Mushrooms Could Offer Improvements to Color Blindness, Study Suggests

A new study has indicated a potential link between psilocybin and improvements in color blindness.

The study on color blindness, which comes via researchers with the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Center for Behavioral Health, Neurological Institute at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, was published in Drug Science, Policy and Law.

According to Medical Xpress, the researchers behind the study “highlight some implications surrounding a single reported vision improvement self-study by a colleague and cite other previous reports, illustrating a need to understand better how these psychedelics could be used in therapeutic settings.”

Medical Xpress has more on the findings:

“In the current case, a subject with red-green CVD (mild deuteranomalia) self-administered the Ishihara Test to quantify the degree and duration of color vision improvement after using 5 g of dried psilocybin magic mushrooms. Self-reported Ishihara Test data from the subject revealed partial improvement in CVD, peaking at 8 days and persisting for at least 16 days post-psilocybin administration…Before mushroom ingestion, the subject self-administered the Ishihara Test, a series of graphics composed of a mosaic of dots varying in color, hue and size. The cards of the test are designed to hide test images from someone with color blindness that would be clearly visible to someone with color vision. For example, a graphic of red and green dots might have the number ‘3’ composed of only red dots, clearly apparent to most but invisible to the color-blind individual. During this baseline test, the subject reported scoring 14 on plates 1–21, indicating mild red-green blindness, with an additional set of four cards indicating deuteranomalia, a version of CVD that makes greens look more [like] reds. While the subject reported intensification of colors under the acute effects of psilocybin, the score showed only slight improvement to 15 at 12 hours post-administration. By 24 hours post-mushroom administration, the score reached 18, one above the cut-off of 17 required by the Ishihara Test for the classification of normal color vision. The score peaked at 19 on day eight and was still tuned into the range of normal vision four months later.” 

Findings like that have encouraged medical researchers, and forced lawmakers to reconsider longstanding prohibitions on magic mushrooms. 

In Washington, lawmakers approved a bill last month that would make it legal for adults aged 21 and older to obtain psilocybin from a licensed provider. 

The bill would also establish a Psilocybin Advisory Board within the state’s Department of Health “to provide advice and recommendations to DOH, the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB), and the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA),” according to the measure’s official summary. 

“Board members serve for four-year terms, at the pleasure of the Governor, and are eligible for reappointment. The Governor must appoint successor members before the current member’s term expires, and when other vacancies occur. Until July 1, 2024, the Board must meet at least five times per calendar year, and at least once every calendar quarter after that date. The Board may adopt operating rules and establish committees and subcommittees,” the summary said.

The bill passed in the state House of Representatives in March, and then was approved by the state Senate last month. But the legislation has not yet received the signature of Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, who signed five bills last week that “will protect access to a common abortion medication; enhance data privacy for people who share their health information with third party apps; protect Washington patients and providers who may face legal threats from other states; protect providers’ licenses; and eliminate out-of-pocket costs to make abortion access more equitable.”

The state legislative session ended last month. 

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