Psilocybin And Weight Loss: An Update

Psilocybin And Weight Loss: An Update

For a lot of people, shedding those pounds gained from a lockdown lifestyle can be difficult. Most office folks are now working from home, so satisfying sugar cravings is just one fridge away. And at a time like this, who can be blamed for comfort eating?

But, the global obesity epidemic still weighs heavily on the World Health Organization (WHO) —who in 2016 noted that 1.9 billion adults around the world were overweight (and 650 million of those were classified “obese”). 

The total has tripled in size over the last 50 years!

By 2030, almost half of adults in the United States will qualify as obese. Right now in the U.S., 34% of adults and nearly 20% of kids are obese— a grim trajectory that shows no signs of slowing down. 

As a result, many adults attempt a “quick fix” with diets such as the Atkins, South Beach, and keto, which can be strict and impossible to sustain. Of course, exercise remains most effective for losing weight, but let’s be honest. Most of us lack the willpower to visit the gym beyond January. And, if you’re seeking instant results, diet pills with caffeine can “promise” those – but these claims are now largely debunked by science.

Enter Psilocybin

Enter our favourite psychedelic compound: psilocybin. Who knew it could activate your very own appetite suppressant… nestled deep within the brain?

That Sweet Feelin’? It’s Serotonin

Behold, the “Happy Hormone”, aka serotonin. Photo courtesy: NeuRa Libraries

Serotonin, is a brain chemical, and a neurotransmitter— which means it helps to relay messages from one area of the brain to another. Psychology Today once dubbed serotonin as “nature’s own appetite suppressant”. Now, psychedelics such as psilocybin could soon help patients fight obesity.

“[Serotonin] curbs cravings and shuts off appetite. It makes you feel satisfied even if your stomach is not full. The result is eating less and losing weight.”

Psychology Today

Doesn’t it make sense to activate your serotonin receptors more often? They are a natural mood regulator after all, and help evoke feelings of emotional stability (goodbye, stress!).

Serotonin can also:

  • reduce depression,
  • regulate anxiety,
  • heal wounds, and
  • maintain bone health.

When your serotonin levels are normal, you feel calmer, more focused, less anxious, and happier throughout the day. 

Curb Your Cravings with Psilocybin

In a previous article we reported on NeonMind BioSciences partnering with Psygen Labs Inc for preclinical and clinical trials on using psilocybin to curb food cravings and anxiety? Well, now NeonMind has finished the design of a preclinical trial that should confirm psilocybin as an effective treatment for food cravings and weight loss. 

Dr. William Panenka, lead scientific advisor to Neonmind, has confirmed what most scientists have known of psilocybin:

“Psilocybin is known to activate serotonin receptors. Serotonin is responsible for some of the drivers which govern eating. We are very interested in furthering studies to test various dosing regimens for NeonMind to see the effects that psilocybin may have on the serotonin receptors that regulate food cravings.”

In July, their lead investigator submitted a Section 56 Exemption application to Health Canada for the use of psilocybin in research. This was the same exemption granted to 4 terminally-ill patients in Canada last August. However, an exemption still has to be granted and a final agreement entered with Psygen Labs before any tests can begin.

Still No Recognised Medical Use In Canada

Despite recent legal triumphs in America, the use of psilocybin and other psychedelics is still not permitted for Canadian patients and their doctors. Danny Motyka, CEO of Psygen Labs Inc, confirmed the status of psychedelics in Canada has a way to go:

“Today these psychedelic drug substances are classified as restricted drugs, meaning no recognised medical use in Canada, and we are playing our part in moving these substances to the controlled drugs schedule… or otherwise providing compliant access to psilocybin and other psychedelics.”

Psygen is now building a factory designed for high-volume output of psychedelic drug substances. This fills a unique supply gap for customers who need these restricted compounds for clinical trials.

Results Of Trials Are Eagerly Awaited

Honestly, we won’t know for sure if psilocybin does help reduce food cravings. At least not until NeonMind — or some other innovative company — publishes the results of their trials in the near future. But, with the worsening global health scenario, scientists are willing to follow any lead that may hint at potential weight loss benefits. And luckily, psychedelics — such as psilocybin — are finally a viable candidate for mainstream research.

And who knows? Maybe psilocybin could even help with other conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, and cancer. 

(Oh, look: in December 2019, NeonMind filed a U.S. patent to explore just that).

It’s worth reflecting that there really is no such thing as an “easy fix”, whether for obesity or for mental health conditions. Tools such as medicine, exercise, and therapy are only here to help you help yourself. 

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