In 1959, the Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann isolated the active principle psilocybin from the mushroom Psilocybe Mexicana. Hofmann’s employer Sandoz marketed and sold pure psilocybin to physicians and clinicians worldwide for use in psychedelic psychotherapy. Although the increasingly restrictive drug laws of the late 1960s curbed scientific research into the effects of psilocybin and other hallucinogens, its popularity as an entheogen (spirituality-enhancing agent) grew in the next decade, owing largely to the increased availability of information on how to cultivate psilocybin mushrooms.
An entheogen is a chemical substance typically of plant origin, that is consumed to produce a non-ordinary state of consciousness for religious or spiritual purposes, as well as for personal development or the healing of a particular malady, disturbance, or other physiological issue.
The term “entheogen” is interchangeable with “psychedelic” or “hallucinogen” with additional context provided by its intended use. Whereas “psychedelic” and “hallucinogen” are typically associated with recreational drug use, “entheogen” is applied in a more traditional (cultural) or clinical (medical) sense, in order to evoke a mystical experience aimed at healing or mitigating the effects of a specific malady. Captiva Verde is focused on the immediate commercialization of the sales of micro-doses of psilocybin under our license in Mexico, in addition to other psychoactive medicines that enhance and improve the quality of life. Entheogens such as psilocybin have shown remarkable success in treating psychological disorders in ways that traditional medicine has been unable. This market in the US only, was valued at US$ 13 Billion in 2016, and is expected to grow to US$ 28 Billion by 2025.
North America is in the midst of a crisis that originated in the early 90’s when large pharmaceutical companies as well as the medical community reassured government regulators and the public that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers. The American Psychiatry Association says: “Addiction (severe substance use disorder) is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. People with a substance use disorder have distorted thinking, behavior, and body functions. Changes in the brain’s wiring are what cause people to have intense cravings for the drug and make it hard to stop using the drug. These substances can cause harmful changes in how the brain operates. These changes can last long after the immediate effects of the substance.”
In 2016, approximately 20.1 million people aged 12 or older had a substance use disorder (SUD) related to their use of alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year, including 15.1 million people who had an alcohol use disorder and 7.4 million people who had an illicit drug use disorder. An estimated 2.1 million people had an opioid use disorder, which includes 1.8 million people with a prescription pain reliever use disorder and 0.6 million people with a heroin use disorder.
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In 2015 the Surgeon General of the United States estimated that alcohol and drug addiction cost the taxpayer $442 billion annually both directly and in terms of opportunity cost. Some factors contributing to the financial and social costs of addiction disorders are:
• Drug prevention and treatment.
• Healthcare costs in connection with abuse of substances: overdoses, psychotic episodes, etc.
• Drug affected driving.
• Crime – dealing, violence, compulsive crime (to feed the habit).
• Prison & correctional services.
• Impact on productivity (non-participation in the labour force).
• Children exposed to illicit drugs after birth may suffer significant problems that require additional care, resulting in both personal expenses and costs to society.
• Low income communities often have less access to support systems, health care and community organizations, and rampant addiction disorder contributes to keeping people in a cycle of poverty and ill-health
THE TOXICITY OF PSILOCYBIN
In rats, the median lethal dose (LD) when administered orally is 280 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg), approximately one and a half times that of caffeine. When administered intravenously in rabbits, psilocybin’s LD is approximately 12.5 mg/kg. Psilocybin comprises approximately 1% of the weight of “Psilocybe Cubensis” mushrooms, and so nearly 1.7 kilograms (3.7 lb) of dried mushrooms, or 17 kilograms (37 lb) of fresh mushrooms, would be required for a 60-kilogram (130 lb) person to reach the 280 mg/kg LD value of rats. Based on the results of animal studies, the lethal dose of psilocybin has been extrapolated to be 6 grams, 1000 times greater than the effective dose of 6 milligrams. The Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances assigns psilocybin a relatively high therapeutic index of 641 (higher values correspond to a better safety profile); for comparison, the therapeutic indices of aspirin and nicotine are 199 and 21, respectively. The lethal dose from psilocybin toxicity alone is unknown at recreational or medicinal levels, and has rarely been documented—as of 2011, only two cases attributed to overdosing on hallucinogenic mushrooms (without concurrent use of other drugs) have been reported in the scientific literature and may involve other factors aside from psilocybin.
Micro-dosing as a standard of care
As a background, the effects of the drug begin 10–40
minutes after ingestion, and last 2–6 hours depending on dose, species,
and individual metabolism. The half-life of psilocybin is 163 ± 64
minutes when taken orally, or 74.1 ± 19.6 minutes when injected
intravenously. A dosage of 4–10 mg, corresponding roughly to
50–300 micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg) of body weight, is
required to induce psychedelic effects. A typical recreational
dosage is 10–50 mg psilocybin, which is roughly equivalent to
10–50 grams of fresh mushrooms, or 1–5 grams of dried mushrooms.
(A Johns Hopkins study found the ideal dose for long- term
positive effects to be 20 mg per 70 kg of body weight.)
A small number of people are unusually sensitive to psilocybin,
such that a normally threshold-level dose of about 2 mg
can result in effects usually associated with medium or high
doses. In contrast, there are some who require relatively high
doses to experience noticeable effects. Individual brain
chemistry and metabolism play a large role in determining a
person's response to psilocybin. For purposes of safety and
for the benefit of long term improvement to conditions such a
s mild depression, the dosages given under our proposed legal
medical program will be much smaller. The exact lower amounts
at this point in time are confidential and proprietary.
Psilocybin is present in varying concentrations in over 200 species of Basidiomycota mushrooms. In a 2000 review on the worldwide distribution of hallucinogenic mushrooms, Gastón Guzmán and colleagues considered these to be distributed amongst the following genera: Psilocybe (116 species), Gymnopilus (14), Panaeolus (13), Copelandia (12), Hypholoma (6), Pluteus (6) Inocybe (6), Conocybe (4), Panaeolina (4), Gerronema (2) and Agrocybe, Galerina and Mycena (1 each). Guzmán increased his estimate of the number of psilocybin-containing Psilocybe to 144 species in a 2005 review. The majority of these are found in Mexico (53 species), with the remainder distributed in the US and Canada (22), Europe (16), Asia (15), Africa (4), and Australia and associated islands (19). The diversity of psilocybian mushrooms is reported to have been increased by horizontal transfer of the psilocybin gene cluster between unrelated mushroom species. In general, psilocybin-containing species are dark- spored, gilled mushrooms that grow in meadows and woods of the subtropics and tropics, usually in soils rich in humus and plant debris. Psilocybin mushrooms occur on all continents, but the majority of species are found in subtropical humid forests. Psilocybe species commonly found in the tropics include P. cubensis and P. subcubensis. P. Semilanceata is considered by Guzmán to be the world’s most widely distributed psilocybin mushroom, and is found in Europe, North America, Asia, South America, Australia and New Zealand, but is entirely absent from Mexico. Although the presence or absence of psilocybin is not of much use as a chemo-taxonomical marker at the familial level or higher, it is used to classify taxa of lower taxonomic groups.
Psilocybe semilanceata, commonly known as the liberty cap, is a species of fungus which produces the psychoactive compounds psilocybin and baeocystin. It is both one of the most widely distributed psilocybin mushrooms in nature, and one of the most potent. The mushrooms have a distinctive conical to bell-shaped cap, up to 2.5 cm (1.0 in) in diameter, with a small nipple-like protrusion on the top. They are yellow to brown, covered with radial grooves when moist, and fade to a lighter color as they mature.