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What Is Psilocybin?
Psilocybin is a powerful compound found in certain mushrooms. Humans have used these mushrooms for thousands of years for healing, rites of passage, spiritual insight, strengthening community, and raising consciousness. Traditional cultures came to understand that these mushrooms were to be respected, used intentionally, and with community support. In this way, many people still responsibly use psilocybin to improve their mental health, gain insights, and for their general well-being.
Yet, in 1970 the federal government categorized psilocybin as a Schedule I substance (the same classification as heroin), the classification reserved for drugs with high abuse potential and no “accepted” medical value. This brought to a halt the promising university research on psilocybin being conducted at the time. Since 1971, people possessing any amount of this naturally-occurring mushroom could be charged with a felony and thrown in prison.
Now, there is hope for a more sensible approach to psilocybin regulation, as breakthrough research is showing this substance may help address the mental health crisis in our country and enrich the lives of many adults who choose to use it.
Our people-powered movement is working to remove criminal and civil penalties for psilocybin use and possession in Denver. As a Schedule I substance, simple possession can lead to heavy fines, felony charges, incarceration, and other life-altering consequences.
No one should go to jail, lose their children, lose their job, and lose their citizen’s rights for using a mushroom. One arrest is too many for something with such low and manageable risks for most people, relative to its potential benefits.
What The Researchers Are Saying
The FDA has granted "breakthrough therapy" status to study psilocybin-assisted treatment for treatment-resistant depression. Preliminary studies from institutions like Johns Hopkins and New York University, UCLA, and Imperial College of London, suggest that psilocybin-assisted therapy could be a revolutionary treatment for:
Addiction to Tobacco and Alcohol
Depression and Anxiety in cancer patients
Numerous reports from individuals are suggesting that psilocybin may be helpful in the treatment of cluster headaches, PTSD, OCD, and for opiate addiction.
In other studies, psilocybin has been given to healthy volunteers with many of them reporting the experience as among the MOST PERSONALLY MEANINGFUL of their lives.
Researchers widely agree that psilocybin is NON-ADDICTIVE. Psilocybin is also shown to be among the LEAST TOXIC of the controlled substances and in many ways less risky than alcohol.
How Safe Is Psilocybin?
Psilocybin, used in clinical or other supervised contexts, has demonstrated an excellent safety track record. At the same time, psilocybin is not risk-free. Here are some things to know.
Under the influence of psilocybin, there is a risk of behaving in ways that could be dangerous to oneself or others, although that risk can easily be minimized. That’s why it’s advisable to have an experienced and attentive person present during psilocybin use to provide support as needed.
People who are psychologically, psychiatrically, or medically vulnerable should not use psilocybin without appropriate professional care. In today’s university studies, psilocybin is not given during pregnancy. Psilocybin temporarily raises heart rate and blood pressure, and there may be a small risk of lasting visual disturbances. In rare cases the experience can lead to confusion or psychosis that lasts longer than the psilocybin experience. These effects are usually temporary, but may call for professional care. Screening and preparation can minimize most of these risks.
The Benefits Can Be Profound
Criminalization Is Not Warranted
Although the preliminary studies are very promising, it is too soon to draw final conclusions about using psilocybin as a medical treatment. However, it is evident that psilocybin can be of great benefit to many, while (according to an expert panel) adverse effects are relatively infrequent and generally mild.
According to The Global Drug Survey, mushrooms are the safest of all substances that people use recreationally with only 0.2% of the people who reported using psilocybin in 2016 saying that they sought acute medical care.
The risks of psilocybin use to public health and safety do not warrant criminalization.
The U.S. government reports that 22.8 million Americans have used psilocybin at least once. As research dissolves the taboo around it, more people are considering psilocybin as a tool for their own personal healing and wellness.
Research tells us that “mindset and setting” are primary factors in determining user experience.
It stands to reason that decriminalizing psilocybin mushrooms will not only open up the door for more research and more appropriate regulation…
It will also lessen potential risks that come from a mindset that’s fearful of criminal consequences, from uneducated usage, and from pushing use underground.
It is time to STOP ARRESTING ADULTS who choose to use mushrooms.
No adult should be punished for using something that grows naturally and may support their health and well-being.