Can magic mushrooms replace oxycodone? The study suggests that the ingredient in the drug helps treat chronic pain by reshaping the brain

Can magic mushrooms replace oxycodone?  The study suggests that the ingredient in the drug helps treat chronic pain by reshaping the brain

  • Mice given psilocybin became less sensitive to pain for weeks after treatment
  • Chronic pain can reshape connections in the brain, and so can psilocybin
  • Two of the study’s authors work for a company that aims to market the drug to treat pain
  • Read more: Can magic mushrooms really treat depression? The jury is still out



An injection of psilocybin, the main ingredient in so-called “magic mushrooms,” could provide lasting relief from chronic pain, a new study has found.

A team of scientists at the University of Michigan found that mice Because the anesthetic drug was significantly less sensitive to pain for weeks than animals that did not receive it.

These findings suggest that the drug alters pathways in the brain, the study authors wrote.

Chronic pain reshapes connections in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), making the condition difficult to treat. But research has shown that psilocybin also can reshape pathways in the nervous system

Scientists suspect that many cases of chronic pain are the result of changes in the brain and spinal cord, not just the part of the body that experiences pain.

Psilocybin may modulate these pathways rather than just treating pain symptoms.

In the new study, mice were given a small injection of formaldehyde into their feet to simulate chronic pain.

Such injections can cause hypersensitivity for a month or more, even in the foot that was not injected.

So, although this pain is not the same as that experienced by someone with a back injury or other chronic pain experiences, it is one method that scientists use to study long-term pain.

Laboratory animals were then given either a low-dose psilocybin injection, a high-dose injection, or an injection of harmless salt water and a placebo to ensure that the drug was responsible for the observed effects.

The low-dose group received 1 mg per kilogram of body weight, equivalent to a small dose, while the high-dose group received 10 mg per kilogram, which is a hallucinogenic dose.

Mice treated with psilocybin, the main active ingredient in magic mushrooms, became much less sensitive to pain than mice that were not treated.

Over the next month, the scientists regularly exposed them to either uncomfortable foot pricks or to a hot plate under their feet and recorded how long it took for them to show discomfort.

Compared to the pain responses of the mice recorded before injection, the mice with both the high and low dose of psilocybin were significantly less sensitive to foot pricks.

On some days, the mice that received high doses were less sensitive than those that received low doses, but their effects were generally similar.

The heat was a different story.

Psilocybin rats did not significantly improve heat sensitivity compared to untreated rats.

This may be because psilocybin does not help with this type of pain.

It may also be because the hot plate was so hot (126.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 52.5 degrees Celsius) that it overpowered any pain relief provided by the medication, the study authors wrote.

Chronic pain is difficult for doctors to treat, in part because it seems to alter and reshape the nervous system. Psilocybin has been shown to reshape brain connections, suggesting it could help treat chronic pain

Importantly, the mice that were not given the formaldehyde injection showed no difference in pain sensitivity after psilocybin administration, suggesting that the drug specifically helped the animals that were suffering from chronic pain.

The results appear today in the journal Current biologyAdding to a growing body of scientific research gives us insight into the healing potential of psilocybin.

Studies have shown that the drug is somewhat effective in treating depression, as well as helping people quit drinking or smoking when other methods fail.

But the only evidence is anecdotal for many of its reported benefits, such as pain relief.

Therefore, this new work is part of a growing scientific effort to catalog and track what fungi can and cannot do.

Like much of the research done on psilocybin, the results of this study are mixed — the drug only helped one type of pain sensitivity.

The researchers noted that their results had some limitations.

For example, these trials looked at inflammation, so future studies should evaluate other types of pain, such as neuropathic pain.

Many Americans are seeking relief from psychedelics and other unconventional treatments after turning away from conventional medicine

The study was not set up to explain exactly how and why psilocybin treats pain. So it’s not clear whether the hallucinogenic properties of psilocybin are responsible for these effects or perhaps it did something else in the mice’s bodies to reduce their pain sensitivity.

However, more research is needed before people’s pain can be treated with psilocybin.

In addition, two of the seven scientists behind the study work for Tryp Therapeutics. This San Diego, California-based company is researching psilocybin as a treatment for multiple pain conditions, as well as binge eating.

In other words, some of the scientists working on the study are financially interested in positive results. Tryp’s stock price has remained below $0.12 per share all year.

This does not mean that the results cannot be trusted.

But good scientific practice says other laboratories, including those without financial motivation, should be able to replicate the results if the treatment is successful.

(Tags for translation)psilocybin

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