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Ohio State receives DEA license to grow psychedelic mushrooms for research


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Ohio State University is about to grow psychedelic mushrooms.

For scientific research, people.


Ohio State, alongside the mental health and wellness research and development company Inner State Inc., was awarded the first-ever license by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency to an American university grow whole psilocybin mushrooms. The mushrooms will be used in the study of mental health treatment capabilities with naturally grown psychedelic mushrooms.

"This license is a major milestone not only for Inner State and Ohio State, but for the entire field of psychedelic research,” Inner State CEO Ashley Walsh said Wednesday in a news release.


The license allows Ohio State and Inner State to cultivate psilocybin mushrooms for research purposes only. All research will be conducted in a federally sanctioned and secured grow house in accordance with strict DEA regulations and guidelines.


“By combining cutting-edge techniques in genomics and metabolomics, we have the opportunity to obtain a high-resolution picture of the chemical diversity of mushrooms that have remained difficult to study for several decades,” according to Ohio State researchers Dr. Jason Slot and Dr. Kou-San Ju.


Due to its classification as a Schedule I drug, research into whole psilocybin mushrooms has been heavily restricted in the U.S. There is a growing movement, however, to research the potential affects the 'shrooms' may have on improving mental health.


Oregon voted to become the first state to allow adult use of psilocybin “magic” mushrooms in 2020, though they officially became legal for use this January. That sparked investment of millions of dollars in psilocybin research there, and more states and universities are following their lead.


Research suggests that psilocybin, usually taken in pill form, has the potential to treat a variety of mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and addiction.


One potential advantage of these mushrooms is that they contain psilocybin and other compounds that may have additional therapeutic benefits. Walsh said it's possible that psilocybin mushrooms "have multi-dimensional healing properties" that could further improve quality of life for those with severe illness and mental health issues.


Sheridan Hendrix is a higher education reporter for The Columbus Dispatch. Sign up for her Mobile Newsroom newsletter here and Extra Credit, her education newsletter, here.

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