NEWS
Want Shrooms That Never Cause Bad Trips? Scientists Are Working On It
CaaMTech, a pharmaceutical company based in Washington State, thinks it’s found the secret to guaranteeing positive, feel-good trips from psychedelic mushrooms.
Published on April 2, 2020

Have you ever experienced a challenging trip from eating too many shrooms or eating them at the wrong time? Or with the wrong people? A group of scientists think they can change that by designing magic mushroom products that will never, ever cause a bad trip. 

CaaMTech, a pharmaceutical company based in Washington State, claims that aeruginascin, a compound only found in the Inocybe aeruginascens mushroom, could hold the key to reducing anxiety, paranoia, dysphoria, or otherwise any experience that equates to a bad time while tripping on shrooms. 

In other words, as Troy Farah wrote for DoubleBlind magazine, aeruginascin is to shrooms what CBD is to weed. Just as CBD can taper, or dampen, the frenetic effects of THC from cannabis, aeruginascin could do the same for the psychedelic experiences caused by the psilocybin, psilocin, and baeocystin found in shrooms. 

“We’re thinking that preventing bad trips could increase the patient success rate,” Andrew Chadeayne, the CEO and founder of CaaMTech who’s also a chemist, told DoubleBlind. “We want to come up with a way to at least give people the option of increasing the probability for a euphoric experience versus a dysphoric experience.” 

CaaMTech is developing its own version of aeruginascin called “Prophoria,” which basically means “supports good vibes” in Greek. The company’s website says it’s focusing on creating “novel tryptamines...specifically engineered to optimize desired effects while minimizing unwanted side-effects.” So, Prophoria may end up being a modified analog or an isomer of aeruginascin rather than an extract. Splicing the genes for aeruginascin or its analogs into shrooms is another option.

Right now, the US FDA is studying psilocybin, the primary active component of magic mushrooms, as a potential therapy for depression, anorexia, post-traumatic stress, and substance abuse disorders. However, many patients who’ve tried psilocybin in clinical settings stop treatment due to undesirable psychoactive reactions from the compound. If aeruginascin truly can reduce or prevent bad feelings during a trip, it could revolutionize this type of psychedelic-assisted therapy before that therapy even receives full FDA approval. 

Of course, most drugs pose some risk, and aeruginascin may not be an exception. In some rare instances, people who have tripped on Inocybe aeruginascens became temporarily afflicted with “wood lovers paralysis.” The condition causes the muscles to lock up so tight the psychonaut cannot move, though it only lasts a few hours, according to Psilocybin Technology.

However, Jochen Gartz, a chemist and mycologist, argues that wood lovers paralysis is a myth. Why believe him? He’s the guy who discovered aeruginascin over three decades ago. He also resides in Germany, where Inocybe aeruginascens likely originated, so he’s essentially at the ground-level when it comes to studying this central European mushroom’s effects on humans. 

“In many dozens of analyses I have found…no [cases of] ‘paralysis’ were ever seen in about 40 experiences, including accidental intoxications!” Gartz wrote to DoubleBlind in an email. He noted that people who tripped on Inocybe aeruginascens have only ever reported positive experiences, lending further credibility to CaaMTech’s good-vibes-only shroom project. 

Since CaaMTech intends to make tried-and-true medicines under US federal regulations, it will be some time before any of us see the company’s promising product. Until then (for those of you that live in psilocybin-tolerant cities), trip carefully and responsibly, and always mind your set and setting before embarking on a far-out psychedelic journey.

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Randy Robinson
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Based in Denver, Randy studied cannabinoid science while getting a degree in molecular biology at the University of Colorado. When not writing about cannabis, science, politics, or LGBT issues, they can be found exploring nature somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Catch Randy on Twitter and Instagram @randieseljay
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