This Week in Psychedelics

Federal health agency acknowledges the potential health benefits of psilocybin; Vermont could be on the path to decriminalizing shrooms.

May 31, 2024

This Week...

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (which is part of the National Institutes of Health), updated its website to acknowledge the potential benefits psilocybin might provide – including the treatment of alcohol use disorder, anxiety and depression. The page also highlights psilocybin research being funded by the federal government into the drug’s effects on pain, migraines, psychiatric disorders and various other conditions.

The website includes basic information about what psilocybin is, where it comes from, the legal status of the drug and preliminary findings around safety and efficacy. Check it out:

Atlanta City Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari initiated a new proposal that would direct municipal officials to explore the pros and cons of adding coverage for psilocybin and ketamine as mental health treatments to the city’s healthcare plan for firefighters, police, and other government workers.

Bakhtiari said the impetus for including the drugs on public employees’ health plans was meeting a West Virginia police officer who witnessed a fellow officer die of suicide and later used ketamine to treat his PTSD. Here’s more:

Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed into law a bill that could put Vermont on the path to decriminalizing the use of psychedelic mushrooms.

The law sets up a Psychedelic Therapy Advisory Working Group to determine if Vermont should allow individuals to have access to mushrooms. The Department of Mental Health, the Vermont Psychological Association, and other community partners will be working together to determine how the use of psilocybin and other psychedelics can improve mental health treatment in the state. The group will review the latest research and evidence of the public health benefits and risks of psychedelic treatments and will have until November 15th to submit their final report. Check it out:

Did You Know?

Did you know that psilocybin initiates hyperconnectivity in the brain, which results in feelings of “oceanic boundlessness?”

According to a new study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimagine, hallucinogenic mushrooms initiate a pattern of hyperconnectivity in the brain linked to the ego-modifying effects and feelings of oceanic boundlessness. These findings help explain the so-called mystical experiences people report during the use of psychedelics and are pertinent to the psychotherapeutic applications of psychedelic drugs to treat psychiatric disorders.

The concept of oceanic boundlessness refers to a sense of unity, blissfulness, insightfulness, and spiritual experience often associated with psychedelic sessions.

In one of the first brain imaging studies in psychedelic research, investigators found a specific association between the experiential, psychedelic state and whole-brain dynamic connectivity changes. While previous research has shown increases in static global brain connectivity under psychedelics, the current study shows that this state of hyperconnectivity is dynamic (changing over time) and its transition rate coincides with the feeling of oceanic boundlessness, a hallmark dimension of the psychedelic state. Check it out: