Arizona – The First to State to Begin Clinical Trials for Magic Mushrooms?

A newly established Psilocybin Research Advisory Council is tasked with defining parameters for utilizing $5 million in grants designated for these trials and will also offer guidance on the use of psilocybin mushrooms in medical treatments to both the governor and the state legislature.


Despite their current classification as a Schedule I substance under federal law, indicative of high abuse potential and lack of accepted medical use, psilocybin mushrooms may soon be under rigorous scientific investigation. Existing research has primarily focused on synthetic versions of psilocybin, due to the legal constraints around the natural fungi.


Dr. Sue Sisley, head of the Scottsdale Research Institute, points out that while abundant anecdotal evidence suggests benefits from natural psilocybin mushrooms, particularly among veterans and first responders, these claims lack scientific verification. “Our objective is to carry out meticulous controlled research to genuinely comprehend the mushrooms’ impacts,” stated Sisley.


The scope of the proposed clinical trials is broad, potentially exploring the therapeutic role of whole psilocybin mushrooms in the management of conditions such as PTSD, long Covid, OCD, depression, addiction, autoimmune disorders, and other degenerative diseases, as set out by the authorizing legislation.


Highlighting the importance of this research, Dr. Sisley underscored the imperative to investigate potential healing benefits. The significance of psilocybin is underscored by a study published in the Journal of Psychedelic Studies, which revealed that nearly 10% of U.S. adults have experimented with the substance at least once in their lives. This is contrasted with the cost factor; while street prices for magic mushrooms are relatively low, the purified psilocybin compound can fetch up to $10,000 per gram.


Local agricultural businesses, like the Tucson-based mushroom farm co-owned by John De Lorenzo, are showing interest in cultivating whole psilocybin mushrooms, contingent upon positive clinical outcomes and legislative reform. De Lorenzo expresses a readiness to collaborate with researchers in a legally secure environment, a move that could be feasible given the farm’s existing expertise in medicinal mushrooms.


The process, however, is not without its procedural hitches. The application deadline for clinical trial grants is set for February 1, a timeline that has raised concerns among some lawmakers, including Rep. Kevin Payne (R-Peoria), a co-sponsor of the bill establishing the advisory council. Payne criticized the delay in council setup, highlighting the risk of allocated funds reverting to the general fund if not timely disbursed.


The Arizona Biomedical Research Center is charged with the council’s administrative operations. Once operational, the council plans for monthly face-to-face sessions in Phoenix, advancing Arizona’s foray into this potentially transformative field of medical research.


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