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Psilocybin & Psilocin
by Erowid
1000 - 500 BCE Central American cultures build temples to mushroom gods and carve "mushroom stones" found in Mexico & Guatamala. 1  
13th - 15th Century Vienna Codex depicts the ritual use of mushrooms by the Mixtec gods, showing Piltzintecuhtli and 7 other gods holding mushrooms in their hands. These were most likely psilocybin-containing mushrooms. (The Wondrous Mushroom)   
Jun 15, 1521 The use of hallucinogenic mushrooms and peyote are driven underground as use of "non-alcohol" intoxicants is forbidden by Europeans in Mexico. Catholic priests punish the use of entheogens by native people.   
1560 Spanish priest Bernardino de Sahagún writes in his Florentine Codex about the use of peyote and hallucinogenic teonanacatl mushrooms by the Aztecs. He estimates peyote has been in use since at least 300 B.C. 2  
Oct 3, 1799 First psychedelic mushroom experience/ingestion documented in a scholarly journal takes place in London. Dr. Everard Brande attends a family whose members, upon eating wild mushrooms, were seized with visions and laughter. The mushrooms were examined and determined to be Agaricus glutinosus, later reclassified as Psilocybe semilanceata (Liberty Caps). 3  
1936 Blas Pablo Reko confirms the existence of teonanacatl as the psilocybin mushroom, refuting the scholarly misunderstanding of that time that teonanacatl was peyote.   
1939 Richard Evans Schultes publishes a paper describing teonanacatl as a specific psilocybin-containing mushroom. (Probably the first academic release of this fact.)   
May 13, 1957 Wasson publishes an article about psychoactive mushrooms in Life Magazine, the first popular media coverage of their existence.   
1958 Psilocybin is first isolated from psychoactive mushrooms by Albert Hofmann working at Sandoz Pharmaceutical in Switzerland. 4  
1959 Albert Hofmann first publishes the synthesis of psilocybin. 5  
1960 Sandoz Pharmaceutical begins producing psilocybin pills. They contain 2 mg of psilocybin per small pink pill.   
Oct 1960 Timothy Leary first tries pure psilocybin. 6   [Details]
1960-1961 Timothy Leary and Richard Alpert begin a series of experiments with Harvard graduate students, using pure psilocybin. 4  
Apr 1962 Good Friday Experiment - 20 students at Boston University participate in a psilocybin ritual/experiment. 7   [Details]
1963 Leary and Alpert were dismissed from their academic positions at Harvard due, at least in part, to their continued experiments with students and psychedelics. 4  
May 28, 1963 Weil and Russin write a scathing critique of Leary and Alpert's work in the Harvard Crimson: Far from exercising the caution that characterizes the published statements of most scientists, Leary and Alpert, in their papers and speeches, have been given to making the kind of pronouncement about their work that one associates with quacks. 8   [Details]
Oct 24, 1968 Possession of Psilocybin & Psilocin are banned federally in the U.S. after the passage of the Staggers-Dodd Bill (Public Law 90-639) which amended the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.   
Oct 27, 1970 The Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act is passed. Part II of this is the Controlled Substance Act (CSA) which defines a scheduling system for drugs. It places most of the known hallucinogens (LSD, psilocybin, psilocin, mescaline, peyote, cannabis, & MDA) in Schedule I. It places coca, cocaine and injectable methamphetamine in Schedule II. Other amphetamines and stimulants, including non-injectable methamphetamine are placed in Schedule III.   
1960-1977 Psilocybin is studied as a psychotherapeutic medicine through the 1960s and 1970s. FDA approved research with humans ends in 1977, not to be continued until the late 1990s.   
Late 1990's Research with psilocybin begins to see a small resurgence.   
Jun 1999 An improved synthesis method for psilocybin is published. 9   [More Info]
May 2006 Survey results published in Neurology show that both psilocybin-containing mushrooms and LSD may reduce severity and frequency of cluster headaches. 10   [Details] [More Info]
Jul 11, 2006 Research shows psilocybin can induce mystical experiences. 11   [Details] [More Info]
Apr 29, 2008 Albert Hofmann dies. 12   [Details] [More Info]

  1.   Schultes RE, Hofmann A. Plants of the Gods. Inner Traditions, 1992.
  2.   Stafford P. Psychedelics Encyclopedia. Ronin. 1992.
  3.   Brande E. "On A Poisonous Species of Agaric". London Medical and Physical Journal. 1799;XI:41-44.
  4.   Ray O, Ksir C. Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior. Mosby, 1996.
  5.   Hofmann A, Troxler F. "Identifizierung von Psilocin". Experientia. 1959;15:101-102.
  6.   Leary T. High Priest. Ronin Pub, 1995.
  7.   Pahnke W. Drugs and Mysticism: An Analysis of the Relationship between Psychedelic Drugs and the Mystical Consciousness. Thesis Harvard University, 1963.
  8.   Russin JM, Weil AT. "Corporation Fires Richard Alpert for Giving Undergraduates Drugs: First Dismissal Under Pusey", Harvard Crimson, May 28, 1963
  9.   Nichols DE, Frescas S. "Improvements to the Synthesis of Psilocybin and a Facile Method for Preparing the O-Acetyl Prodrug of Psilocin." Synthesis, 1999;6:935-938.
  10.   Sewell RA, Halpern JH, Pope HG Jr. "Response of cluster headache to psilocybin and LSD". Neurology. 2006;66(12):1920-2.
  11.   Griffiths RR, Richards WA, McCann U, Jesse R . "Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance". Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2006;187(3):268-83.
  12.   Erowid. "In Memoriam: Albert Hofmann". Erowid Extracts, Jun 2008; 14:21.