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The Rising Trend of Self-Medication with Psychedelics and Cannabis: The Need for Rigorous Regulation, By Sam Watson, MD BXN:ASX

Bioxyne Limited (ASX:BXN) 2 mins read

In recent years, a significant shift has been observed in how individuals address mental health and well-being, with a growing number of people turning to substances like magic mushrooms and cannabis for self-medication. This trend underscores both a deep-rooted desire for alternative therapies and a pressing need for robust regulation to ensure safety and efficacy.

The Allure of Psychedelics and Cannabis

Magic mushrooms, which contain psychoactive compounds such as psilocybin (psilocin) and other trypatime alkaloids, have been used for centuries in various cultures for spiritual and medicinal purposes. In contemporary society, they are increasingly sought after for their potential to alleviate conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. 

It is not widely know that MDMA was used by a few dozen psychotherapists in the United States between 1977 and 1985, when it was still legal, and was showing huge promise in treating Vietnam war veterans with severe PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). 

Similarly, cannabis, with its myriad compounds including THC and CBD, has gained popularity for managing chronic pain, anxiety, and other health issues.

Anecdotal evidence and emerging scientific studies suggest that these substances can offer significant therapeutic benefits. However, the move towards self-medication highlights a critical gap in the healthcare system: the need for accessible, effective mental health treatments that conventional pharmaceuticals often fail to provide.

Despite their potential benefits, the use of psychedelics and cannabis without professional guidance carries substantial risks. Incorrect dosages, impure substances, and the absence of medical supervision can lead to adverse effects, including psychological distress and physical harm. The risks are further compounded when individuals forage for magic mushrooms, as highlighted by a tragic incident in Victoria, Australia, where a woman died and two others fell ill after consuming a beverage containing foraged mushrooms. Investigators suspect the presence of toxic mushrooms or other contaminants [oai_citation:1,Woman Dies at Mushroom Retreat in Australia | DoubleBlind Mag](https://doubleblindmag.com/mushroom-death?utm_campaign=Editorial%20Email%205%2F16%20%2801HXW1JS5PDDB4FGXKPVTVEXWF%29&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Engaged%20Segment%20%28365%20Days%29&_kx=Xz3YIDCFOx87HTpBdIZuNHcTnYz2e7tjjsUGm24nE9xl-crH2XldExTSXTAScRZj.WLzrRC)

The Imperative for Regulation

To address these concerns, it is crucial to implement stringent regulatory frameworks for psychedelics and cannabis. Such regulations should mandate thorough testing and compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to ensure that products are safe, pure, and effective.

GMP certification requires manufacturers to adhere to high standards of quality control, from sourcing raw materials to final product testing. This helps prevent contamination, incorrect labeling, and variability in potency, which are common issues in the unregulated market.

Ensuring Access Through Approved Channels

In addition to stringent manufacturing standards, access to psychedelics and cannabis should be managed through approved prescriber channels. This approach ensures that patients receive these substances under the guidance of qualified healthcare professionals who can provide proper dosage recommendations, monitor for side effects, and integrate these treatments into a comprehensive care plan.

By limiting access to approved prescribers, we can prevent misuse and ensure that patients receive the maximum therapeutic benefit from these substances. Moreover, this system can facilitate ongoing research and data collection, furthering our understanding of the efficacy and safety of psychedelics and cannabis.

Conclusion

The rising interest in self-medicating with magic mushrooms and cannabis reflects a broader search for effective mental health treatments. However, to harness the full potential of these substances safely, robust regulatory measures are essential. Ensuring thorough testing and compliance through GMP-certified manufacturers and bolstering access via approved prescriber channels and clinics are crucial steps in this process. By doing so, we can protect public health while opening new avenues for therapeutic innovation.

 


Contact details:

Jane Morgan

jm@janemorganmanagement.com.au

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