Seizures of psychedelic mushrooms by law enforcement officers across the country have increased significantly in recent years as attitudes toward their use have become more permissive, according to one government-funded study published on Tuesday.
Researchers found out that law enforcement officers seized 844 kilograms of mushrooms containing psilocybin in 2022, a 273 percent increase from 2017. Psilocybin is the psychoactive component in the mushrooms commonly known as magic mushrooms.
Officials at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which commissioned the study, said the increase in magic mushroom seizures was due to increasing use of the drugs and did not indicate that drug enforcement agencies were pursuing the substances more aggressively than before.
The market for magic mushrooms, which are illegal under federal law, has boomed in recent years as several clinical trials have shown they may be effective as therapies to treat depression and other serious illnesses. However, many doctors fear that the hype surrounding psychedelics is progressing faster than science.
Dr. Nora Volkow, the director of NIDA, said preliminary clinical studies have shown that psychedelics could one day become an important tool for treating psychiatric disorders, including addiction to other drugs. However, she said she is concerned that many people are self-medicating with psychedelics.
“Psychedelic medications have been touted as a potential cure for many health conditions without sufficient research to support these claims,” said Dr. Volkov. “There are people who desperately need mental health care, and there are companies who are desperate to make money by marketing substances as treatments or cures.”
In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration administered psilocybin a special designation to accelerate research into its effectiveness as a treatment for depression, which could lead to approval for clinical use.
The promising clinical studies…