Michigan recently celebrated the first anniversary of its decriminalization of entheogenic substances. Entheogenic substances are plants and fungi that come from nature.
These substances work like psychedelics such as LSDs. They are psychoactive substances that induce an altered state of consciousness when ingested. People and cultures use these substances for therapeutic, medicinal, spiritual, or religious purposes.
What are Entheogenic Plants and Fungi?
The city council of Ann Arbor passed a resolution last year. And this resolution defined entheogenic plants and fungi. These substances are natural elements, and their compounds could contain the following:
- Indole Amines
Many indigenous people and cultures used these substances many years ago. In published materials, these substances affect a person’s state of mind. Furthermore, these compounds support and enhance religious and spiritual practices.
What are these Naturally Occurring Psychedelics?
There are several plants and fungi on this list. The ayahuasca plant contains DMT. The spineless cactus Peyote, San Pedro cactus, and Peruvian torch contain mescaline. An African root called the Iboga plant contains ibogaine. And magic mushrooms contain psilocybin or psilocin.
Let’s check the details of these substances below!
It’s a hallucinogenic compound found in various mushroom strains. The effects are comparable to that of LSD. It’s not an addictive substance, but some users have reported disturbing experiences. They felt anxiety and panic while using the psilocybin mushrooms.
The Iboga root contains the hallucinogenic substance ibogaine. In Africa, the Gabon Bwiti tribe has used ibogaine since the 1800s. They use this as a part of the coming-of-age rituals in adolescent boys. You can compare this activity with the Jewish tradition, Bar Mitzvah.
According to the book “Progress in Brain Research,” ibogaine showed promising anti-addictive properties. Researchers tested both animals and humans, and ibogaine was successful in curbing addiction. Yet, there were cases of ibogaine’s tendency to induce cardiac arrhythmias. The Journal of Forensic Sciences said 19 ibogaine-related deaths in 18 years.
- DMT, also known as Dimitri or N, N-Dimethyltryptamine
This substance comes from a decoction of two plants. First, the ayahuasca vine (Banisteriopsis caapi) and second, the chacruna (Psychotria Viridis). Many people have said that you will experience hallucinations when you drink this.
For many years, many indigenous tribes have conducted Ayahuasca tea ceremonies. And, it has further gained popularity thanks to many celebrities. They have shared their in-depth experience with it.
It’s a hallucinogenic compound that you can find in cacti, such as the San Pedro, Peyote, and Peruvian torch. These substances can cause an altered perception of space and time when ingested.
They have low toxicity. So these substances are less harmful than other psychedelics. But mescaline is still classified as a Schedule I drug. The federal government is considering its high potential for abuse.
But nowadays, there are various types of research and studies about mescaline. And they have shown the medical and therapeutic benefits of using them.
Benefits of Psilocybin
Several universities have conducted various studies on their potential medical benefits. For example, in 2016, there were two published studies. They researched the benefits of using magic mushrooms.
Researchers made a study on 51 cancer patients. The researchers observed their moods, attitudes, and behavior. They showed symptoms of depression and end-of-life anxiety. And within a five-week time frame, the patients took psilocybin. And the staff gave them low and high doses. Afterwards, the team conducted a six-month follow-up.
On the sixth month follow-up, 80% of the patients continued to improve their mental health. Also, psilocybin decreased the depression and death anxiety felt by the patients. Thus, it improved their quality of life.
They reported a significant decrease in their depressed mood and anxiety. Also, the use of psilocybin increased the patient’s quality of life. They experienced increased optimism and life meaning. The patients no longer dread the end of life.
NYU Langone Medical Center also conducted research. They looked into the effects of psychedelic mushrooms on cancer patients. The patients took a single dose of psilocybin mushrooms for weeks, and the results were the same. Also, the patients reported a decrease in their depressed mood and anxiety.
There is more published research about the medical benefits of magic mushrooms.
Magic Mushrooms in Michigan
In 2016, the Cato Institute published a report. It says that Michigan spent more than $800 million to enforce drug control.
Psychedelic plants and fungi show tremendous potential. Research and studies show that they can treat various mental and psychological disorders. So, the city council of Ann Arbor pushed for its decriminalization last year.
So what does decriminalization mean? Law enforcement officers will not arrest you for using and possessing mushrooms. Cultivation and possession of magic mushrooms in Michigan are the police’s lowest priority.
In September 2020, the Ann Arbor city council members voted to decriminalize psychedelics.
Washtenaw County Prosecutor Eli Savit supported the decriminalization efforts. He committed not to prosecute the cultivation and possession of natural psychedelics. As a result, cases have been de-prioritized by law enforcement since then.
Furthermore, the Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor group helped usher the resolution. The group aims to make these substances accessible. They are pushing for appropriate individual and community education. They envision a community with happy and healthy individuals. They encourage people to reconnect with nature and appreciate entheogenic traditions and practices.
Each member advocates the use of these drugs. Because these substances help improve the physical and psychological health of people. The group also cited two essential things to push the city to allow entheogenic plants and fungi. The first is American Liberty. The second is personal freedom.
Afterwards, advocates of magic mushrooms formed and created Decriminalize Nature Michigan. This group aims to work with their local legislators. And they are pushing for a bill decriminalizing psychedelics.
Zachary Acker is one of Ann Arbor City’s Council Members. And he said that the future is bright for psychedelics.
Recently, local lawmakers passed a resolution. It has designated September as Entheogenic Plants and Fungi Awareness month. Last September 19, the University of Michigan hosted the event. And the Student Association for Psychedelic Studies was in charge of everything.
According to statistics, Grand Rapids has one of the highest rates of depression in the U.S.
And the city is now looking into alternative solutions. One of them is using natural psychedelics.
Commissioner Kurt Reppart supports decriminalizing nature. And it looks like Grand Rapids is soon to be the next city to vote for the use of psychedelic plants and fungi.
Proposition 8 allowed recreational cannabis or marijuana legalization. And in 2018, Voters passed prop 8, and critics had concerns about drug driving.
In a similar concern, critics are looking into the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. They are curious about its impact on impaired driving.
What’s Happening Now?
Ann Arbor is one of the cities first to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms.
Sens. Jeff Erwin, Ann Arbor, and Adam Hollier, Detroit, recently introduced a bill. It aims to legalize the cultivation, possession, and delivery of natural psychedelics. Under the proposed legislation, these are the covered substances:
Furthermore, people or businesses who use these entheogenic substances can charge a fee as long as they provide services and conduct proper counselling and spiritual guidance. But legislators will not legalize the commercial production and sales of these substances.
What’s The Situation in Other Cities and States?
Denver was the first city to decriminalize and legalize psilocybin. And they allowed the use and sale of psilocybin. And the voters who passed the legislation are now looking into a broader reform.
Several Massachusetts cities have enacted a bill. This bill aims to study the implications of decriminalizing psychedelic drugs.
Texas has also recently enacted a bill to study their medical benefits.
Oregon voters approved the legalization of psilocybin for therapeutic use. And in the long run, it hopes to decriminalize possession of all drugs. In Portland, activists are pushing local lawmakers to decriminalize the following activities:
- Cultivation of Psychedelics
- Gifting Using Psychedelics
- The Ceremonial Use of Psychedelics
These natural psychedelic drugs have a lot of potentials. Furthermore, they show a lot of benefits. So, more cities and states in the U.S. are looking into the decriminalization of magic mushrooms.
And soon, it will be possible to see a broader drug law reform.