A dramatic increase in law enforcement seizures of psilocybin-containing “magic mushrooms” likely indicates growing use and public acceptance of the psychedelic.
New research funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) showed that such seizures increased from 402 in 2017 to 1396 in 2022, while the total weight of this schedule I substance increased from 226 kg (498 lbs) in 2017 to 844 kg (1861 lbs) in 2022.
The new analysis, published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, was funded by led by researchers at NYU Langone Health and the University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Most of the seizures (36%) occurred in the Midwest; some 33% were in the West, where the greatest weight of seizures occurred. The researchers cautioned that the seizure locations don’t necessarily reflect where the mushrooms were ultimately consumed. The seizures could be a result of heightened enforcement in a particular area, they noted.
Psilocybin is a schedule I substance controlled by the Drug Enforcement Administration but has gained increasing acceptance in a variety of settings and the media has prominently covered promising research.
It is now legal in Oregon and Colorado, and in many locales, hallucinogens have been designated a low law-enforcement priority. The US Food and Drug Administration has granted Breakthrough Therapy designation for two formulations to investigate its therapeutic potential for depression.
There are dozens of studies starting or in the works that will evaluate psilocybin’s usefulness for a variety of conditions, including depression, opioid use disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and cancer pain.
Several studies have documented Americans’ increasing use of hallucinogens. A recent paper showed non-LSD use — primarily that of psilocybin — in adults aged 19-30 years increased from 3% in 2019 to almost 7% in 2021. Data from the same panel survey, conducted by Monitoring the Future, showed that past-year hallucinogen use among adults aged 35-50 years increased from 2% in 2021 to 4% in 2022.
“We are in the middle of a rapidly evolving cultural, media, and legal landscape when it comes to psychedelics, and we need data to help shape informed and appropriate public health strategies,” said NIDA Director Nora D. Volkow, MD, in a release.
“Moving forward, we must continue to track data on the availability of psychedelics, patterns in use, and associated health effects to guide efforts in promoting accurate education and reducing potential harms among people who do plan to use psychedelic drugs,” she said.
Volkow and lead author Joseph J. Palamar, PhD, MPH, associate professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York, both cautioned that psilocybin use can lead to adverse effects, such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, agitation, confusion, or severe nausea and vomiting.
“Bad trips” — which may include distorted thinking, perceptual changes, extreme risk-taking, and intense feelings of fear, anxiety, and confusion — are also a danger.
“People who use psilocybin outside of medical supervision need to be educated about risks associated with use,” Palamar said in a statement issued by NIDA.
Alicia Ault is a Saint Petersburg, Florida-based freelance journalist whose work has appeared in publications including JAMA and Smithsonian.com. You can find her on X (formerly Twitter) @aliciaault.
Source link : https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/law-enforcement-data-indicate-growing-psilocybin-use-2024a10002nr?src=rss
Publish date : 2024-02-07 10:12:53
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