Johnson M, Griffiths R, Hendricks P, Henningfield JE
Neuropharmacology, 142:143-166, 2018.
This review assesses the abuse potential of medically administered psilocybin, following the structure of the 8 factors of the US Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Research suggests the potential safety and efficacy of psilocybin in treating cancer-related psychiatric distress and substance use disorders, setting the occasion for this review. A more extensive assessment of abuse potential according to an 8-factor analysis would eventually be required to guide appropriate schedule placement. Psilocybin, like other 5-HT2A agonist classic psychedelics, has limited reinforcing effects, supporting marginal, transient non-human self-administration. Nonetheless, mushrooms with variable psilocybin content are used illicitly, with a few lifetime use occasions being normative among users. Potential harms include dangerous behavior in unprepared, unsupervised users, and exacerbation of mental illness in those with or predisposed to psychotic disorders. However, scope of use and associated harms are low compared to prototypical abused drugs, and the medical model addresses these concerns with dose control, patient screening, preparation and follow-up, and session supervision in a medical facility.
This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Psychedelics: New Doors, Altered Perceptions’.