Vancouver, Canada-based Flourish Mushroom Labs announced in a Dec. 10 press release that it has filed a U.S. provisional patent application for the weight loss effects of a compound found in psilocybin mushrooms. Researchers believe that the serotonin agonists in the mushrooms—through unconventional mechanisms—can help people diet effectively.
Compulsive eating is a complex psychological disorder that can’t always be solved through traditional appetite control drugs. Recently researchers are exploring psilocybin compounds as an alternative way to combat overeating, compulsive behavior and depression.
Human food preferences for certain types of food have been linked with a 5-HT2A serotonergic receptor polymorphism. As psilocin and psilocybin are known to be 5-HT2A agonists or partial agonists, psilocybin mushroom compounds have been linked to better weight loss results. The compound may be effective for altering food choices and making changes in diet much easier. Psilocybin has also been known to control other compulsive disorders as well as anxiety and depression.
“The Flourish Mushroom Labs pending patent seeks to protect the invention that administration of psilocin and/or psilocybin results in an overall weight loss in individuals by reducing food cravings, counteracting compulsive overeating, and aiding in improving quality of diet by altering food choices,” the press release reads.
According to the World Health Organization, 35 percent of adult Americans ages 20 and older are clinically obese. The definition of obesity is people with a body mass index ? 25 kg/m2.
The researchers believe that the real key to long-term weight loss is the ability to enjoy foods with lower carbohydrates and foods with lower caloric intake. But because changing food choices is especially difficult psychologically, psilocybin-based drugs may be able to help.
Meanwhile, a U.K.-based company called COMPASS Pathways is currently developing a psilocybin-based compound as an antidepressant drug. Usona Institute is also currently in the planning stage for a phase 2 and 3 clinical research program on the use of psilocybin as a treatment for major depressive disorder. These new developments could help propel ongoing movements to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms or legalize them for medical use.