According to history, indigenous people use natural psychedelics to carry out old-age traditions. Examples of such practices include coming-of-age rituals. Some religions also use these substances to tap into the spiritual realm.
So how is this possible? What makes an experience an encounter even possible? Well, individuals need to enter an altered state of mind. This experience is possible by using substances that contain hallucinogenic compounds.
What Are Psilocybin Mushrooms?
Magic mushrooms are one of nature’s psychedelics, and they have the same effect, such as ecstasy and LSD.
The hallucinogenic substances in these fungi are psilocybin and psilocin. These two are the psychoactive compounds that produce a ‘trip.’
Other natural psychedelics include mescaline, ibogaine, and DMT.
Psychedelic mushrooms have a rich background and history. But, these substances are still viewed in a negative light.
There are still a lot of barriers to easy access to its medicinal and recreational use. But, positive change has been happening in recent years.
‘Magic Mushrooms’ Entering Mainstream.
Recent studies on psychedelic shrooms have shown that they have significant medical uses. In 2018, Compass Pathway researched the use of psilocybin. They looked into its use and benefits as a treatment for resistant depression. The Food and Drug Administrating gave a breakthrough therapy designation for this research.
More studies also support these results. Some have proven that these can help treat various mental and health disorders. For example, you can use them to treat post-traumatic stress disorder anxiety. Some patients also experienced less fear from suffering end-of-life stage critical illnesses.
Scientific experts also vouch for the benefits of using this substance. Matthew Johnson from Johns Hopkins favors decriminalization. He is the associate director for the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research.
He is currently working with the Center for Psycheledic and Consciousness Research.
Though he supports decriminalization, he still acknowledges the risks of it. One of the risks includes what we call a ‘bad trip.’ Encountering this type of experience has led to people having psychotic disorders.
He also added that aside from more research, there is a need for two crucial elements. These are drug education and harm reduction.
Also, he believes users must not be subject to felony or misdemeanor charges. The criminalization of psychedelic drugs will only impede the search for alternative cures.
This becomes a wasted opportunity for people looking for substitute treatment.
Current Laws and Penalties
Federal law classifies psilocybin mushrooms as Schedule I controlled substances. The government considers the drugs listed under this group as addictive, and thus, there is a high possibility of abuse.
When users lack information and supervision, using these may result in detrimental effects. It can even lead to a person’s death.
This list of controlled substances includes illicit drugs. These include drugs like cocaine, amphetamines, heroin, and hallucinogens.
Global Drug Survey: 2019 Results
Larissa Maier is a postdoctoral scholar at California, San Francisco. She is a part of the core team behind the Global Drug Survey. In 2019, they surveyed 55,000 people who use drugs.
Based on the results, psilocybin is a low-risk drug, meaning it’s a less deadly and less addictive-like legal substance. Examples of these are alcohol and tobacco.
Results show that psychedelic drugs are often carried out alone or in small groups. Thus, if there is a need for any form of supervision, you can already consider this as one.
Steps Toward Decriminalization and Legalization
In 2020, Oregon was the first state to decriminalize magic mushrooms. Also, they were the first to legalize its medical use.
Ensuring the safety of people in search of an alternative cure was a priority. Thus, the Oregon Health Authority created a regulatory framework as a guide. Medical professionals and patients must adhere to these guidelines.
Under this new law, medical professionals need to meet strict standards. So this is the only way for them to administer psilocybin.
Decriminalization allowed the personal possession of illegal drugs in small amounts. But, the legalization let the physician-administered medical use of psilocybin shrooms.
Thus, a person will only access these psychedelics at psilocybin service centers. Plus, attending a mandatory preparation session is a prerequisite.
Twenty-five years ago, California legalized medical marijuana. Back then, voters approved an initiative to help overturn cannabis prohibition.
Oakland, California, was the second city to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms. The city council members voted on a resolution to end investigations. They have reduced the penalties on the use and possession of hallucinogenic plants.
In 2020, California state Sen. Scott Wiener introduced legislation to decriminalize psychedelic drugs. Last year, a voter initiative to decriminalize natural psychedelics was on a roll. It was recently approved for signature-gathering.
Santa Cruz leaders also agreed. They have allowed the personal use, possession, and cultivation of such psychedelics.
Denver, California, followed suit in the hopes of more cities joining the movement.
But, Kevin Sabet, who has advised three presidential administrations on drugs, thinks otherwise. According to him, the legalization of all drugs will have adverse effects. He believes that decriminalization will cause more significant problems with drug use.
The Future Seems Brighter
But thanks to more visionary legislators and advocates. Finally, change is happening in the legal landscape of psychedelics. Oakland, Sta, and Cruz paved a positive outlook on magic mushrooms. Magic mushrooms in San Francisco will soon follow.
Once that happens, businesses can already start to sell psilocybin. Individuals can use them without the fear of facing criminal penalties.