The space travels These are extremely stressful situations. For this reason, in recent years attention has begun to be paid to the consequences they can have on a mental level, beyond the physical. After all, spending a long period of time away from civilization, with a very small group of people, and under quite extreme environmental conditions, it can be very traumatic. And that is precisely why a team of scientists from a biotech company has proposed that astronauts take hallucinogenic mushrooms to alleviate these types of problems.
Actually, a boat soon is not so far-fetched. The psychedelic drugs, in combination with psychological therapy, have been shown to be very effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder. In a way, they help therapists to access the brain of patients and, once there, to substitute some memories for others. as a kind of inception. If we add to this the fact that the company that authored this new study is specialized in drug development from fungieverything fits pretty well.
However, according to what they say IFLScienceNASA has a zero drug policy That would make it very difficult to get to this point. And it is more than likely that other space agencies would position themselves in the same way. Therefore, for the moment all this is nothing more than a recommendation. Makes sense? In part, yes, but much more research would be needed before magic mushrooms could become part of the luggage of astronauts.
The benefits of psychedelic drugs
It has been 80 years since that “bicycle day” in which the effects of LSD were discovered. The scientist responsible for the find, Albert Hoffmannhad been testing new drugs with pharmacological potential from the lysergic acid. He had little idea what might happen, until one day, while working, he began to feel confused and dizzy. He thought that it could be an effect of this new drug, which could have reached his system through the skin. Therefore, he chose to go further and ingest it to discover its effects in greater depth.
The effects were immensely greater than the first time. He was extremely dizzy, saw distorted images and could not walk normally. So bad was his condition that he asked his assistant to accompany him home, because he did not see himself capable of doing it alone. This took him there by bike, hence the day April 19thwhen it all happened, is known as the day of the bicycle.
That was how they discovered hallucinogenic effects of LSD. Then others appeared psychedelic drugss, which caused similar symptoms, were soon used with recreational purposesyes Who wouldn’t want to try that curious high?
Logically, this turned out to be highly inadvisable, since taking them without control would lead to many negative effects. However, over time it has been discovered that all these substances, from the famous hallucinogenic mushrooms to LSD itself, can have medical applications very interesting. Especially in psychology and psychiatry they could help people with conditions like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. Of course, it is important to select well which psychoactive drugs are appropriate, which is why artificial intelligence algorithms are even being investigated that select the most appropriate from a long list. Thus, it has been seen that, in the right environment and at specific doses, they can be very beneficial. And that is precisely why these scientists want to administer them to astronauts.
Hallucinogenic mushrooms for astronauts
The component that turns hallucinogenic mushrooms into psychoactive drugs is the psilocybina substance that has been shown to have great therapeutic potential in some studies with mental patients.
That is why the authors of the study that is now being presented in Frontiers in Space Technologies they considered that this substance could be effective for astronauts. Although they have not been able to clinical trials in spaceare based on several studies in which this psychoactive drug helps relieve stress in terminal cancer patients.
In addition, they take into account preclinical tests conducted on animalsin which it is pointed out that hallucinogenic mushrooms can help improve Neuronal plasticity. Given that this would be involved in the cognitive consequences of the stress to which astronauts are subjected, it could certainly be beneficial. But it remains to be seen if it can be extrapolated to humans. This could be related to the reasons why it helps improve the situation of people with post-traumatic stress disorder. Neural plasticity is essential to help overcome trauma. However, the situation and the atmosphere are very different.
On the other hand, the authors of this study take the situation even more to the extreme and consider that the consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms could help astronauts to manage a situation as extreme as finding extraterrestrial life. But, even if they don’t say so in the study, it would be necessary to see if it is not the drug itself that makes them see little green men.
Jokes aside, it is true that psychedelic drugs have very interesting therapeutic potential. Could they also be effective for astronauts? It is possible, but there is still much to investigate. And for that, the space agencies must agree. It’s a pretty big stumbling block to begin with.