Ontario Agricultural College’s Department of Plant Agriculture University of Guelph (UG) professors and researchers Dr. Max Jones and Dr. Gale Bozzo received approval by the federal agency Health Canada to study psilocybin mushrooms.
The newly granted dealer’s license will allow the scientists to cultivate mushroom species known to produce psilocybin and other compounds -a category to which multiple fungi belong.
This, in turn, will help better understand their biology and genetics and what other functional compounds they might contain, and eventually to provide well-characterized and chemically consistent material for preclinical and potentially clinical evaluation, explained Dr. Jones.
Further, given that the mushroom species producing psilocybin are very diverse and not that closely related, the scientific question of what else are these mushrooms producing arises.
“If you have 200 species producing a compound that affects the human brain, it’s likely they are producing other interesting compounds, too,” commented Dr. Jones.
Professor at the Ontario veterinary college’s department of biomedical sciences Dr. Melissa Perreault studies the molecular and cellular mechanisms linked to pathologies of neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders like depression or autism spectrum and the ones associated with cognitive impairments like schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Perreault reaffirmed that while many scientists are working with psilocybin, this group’s focus is on the potential biological activity of some of the other compounds in the mushrooms, and whether they have any therapeutic value alone or combined with psilocybin.
Specifically, they will examine these other compounds to determine which signaling pathways they might affect, especially caring for the synaptic function, inflammatory paths and oxidative stress, all of which are known as contributors to brain diseases and disorders.
If they do find potential therapeutic value in them, the plan is to bring them into some of the models Dr. Perreault works with -including the ones studying specific aspects of depression or autism– to further examine their therapeutic effects.
Interestingly, besides this hard-core research goal, Dr. Jones is aiming to create a safe source supply of psilocybin-producing mushrooms for future scientific studies.
He is convinced that there is a real need for a public supply of these mushrooms and believes that the few companies licensed to produce them often create proprietary formulations and that affect research.
“We aim to create a supply of mushrooms to be used for preclinical and perhaps clinical trials in which the genetics and cultivation methodologies will be fully disclosed to researchers and the public,” Jones stated.
The university team is now growing the magic mushrooms on grains or manure but is aiming to develop a synthetic and more consistent and easily reproduced- medium to do so.
Image and article originally from www.benzinga.com. Read the original article here.