Though psilocybin has recently become one of the trendiest drugs on the planet for the pharmaceutical industry to capitalize on, the history of magic mushrooms in human hands runs deep. How far back, you wonder? Perhaps the better question is: How long have we existed?
Like most people of color in the United States, psychotherapist and researcher Monnica Williams has experienced myriad forms of racism. Early in her career, understanding its effects on her mind and body motivated her to help clients address their own racial trauma in therapy.
The first randomized controlled trial to compare the illicit psychedelic psilocybin with a conventional selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant found that the former improved symptoms of depression just as well on an established metric—and had fewer side effects.
Now, as a handful of patients and more recently doctors and therapists have been granted exemptions to use psilocybin, the nation’s federal health agency is considering making changes to existing policies that could open the door to much more than magic mushrooms.