The psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms could soon be legal to use in a clinical setting
By Shelby Hartman | 9 November 2018
ROLLING STONE — For the first time in U.S. history, a psychedelic drug is on the fast track to getting approved for treating depression by the federal government. Late last month, Compass Pathways, a U.K.-based company that researches and develops mental health treatments, announced the FDA granted them what’s called a “breakthrough therapy designation” for their trials into psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms.
Researchers who pioneered psychedelic science agree — this is a landmark moment for their field.
“It really does represent a significant development in the whole history of psychedelic research,” says University of California, Los Angeles psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor Charles Grob, who conducted foundational psilocybin trials at UCLA in the mid-2000s.
To Grob and others, the FDA’s recognition of psilocybin isn’t just about psilocybin; It indicates a larger shift in how the federal government perceives psychedelic drugs. Researchers only began receiving approval to investigate psychedelics in the 90s, after they were banned from science for decades due to their association with Woodstock-era iconoclasts.
In August 2017, the FDA gave its first indication that times were changing when it granted MDMA — often confused with ecstasy — a breakthrough therapy designation for post-traumatic stress disorder. Researchers now see both the success of MDMA and psilocybin as a sign that “the psychedelic renaissance,” the resurgence of psychedelic drug research, is finally helping psychedelic medicine receive the recognition it deserves. […]