Among the best-known natural products, the potent hallucinogen psilocybin represents the principal metabolite of mushrooms of the genus Psilocybe, the so-called magic mushrooms. Psilocybin containing mushrooms have been popular as a recreational drug, which has led to its classification as a scheduled controlled substance, which in the US has made difficult scientific work on psilocybin biosynthesis as well as its use as a legitimate drug.  Importantly, from a medical perspective, psilocybin has been recognized in clinical trials as an effective antidepressant with proven pharmaceutical relevance in the treatment of existential anxiety of advanced-stage cancer patients and against therapy-resistant depression. Look here for a recent history.

Our international collaborative scientific research project between Dirk Hoffmeister at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and Bernhard Rupp at the Medical University of Innsbruck aims to reveal the secrets of magic mushrooms.