Pubdate: Thu, 17 Sep 2015
Source: Metro (Toronto, CN ON)
Copyright: 2015 Metro Canada
Author: Jessica Smith
Page: 14


Fungi Chemical Psilocybin Can Help Elderly With Anxiety

Drug advocates and medical experts will be gathering in Toronto to 
discuss the potential health benefits of magic mushrooms.

The event, slated for Sunday at the Centre for Social Innovation, is 
part of a worldwide day of action organized by the 920 Coalition. The 
Toronto event is being organized by Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

CSSDP co-chair Gonzo Nieto said the event is meant to bring attention 
to the medicinal and spiritual effects of psilocybin mushrooms and 
counteract stigma around their use.

"The 920 Coalition, a couple of months ago, came out with the idea to 
make Sept. 20, like 420 is for cannabis, for psilocybin mushrooms," 
he said. "Now, there are 22 events happening worldwide in Canada, the 
U.S. Mexico and Australia."

One of the Toronto speakers will be Wende Wood, a pharmacist who 
worked at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) for 13 years.

Compared the volume of research done on marijuana, there has been 
very little on psilocybin, but what has been done has been promising, 
Wood said.

One well-known study cited by Wood found the drug led to lasting 
personality changes in subjects, many of whom reported feeling closer to God.

"The headlines were, 'God in a pill,' and that was kind of pushing 
it," Wood said. "The most important thing was it showed we can, under 
the right conditions and the right researchers, study this stuff 
ethically and responsibly."

Wood said other researchers are examining the impact of psilocybin on 
end of life care.

Scientists in California found supervised trips on psilocybin helped 
some terminally ill patients come to terms with their mortality and 
lessen their anxiety about death, she said.

Wood hopes that after hearing her talk on Sunday people will realize 
that just because a drug is illegal doesn't mean it can't be 
beneficial in certain cases.
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