The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, has said he will examine the latest advice on the legalisation of psilocybin, the main psychedelic compound found in magic mushrooms.
Conservative MP Crispin Blunt urged the PM to “cut through the current barriers to research into psilocybin” during a session of Prime Ministers Questions today. Mr Blunt told Johnson the drug had “exciting potential” for the treatment of mental health conditions such as depression, trauma and addiction.
Psilocybin is currently listed in Schedule 1 of the Misuse of Drugs Act, along with drugs such as MDMA and LSD. This means it cannot be lawfully possessed or prescribed and a Home Office licence is needed for use in research.
However, campaigners believe it should be moved to Schedule 2 which would place it in the same category as medical cannabis, which was legalised in 2018.
In response, the PM said “I can say that we will consider the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recent advice on reducing barriers to research with controlled drugs such as the one he describes, and we will be getting back to him as soon as possible.”
Conservative MP Crispin Blunt urges the prime minister to "cut through" barriers to research into psilocybin – the psychedelic drug found in magic mushrooms – which "has potential to help people suffering with depression, trauma and addiction"#PMQs https://t.co/txBJvNx4gp pic.twitter.com/yvq4ingdk4
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) October 20, 2021
The clinical potential of psilocybin has been subject to a new wave of research in recent years. A recent medical trial carried out by researchers at the Centre for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London found it to be “at least as effective as a leading antidepressant medication in a therapeutic setting.”
In June this year a YouGov survey, commissioned by Drug Science, found that only 13% of adults in the UK did not support psilocybin-assisted therapy.
By rescheduling psilocybin into schedule 2, the UK could become a world leader in psychedelic research. “Schedule 1 restrictions hinder our efforts whilst being unlikely to provide any meaningful reduction in the risk of diversion, when compared to Schedule 2 restrictions. The UK has an internationally recognised reputation in developing new treatments. We have an opportunity to be world leaders here as well, if the government acts to reclassify those treatments that are showing therapeutic promise into Schedule 2” said Dr James Rucker, Head of the Psychedelic Trials Group at King’s College London.