Indocybin Psilocybin

In The pharmacology of Psilocybin, Passie et al., the pharmacology and history of psilocybin is explored.

The chemical name of psilocybin is 4-phosphoryloxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine. Psilocybin is a chemical that acts strictly on the mind; it does not do physical harm to the organs. Psilocybin’s chemical structure is very similar to serotonin, a neurotransmitter naturally found in the brain. In fact, psilocybin binds with the same receptor sites in the brain that serotonin does, the 5-HT1 and 5-HT2 receptor sites. In saying that psilocybin binds with 5-HT1 and 5-HT2 receptor sites, it is understood that it also binds with all subtypes of these receptor sites (i.e.: 5-HT2A). Psilocybin was first isolated from Psilocybe mexicana in 1957 by Albert Hofmann, the Swiss scientist famous for accidentally discovering LSD. In the 1960s psilocybin was synthesized by the pharmaceutical company Sandoz who marketed it as Indocybin®. Indocybin® was distributed for research and psychotherapeutical purposes (357-62).

The psychedelic drug LSD is similar to Psilocybin in that it also binds with the 5-HT1 and 5-HT2 receptor sites (Barrett et al. 559). As a result of their similarities, LSD exhibits many of the same beneficial properties that psilocybin does and vise-versa. The immediate psychological effects of psilocybin can vary greatly, but are generally characterized by extreme emotions, a feeling of energy throughout the body, visual/auditory hallucinations, profound or deep thinking, and occasionally paranoia and/or confusion. The psychedelic experience is often referred to as a “tripping.” A trip can last from four to six hours, depending on dosage. Psilocybin is found in over one-hundred species of mushrooms from several different genera. Psilocybian mushrooms can be found on every continent, with the exception of Antarctica. Currently, psychedelic mushrooms are illegal in the United States; psilocybin is a controlled substance.

- excerpt from retrieved Aug. 2010