mushrooms for sale online SYDNEY. Magic mushrooms are fungi that produce psilocybin, a psychoactive compound with effects similar to LSD, another compound also derived from fungi.
Over 200 species of mushroom worldwide are known to produce psilocybin, and they are hypothesised to have influenced art, culture and religion. mushrooms for sale online SYDNEY
There are an estimated 20–30 species of magic mushrooms in Australia, some of which are native, and some of which have been introduced and then flourished in disturbed ecosystems.
“We are not certain of magic mushroom biodiversity in Australia,” Dr McTaggart, a mycologist and evolutionary biologist, said.
“We do not even know how many species produce psilocybin.”
“They grow in dung or in leaf litter on damp forest floors.”
Although native, the cultivation, manufacture, possession, use and supply of psilocybin is illegal throughout Australia.
The legal status of psychoactive mushrooms as controlled substances in Australia has prevented study of their biodiversity, chemistry, ethnobotany and clinical applications.
“Our native psychoactive mushrooms are understudied compared to other continents,” Dr McTaggart said.
“We want to understand their biology. Australian species of psychoactive mushroom are unique from their global relatives and may have evolved different methods for psilocybin production.”
“The global scientific community has patented methods for production of psilocybin production, and interestingly, most of this effort has focused on a mushroom that has likely spread from Australia to Europe and the United States.
“As psilocybin grows in popularity to benefit human health, knowledge of the diversity of our native mushrooms will have global impact.”
A Psilocybe subaeruginosa cluster in Tasmania. Image: Caine Barlow
Global magic mushroom renaissance
British mycologist Dr Merlin Sheldrake, author of Entangled Life, describes the journey from obscurity to international stardom of magic mushrooms over a few decades in the 20th century as “one of the most dramatic stories in the long history of human relationships with fungi”.
In the 1930s, Harvard University botanist Richard Evans Schultes became intrigued by the 15th century accounts written by Spanish friars of the ‘flesh of the gods’ and ritualistic use of mushrooms in native cultures.
Dr Schultes wondered if such rituals still existed and in 1938 visited Oaxaca, Mexico, where he found mushroom use among the indigenous Mazatec people to be alive and well – reporting that consumption of these mushrooms resulted in “hilarity, incoherent talking, and … fantastic visions in brilliant colours”.
Haploid culture of Psilocybe subaeruginosa. Image: Megan Pope
Global interest in the psychoactive properties of magic mushrooms is significant at present.
In 2016, studies at New York University and Johns Hopkins University administered psilocybin alongside a course of psychotherapy to patients suffering from anxiety and depression following diagnoses with terminal cancer.
The study found 80 per cent of patients showed substantial reductions in their psychological symptoms, with just a single dose of psilocybin.
These reductions persisted for at least six months after the dose.
In Australia, clinical trials are currently underway at the St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, where terminally ill patients will be treated with psilocybin under a medical trial aiming to ease the paralysing anxiety felt by palliative care patients.
Alongside psychotherapy and guidance, it is hoped psychedelic medicines will give these patients new perspective on their lives and reduce their fear and depression.
Dr McTaggart believes the global magic mushroom industry is where the medical cannabis industry was 15 years ago.
“There is a lot of interest in the therapeutic properties of magic mushrooms,” he said.
“Similar to the cannabis industry, mushrooms will need selection of genetic traits to upscale production or tailor different strains for different experiences.”
Dr McTaggart’s research aims to safeguard the genetic diversity of magic mushrooms in Australia.
“It could be that the gene diversity in native species of magic mushrooms reveals novel adaptations that provide new techniques for production of psilocybin, or that Australian mushrooms are preferentially used as sources of compounds for treatment options,” he said.
Psilocybe cubensis, part of the collection housed in Brisbane. Image: UQ
Magic mushrooms and Indigenous culture
Hallucinogenic mushrooms were historically celebrated in cultures from Central and South America, but it has been assumed they played no role in the culture of the First Australians.
In a 1985 article published by the Australian Museum Trust, Brisbane biologist Tim Low stated his belief that Aboriginal people did not use fungi as hallucinogens.
Dr McTaggart said magic mushrooms grow in abundance from the tip of Queensland to the southernmost forests of Tasmania.
“We know that Indigenous people deciphered how to safely eat many toxic plants – Indigenous chemists purified cycad fruits.
“I think it is a reasonable hypothesis that Aboriginal people co-existed with and ate magic mushrooms at some stage in the last 60,000 years.
“It may be that historical uses of mushrooms are closely guarded or lost.
“It is something we may learn through further research and engagement with Indigenous communities.”
Dr McTaggart hopes to collaborate with Indigenous communities and mushroom experts in Australia, to investigate the possibility of providing a platform for future research on the clinical applications and other uses of Australia’s magic mushrooms.
Australia’s drugs watchdog on Friday announced that psychedelic substances MDMA and psilocybin — more commonly known as ecstasy and magic mushrooms — will soon be used in the treatment of depression and post-traumatic stress.
Psychiatrists will be able to prescribe the two substances from July, the Therapeutic Goods Administration said after finding “sufficient evidence for potential benefits in certain patients.”
The two drugs are currently “prohibited substances” and can only be used in closely controlled clinical trials.
The administration said they had been found to be “relatively safe” when administered in a medical setting and provided an “altered state of consciousness” that could help patients.
Mike Musker, a mental health and suicide prevention researcher at the University of South Australia, welcomed the move as “long-awaited.”
“There are many people in the community experiencing PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and depression, particularly army veterans and people who have worked in emergency services, where standard psychiatric drugs have not worked and offer no relief,” he said.
Musker said the two drugs “reduce inhibitions” and could help people process difficult images and memories.
For now, the use of MDMA and psilocybin will be limited to the treatment of depression and post-traumatic stress.
But advocates hope to one day use them for alcohol dependence, obsessive compulsive disorder and eating disorders.
Psychedelics have been used by Indigenous peoples for millennia, but Western researchers only started seriously looking into their potential uses in the middle of the last century.
The drugs became symbols of the counterculture movement of the 1960s and were banned.
Authorities in Canada and the United States are among those who have already permitted the medical use of MDMA and psilocybin. mushrooms for sale online SYDNEY