How Magic Mushrooms are Following the Path of Medical Marijuana
Not too long ago, the idea of legal pot was about as far fetched as snagging a legit pic of Big Foot skipping through the hood. At the time of this writing, cannabis is legal for recreational use in a total of 11 states, with another four states looking to join the party via the November 2020 elections. While there is still a long way to go on the legal front, marijuana is already blazing a trail for other highly scrutinized drugs to follow.
In recent years, there has been a substantial push to treat psilocybin mushrooms as a medicine, rather than an illicit drug. Believe it or not, the movement has garnered a notable measure of success.
One of the most recent victories occurred in Canada, where a clause in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act allowed four terminally ill patients to use psychedelics. In this case, psilocybin was specifically implemented to help reduce the stress and trauma of individuals on their literal deathbed. It should be noted that the same section (56) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act was a first crucial step in Canada’s nationwide legalization of cannabis as well.
The medical mushroom movement has also picked up steam in the states. Denver, Colorado made history in May 2019 when it became the first U.S. state to decriminalize the possession of psilocybin. Following in its steps were the California cities of Oakland and Santa Cruz in June 2019 and January 2020 respectively. Of course being illegal at the federal level means commercial sales for shrooms are still prohibited, but this is a big move in the way of progression. After all, decriminalization was a critical first step for Michigan and other states that would eventually embrace recreational marijuana.
To the average civilian, recognizing psychedelic mushrooms as a natural medicine may sound like a rather trippy concept. On the contrary, the medicinal benefits are laced in scores of scientific evidence. According to research conducted at Baltimore’s John Hopkins University, which involved observing the use of psilocybin at high doses, 94 percent of participants reported to experiencing an enhanced sense of well being and overall satisfaction in day to day life. 78 percent of touted it as one of their five most meaningful personal experiences.
The university also explored psilocybin’s potential in treating cancer patients suffering from anxiety and depression. Six months after administration, 78 percent of participants cited a major decrease in afflictions attributed to their cancer symptoms. This particular data set is interesting because it compared both high and low doses of psilocybin, the latter of which may lend credibility to the increasingly popular microdosing trend.
Clinical trials aside, the magic mushroom community has been touting the medicinal prowess of psilocybin for decades — if not centuries. The funny fungus has shown promise in a number of therapeutic settings, where it is used to help manage eating and attention-oriented disorders as well as addictions to various drugs. Although the purported merits of hallucinogenic-heavy spiritual journeys aren’t exactly easy to measure, tons of user experiences published online suggest that they can be just as beneficial for generally healthy people.
In the End
We’re probably many years away from a landscape that sees magic mushrooms fully embraced and legalized across the board — even medicinally. Still, progress is being made. The Psychedelic Research project at John Hopkins has received approximately $17 million in private funding in recent years. These efforts can go a long way in helping psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelic gain the same widespread acceptance as cannabis.