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Medical Psilocybin Educational Resources

Lots of different types of mushrooms

The psychotropic effects of Psilocybe mushrooms were largely unknown in the West until the 1950s, despite evidence that they had a long history of indigenous use in Central and South America, and possibly other parts of the world.

Western civilisations had very little knowledge of this relatively ‘new‘ psychotropic and subsequently banned research into its effects shortly after its discovery. Little or no published human research into psilocybin was conducted between 1970 and 1990. In the 1990s, research began again slowly due to the work of some determined scientists such as Rick Strassman, David Nichols and Charles Grob.

Now, psilocybin is being researched as a tool for tacking depression, OCD, addiction, end of life anxiety and a number of other indications. As phase 2 trials launch around the world, psilocybin is looking to be an increasingly important substance for psychotherapy.

History & Current Law

Despite the promising research emanating from prestigious universities such as Imperial College London and Johns Hopkins University (Maryland), psilocybin is still a Schedule 1 substance. This means that research into this psychotropic is expensive, laborious and time-consuming. The current legal regime has curtailed our scientific understanding of this substance for 30 years, however, the law relating to psilocybin is not fit for purpose due to the exceptional safety profile of this drug and it's potential for therapeutic application.


This module takes a deep dive into the neurology and pharmacology that underpins medicinal psilocybin. This slide set explains how psilocybin operates in the human body, its metabolism, and interactions with the brain. Understanding the psychoactive properties and physiological effects of psilocybin is vitally important for medical students regardless of this drug's legal status. Psilocybin has therapeutic applications but it also has associated risks and adverse events, being aware of all of these relevant factors will help inform the next generation of psychotherapists and researchers.

About these modules

These slides were made in collaboration with Mind Medicine Australia, who are seeking to establish safe and effective psychedelic-assisted treatments for mental illness in Australia.

These slides are primarily for use in medical education settings but have been carefully designed to ensure that they are accessible for a wide range of people. They will therefore provide a rapid overview for medical students and other healthcare professionals. They are free to use; the aim of both organisations is to optimise dissemination of research into practice, so if these slides are of use to you, please use them.

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