therapeutic index and severe and common side effects. The discovery of SSRIs was considered a massive breakthrough in the battle for mental health in the 1950s and 60s. However, little has changed in form or function since that time, and evidence continues to mount that users either receive minimal benefit from these drugs, or worse, are subject to a slew of negative responses like an increase in suicidality and depressive behaviors.

Shroom Dispensaries to Be the New Chemist?

As more anecdotal evidence and self-reporting microdose proponents surface, the medical community has been urging laws regarding psilocybin bans to soften. These reports continue to bolster the support for microdosing, Canada, the UK, and several other countries seem to be harboring less than quiet excitement for the potential that these schemes have. As Canada was historically the premier first-world nation to legalize cannabis for both medicinal and recreational purposes countrywide, many of its citizens believe shrooms could be next. 

Particularly because lawmakers and enforcers seem to have little interest in villainizing the dispersal of psilocybin, packaged exclusively for microdosing and mental health. Making it simple to buy shrooms, Canada keeps their recreational doses at bay, instead focusing on the drug as a mental health supplement. Which may prove to be a saving grace to thousands, particularly as COVID-19 sweeps the world, leaving few untouched.

Buy Shrooms: Canada, Brazil, Austria, and More

While it seems unlikely that you’ll be able to walk into a storefront and purchase nutraceuticals anytime soon, citizens and sufferers are still hopeful. Specifically when weighed against the issues that so many people have with traditional antidepressants. Most commonly reported negative side effects of microdosing seem simply to be that the drug didn’t work. With few others even noted.

While microdosing guides are easy to find on the web, it still may prove difficult to find expertly dosed and fully regulated psilocybin capsules or tabs, leaving most hopeful microdosers to make a “best guess” at just how much to take. However, because of the relatively low toxicity levels of psilocybin, and its incredibly large therapeutic index, getting the right dose is rarely ever difficult, and extremely unlikely to be harmful. Something else that traditional antidepressants just don’t offer. Largely because of the obvious safety of the drug, psilocybin has been decriminalized, if not made fully legal, in a number of countries. Particularly when obtained for personal use. While we’re probably all aware of the legality of the drug in The Netherlands; Samoa, Jamaica, Austria, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, and Greece all have favorable legislation when it comes to psilocybin and psilocin. With many more other countries either decriminalizing possession or use, or just not enforcing the illegality of the substance all together. Which may serve to soften lawmakers’ approach to the cry from the medical community come time to legalize, study, and distribute microdosing products to combat mental health issues.