DARK Classics in Chemical Neuroscience: Psilocybin
Psilocybin is found in a family of mushrooms commonly known as “magic mushrooms” that have been used throughout history to induce hallucinations. In the late 1950s Albert Hofmann, of Sandoz Laboratories, identified and synthesized the psychoactive compounds psilocybin and psilocin which are found in psilocybe mushrooms. Psilocybin was marketed by Sandoz as Indocybin for basic psychopharmacological and therapeutic clinical research. Psilocybin saw a rapid rise in popularity during the 1960s and was classed as a Schedule I drug in 1970. This led to a significant decrease in psilocybin research. Recently, however, preliminary studies with psilocybin have shown promise as potential for the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder, alcohol addiction, tobacco addiction, and major depressive disorder, and the treatment of depression in terminally ill cancer patients. This review describes in detail the synthesis, metabolism, pharmacology, adverse drug reactions, and importance of psilocybin to neuroscience in the past and present.