Seizures of Magic Mushrooms by Authorities Rose as Demand Grew

In the last couple of years, we have seen interest in psychedelics increase as more studies uncover their hidden benefits. Interest in psilocybin, the psychoactive compound found in hallucinogenic mushrooms, has increased significantly following evidence of its benefits for a range of mental-health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

However, drug busts of magic mushrooms have also increased, with data from new research showing that the amount of psilocybin seized by authorities has more than tripled in the period between 2017 and 2022. The author of this new research, Joseph Palamar, stated that the study’s findings indicated that the availability of psilocybin mushrooms had been increasing.

The study determined that between 2017 and 2022, the total amount of psilocybin shrooms seized by officers rose to 1,800 pounds from about 500 pounds. Of this total, a majority of the drugs were busted in the West.

Washington University’s Dr. Joshua Siegel, who wasn’t part of this research, stated that the study came at a time when a psychedelic renaissance was happening in the United States. Siegel, whose research focuses on how psychedelics impact the human brain, noted that there was increasing scientific and public interest in the potential therapeutic effects of psychedelics for a range of behavioral and mental health issues.

This comes as more states decriminalize psychedelic substances and allow their use in supervised settings.

The director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow, stated that the study’s results suggested that there was a growing demand for psilocybin. This, she continued, meant that more individuals were using psilocybin, which allowed sellers to sell more of the product.

The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Its results were reported in the “Drug and Alcohol Dependence” journal.

The study’s results align with prior research, including one 2022 study, which found that between 2002 and 2019, the use of psilocybin grew and was primarily driven by individuals aged 26 and above. Additionally, figures from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration suggest that psilocybin is the most popular psychedelic in America. The body’s data showed that in 2022, more than 11% of individuals aged 12 years of age and older revealed that they had used the substance.

At the moment, however, the use of psilocybin for therapeutic use is yet to receive approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Initial studies have suggested that the use of psychedelics is associated with a risk of psychosis and, in some cases, suicidal ideation.

These seizures by the authorities make it more urgent for psychedelic drug developers such as atai Life Sciences N.V. (NASDAQ: ATAI) to do everything possible so that their pipelines yield approved drugs. In this way, people currently self-medicating with shrooms can have licensed alternatives to address their clinical needs.

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