In a small unassuming office, a clandestine group provides psychedelic mushrooms to patients with dementia. With laws potentially changing to legalize the psychedelic in Oregon and Colorado, operations functioning secretly like these might one day be a thing of the past.
The mushrooms, Psilocybe Cubensis, contain the chemical psilocybin, which some believe holds part of the key to treating dementia. Research is ongoing and there is no official data on its use as a treatment for dementia. The group’s patients says the treatment helps to ease anxiety and agitation and helps improve focus.
The group’s founder says, “most doctors do not appreciate the treatment and would never refer patients to the service. The doctors who have sent us patients, end up referring all of their patients who develop dementia.”
Patients come by word of mouth referrals alone. New patients are put on a waiting list that can take up to 6 months before the ‘medicine’ is first sent out. They charge on a sliding scale, for some below cost.
The founder of the care group started the service only two years ago after having cared for a loved one with dementia. When her mother began to show signs as well, she wanted to try something other than the ineffective standard treatment she witnessed before. After some careful planning, her mother decided to try experimental treatments with magic mushrooms, and her mother’s condition improved. Her mother’s doctor noted the improvements too. She knew she would need more, more than she would be able to buy. So she started growing her own and the rest was history.
More than 5 million people are living with dementia in the U.S. and 50 million worldwide, so they have growing facilities and no shortage of interested clients.