The power of plants is the foundation of cannabis reform. Unbeknownst to most cannabis-consumers, plants as medicine isn’t limited to weed. Psilocybin, commonly referred to as simply mushrooms, is a plant-based medicine finally getting the attention it deserves.
For those new to the term, Psilocybin is a naturally-occurring psychedelic compound produced by a couple hundred different species of fungus. Human bodies have been found to turn Psilocybin into Psilocin, which attaches itself to Serotonin, a key hormone in stabilizing mood. Research has halted since the early 1970s. Consequently, as plant-based lifestyles have become popularized through the mid 2000s and going into the new decade, herbal medicines have started to gain traction again. Previous research has reaffirmed its use with psychiatric disorders, personal and spiritual development, and, believe it or not, inspiring creativity.
A medical recommendation for Psilocybin is sadly laughable. With Oregon’s newest ballot measure, legalizing the sale and use of it, they’re changing the landscape of that thought completely.
Now, before you get too excited, you won’t be able to buy mushrooms at Whole Foods or a dispensary. The fine print in Measure 109 is a little more complicated. Written by an Oregon-based psychiatrist, the measure will go through a 2-year process to set up a system of regulation for its use. However, the measure doesn’t decriminalize it yet. This does make some sense seeing that you can’t use it legally without supervision. We’ll have to stay tuned to see if that changes. Still, veterans in the state heavily supported the measure.
“Psychedelic-assisted therapy is life-saving medicine that the world needs now, especially highly traumatized populations like veterans, first responders and marginalized communities generally.”David Bronner, CEO of Dr.Bronner, via OPB
In the argument of both cannabis and psilocybin as medicine, this gets them closer to breaking down the stigma and, eventually, decriminalizing them. At the moment, there are no published studies with psilocybin and veterans. Despite this, there’s anecdotal evidence of its help with anxiety, depression, as well as Post-traumatic Stress Order. Considering the difficulty in finding consistent treatments, the VA should be more open to both plants.
“There is evidence that veterans are particularly hard to treat with conventional evidence-based therapies, which increases the need for novel therapies that are safe and effective.”Dr. Rakesh Jetly, Head of Centre of Excellence on Mental Health in Ottawa, Ontario
At the moment, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs claims more than 1.7 million veterans suffer from a mental illness. The lack of treatment–options outside of opiates is limited due to research. The required 2-year development period could prove tremendously helpful to the cause. Psilocybin administered by a ‘trained facilitator’ suggests research into their findings. Research and education, more than anything, is best to change legislation.
Start Low, Go Slow?
In addition to Oregon’s psilocybin laws, Washington D.C. has made some more drastic changes. The capital has criminalized all small amounts of drugs. Specifically, it makes “prosecution of those who use and sell the substances among the Metropolitan Police Department’s lowest law enforcement priorities.”
While many cannabis pundits have appalled the swift move for personal responsibility, others have argued if it’s totally justified. What do you think? Is unbiased preliminary study an appropriate step toward decriminalization or is ripping the criminalized bandaid off a better option?