Mushrooms containing psilocybin were used by the Aztecs, but until the 60s of the last century, they did not arouse interest outside of Mexico. The name “psilocybin” is derived from the Greek root “psilo”, meaning “bald”, and “cybe” meaning “head”, most likely due to the shape of the mushroom from which the substance is extracted.
Are you interested in knowing where do mushroom spores come from? Before the Spanish conquest, psilocybin mushrooms were widely found used by most of the populations in Central America and South America. They were later banned by the Spanish ecclesiastical authorities, due to being involved in pagan ritual ceremonies. For over two centuries, the use of these hallucinogenic mushrooms was forgotten, until the 1950s, when it was rediscovered by the Wassons. They, together with other researchers (Heim, Cailleux and Hoffman) founded a new scientific branch – ethnomycology.
Psilocybin was chemically synthesized in 1958. In 1970, it was banned by the Controlled Substances Act.
In recent years, clinical studies have shown the potential for the use of this compound in psychiatry. It could be used in psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of depression, anxiety and certain addictions.
The substance remains banned for now, but research continues on laboratory grade mushrooms and it might reveal some surprising results that could force the authorities to reconsider its legal status.