Hawaii Lawmakers Introduce Plan To Study Psychedelic Mushrooms With Goal Of Legalizing Access

A pair of Hawaii lawmakers is pushing to explore the therapeutic potential of psychedelic mushrooms, introducing legislation that could one day make psilocybin-based products available to medical patients in the state.

The package of resolutions, introduced last week by Sen. Les Ihara Jr. and Rep. Chris Lee, both Democrats, asks the state Department of Health to convene a “medicinal psilocybin working group” that would examine available evidence around the use of psychedelic mushrooms and eventually “develop a long-term strategic plan to ensure the availability of medicinal psilocybin or psilocybin-based products that are safe, accessible, and affordable for eligible adult patients.”

The proposal comes as a number of other jurisdictions around the U.S. explore relaxing laws around psychedelics, such as by expanding opportunities for therapeutic use or decriminalizing simple possession. In Hawaii, possession of psilocybin mushrooms is currently illegal under both state and federal law.

Read more here

Magic Mushroom Effects: Single Take Improves Long-Term Mindfulness

A recent study provides new evidence that magic mushrooms have health benefits. Researchers found that a single take on the drug could help improve mindfulness and openness even for months.

The new study, published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology, shows that people become more curious and open to new experiences after just one psychedelic experience. Researchers said such positive effect of magic mushrooms could last for months after the first intake, IFL Science reported.

Health Benefits Of Magic Mushrooms

The researchers gathered 10 healthy individuals to test the effects of magic mushrooms. All participants never used psychedelic drugs prior to the study.

The participants reported that they continued to experience the same positive effects of magic mushrooms three months after the test. Researchers then collected PET brain scans to see how the drug caused changes in the brain.

They found changes in the serotonin receptor 5-HT2AR in the brain, which potentially contributed to the long-term feel-good effects of the drug. The receptor appeared binding even one week after exposure to psilocybin.

Read the full article at Medical Daily

Why Massachusetts Should Legalize Magic Mushrooms

“It wasn’t all that long ago that legal pot in the good ol’ “Just Say No” USA seemed like a fantasy. While it seemed rather absurd that you could go to jail for a drug that arguably caused minimal social harm, common sense didn’t seem to make a dent in our drug policies. And then, slowly, things changed.

I know what you’re thinking, but the idea is actually not as crazy as it sounds. In the past year alone, Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz have each voted to decriminalize natural psychedelics, including mushrooms. Washington D.C. this week took a major step toward a ballot question that would do the same.

The fact is, we’re at a cultural and scientific inflection point, rapidly and radically reconsidering what we thought we knew about drugs such as psilocybin (the chemical that makes magic mushrooms magic), LSD, and even MDMA and Ketamine.

The fact is, we’re at a cultural and scientific inflection point, rapidly and radically reconsidering what we thought we knew about drugs such as psilocybin (the chemical that makes magic mushrooms magic), LSD, and even MDMA and Ketamine. While mainstream society over the past half-century has often dismissed them as the stuff of burnt-out hippies and party kids or condemned them as downright dangerous, both the medical establishment and Silicon Valley have begun to loudly advocate for their untapped and possibly revolutionary therapeutic potential.

Researchers at Harvard are already dipping their toes in the water, studying potential psychedelic treatments, specifically MDMA. These studies are already operating with approval from and under the watchful eye of the feds, but legalization would allow experts to do things like, say, put their findings to use in therapeutic settings.

Read more at Boston

Single dose of magic mushrooms can reduce anxiety, depression in cancer patients, study finds

“Scientists ain’t trippin’.

It’s already known that small amounts of magic mushrooms can benefit the mind. However, groundbreaking research shows that only a single dose of the psychedelic fungi can reduce cancer-related mental health issues in the long term, according to a study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology on Jan. 28.

The landmark research was a followup of a 2016 John Hopkins trial — using 51 subjects — studying whether magic mushrooms could relieve death anxiety and depression in cancer patients. The participants at that time were administered either high or low doses of synthetic psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in mushrooms. Researchers then gave their subjects the opposite doses five weeks later, per the findings published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

However, he had vastly underestimated how long the benefits of a single psilocybin dose could last. When scientists conducted a follow-up about four years later with 15 members of the original 2016 trials, they found that up to 80% experienced “positive life changes” from the treatment.

“The drug seems to facilitate a deep, meaningful experience that stays with a person and can fundamentally change his or her mindset and outlook,” said Gabby Agin-Liebes, lead author of the long-term follow-up study and co-author of the 2016 study.

Nonetheless, the landmark results could help pave the way for more clinical trials involving psilocybin, and perhaps even help accelerate mushroom legalization. Last year, Oakland, California, and Denver, Colorado, became the first US cities to decriminalize the trippy truffles.

NEW YORK POST

Here’s how much ‘magic mushroom retreats’ like Goop Lab’s actually cost

“In a new series for Netflix, staffers for Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop dove head-first into the increasingly popular practice of “wellness travel.” But this isn’t just your typical day at the spa. Instead, staffers flew eight hours to test out the healing properties of psychedelic mushrooms.

For the first episode of the all-new series “The Goop Lab,” premiering on Netflix on Jan. 24, four Goopers, as the staffers are called, traveled to Jamaica, where the use of psychedelic mushrooms is legal. In the U.S. the possession and cultivation of magic mushrooms are illegal because they contain the chemical compound psilocybin, which is listed in Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The mission, according to Loehnen, was to “explore psychedelics in a therapeutic setting.” The staffers nominated themselves, and all were seeking slightly different outcomes, ranging from self-exploratory to improving mental health. One staffer simply wanted to feel more creative, two Goopers wanted to work on processing some personal trauma and Loehnen, who also went on the retreat, wanted to have a “psycho-spiritual experience.”

Viewers watch several staffers break down in tears at different points after drinking the mushroom tea, talking out loud to the on-site therapists. Meanwhile, Loehnen experiences uncontrollable giggling, saying “I feel like such a cliche.” Yet in the end, several of the staffers note how healing they felt the experience was.

The practice of taking magic mushrooms remains controversial. It’s worth noting, for example, that a 2016 survey fielded by Johns Hopkins researchers and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that of the people who had bad experiences after taking psilocybin mushrooms, 10% felt their “bad trip” put themselves or others in danger. Yet many who experienced the negative side effects of ’shrooms — which can include hallucinations, dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, and paranoia — still said the experience was “meaningful” and “worthwhile.”

Read the full article at CNBC

Here’s how much ‘magic mushroom retreats’ like Goop Lab’s actually cost

In a new series for Netflix, staffers for Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop dove head-first into the increasingly popular practice of “wellness travel.” But this isn’t just your typical day at the spa. Instead, staffers flew eight hours to test out the healing properties of psychedelic mushrooms.

For the first episode of the all-new series “The Goop Lab,” premiering on Netflix on Jan. 24, four Goopers, as the staffers are called, traveled to Jamaica, where the use of psychedelic mushrooms is legal. In the U.S. the possession and cultivation of magic mushrooms are illegal because they contain the chemical compound psilocybin, which is listed in Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The mission, according to Loehnen, was to “explore psychedelics in a therapeutic setting.” The staffers nominated themselves, and all were seeking slightly different outcomes, ranging from self-exploratory to improving mental health. One staffer simply wanted to feel more creative, two Goopers wanted to work on processing some personal trauma and Loehnen, who also went on the retreat, wanted to have a “psycho-spiritual experience.”

Viewers watch several staffers break down in tears at different points after drinking the mushroom tea, talking out loud to the on-site therapists. Meanwhile, Loehnen experiences uncontrollable giggling, saying “I feel like such a cliche.” Yet in the end, several of the staffers note how healing they felt the experience was.

The practice of taking magic mushrooms remains controversial. It’s worth noting, for example, that a 2016 survey fielded by Johns Hopkins researchers and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that of the people who had bad experiences after taking psilocybin mushrooms, 10% felt their “bad trip” put themselves or others in danger. Yet many who experienced the negative side effects of ’shrooms — which can include hallucinations, dizziness, drowsiness, vomiting, and paranoia — still said the experience was “meaningful” and “worthwhile.”

Read More at CNBC

Shroom-Therapy Startup Edges Toward FDA Approval

“Just a few years ago, if you wanted to hear about the benefits of psychedelic drugs, your best bet was to head over to the parking lot outside the local jam band concert and flag down the guy in the tie-dye selling “magic mushrooms.” Today there are better options. You could, for instance, fly down to the Waldorf Astoria’s gated beachside resort in Boca Raton, Fla., and—between spa appointments and rounds of golf—take in the keynote address at the CNS Summit, an annual Big Pharma conference.

This plan might sound like swirling colors to anyone who lived through President Richard Nixon’s crusade against Harvard professor Timothy Leary, the high priest of acid trips. In the decades since Nixon branded Leary and hallucinogens, public enemies, as part of his “war on drugs,” all but a few psychiatrists have avoided publicly testing psychedelics’ medical benefits for fear of excommunication from their field. Now, though, attitudes are changing fast.

The advisers’ bona fides are at least as important as the eight-figure funding. For the FDA to say yes to shroom therapy, “you’re going to have to be more rigorous, and more risk-averse, and more Catholic than the pope,” says Insel, who’s also an investor. “You’re going to have to do this in a way that is very carefully scientific, with the best scientists, the best clinical trials, the most conservative and rigorous design, and the most careful data analysis.”

If psilocybin proves effective against treatment-resistant depression, patients may be content to leave some whys unanswered. Today’s go-to treatments, psycho­therapy, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors work for only about 70% of patients, leaving as many as 90 million still struggling around the globe, according to the World Health Organization.

Read the full article at Bloomberg Businessweek

People Are Deliberately ‘Horror-Tripping’ on Mushrooms

“Generally, a ‘bad trip’ is the last thing you want from a sesh on psychedelics. When it feels like the darkest corners of your mind slither to the forefront of your thoughts, you usually fumble for a way out. But that’s not always the case. “Dark trips help you see things in a way that good trips won’t let you,” says Enrique, 26, from Ojai, a small city northwest of Los Angeles. “Dark trips grab you by the skull and shake the shit right out of you.” He would know. He turned to “horror-tripping” – intentionally going down a negative cerebral path, to challenge yourself – while going through heroin withdrawal.

As an LSD veteran, Enrique knew the power of psychedelics, but, he says magic mushrooms delivered a sense of clarity like nothing else: “Letting in the darkness by tripping teaches you a lesson – and you damn well pay attention to it.”

In both the UK and the US, funding is flowing towards research into psilocybin, the active component of magic mushrooms, as a treatment for depression. The world’s first formal centre for psychedelic research launched at Imperial College London in April, with scientists there suggesting psilocybin will have a major impact on psychiatry in the next few years. Adam Winstock, consultant psychiatrist and founder of the Global Drugs Survey, has told VICE that when the 2020 report is released next month, it will show a spike in people attempting to self-treat with psychedelics.

Across the Atlantic Ocean, a chill creeping in with the dank scent of autumn means the start of the UK’s magic mushroom season. Scores of spindly fungi are pushing up through the earth and into the light, ripe to be plucked until around the end of November.

Continue reading at Vice

Jamaica Launches The World Magic Mushroom Center

“The University of the West Indies in Mona is launching the world’s first research facility to focus on psychedelic lifeforms. Researchers will study what makes so-called “magic mushrooms” psychedelic, for example. Funded in total by a Canadian psychedelic firm called Field Trip Ventures, the goal is to put research findings toward creating profitable products and services.; The announcement of the new psychedelic research facility came a few weeks after Johns Hopkins became the largest such center in the world.

According to Field Trip Ventures’ co-founder Ronan Levy, two potential business targets have been identified. One involves the establishment of ways to measure the mushrooms’ psychedelic properties in order to provide clearer expectations of their effects on humans. The other is to identify intellectual property that could be patented, as the firm will retain the rights to all discoveries made at the facility. Levy did not disclose how much his company is investing in the project, saying there was no set limit to the number of funds that will be provided to the Jamaican research center.

Ten scientists will be employed at the center with more staff to be added in the future. Some of the scientists will be employees of Field Trip Ventures, while others will be from the University of the West Indies.

Field Trip Ventures is in the process of constructing psychedelic clinics throughout North America, including in the cities of New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto, In the hope that new psychedelic drugs will be found to have therapeutic properties. Currently, only ketamine is legal for such use. The company has not yet identified any new psychedelic molecules, however.

Jamaican.com

Magic Mushrooms As Medicine? Johns Hopkins Scientists Says Psychedelics Could Treat Alzheimer’s, Depression And Addiction.

“Just a few decades ago, the approach would have been unfathomable to many. Using psychedelic drugs to treat people with PTSD? Depression? Addiction? To make them stop smoking? To perhaps treat Alzheimer’s? Wow. Just say no. Weren’t these the drugs we were told growing up gave you emotional disorders? But times have changed, and today, as with so many other cultural shifts, people are taking a second look at some of the things considered taboo not so long ago. And it just could be that the same generation that popularized the drugs could benefit from their therapeutic potential.

Roland R. Griffiths, Ph.D., a psychopharmacologist and professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and the Department of Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said in an interview that the approach could offer “an entirely new paradigm for treating psychiatric disorders.”

He should know. Griffiths initiated the psilocybin research program at Johns Hopkins almost 20 years ago and led studies investigating the effects of its use by healthy volunteers. His research group at Johns Hopkins was the first to obtain regulatory approval in the U.S. to re-initiate research with psychedelics in psychedelic-naïve healthy volunteers in 2000. Griffiths said his group’s 2006 publication in the journal Psychopharmacology on psilocybin is widely considered the landmark study that sparked a renewal of psychedelic research worldwide.

Griffiths will head up the new Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins Medicine. The first of its kind in the U.S. and the largest research center of its kind in the world, the center is being funded initially by a $17 million donation from a group of private donors to advance the emerging field of psychedelics for therapies and wellness. The center will house a team of six faculty neuroscientists, experimental psychologists, and clinicians with expertise in psychedelic science, as well as five postdoctoral scientists. Graduate and medical students who want to work in psychedelic science, but have had few avenues to study in such a field, will be trained at the center.

Psychedelics are a class of pharmacological compounds that produce unique and profound changes of consciousness. The most common psychedelics are psilocybin, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), DMT (dimethyltryptamine), and mescaline. Much of Griffiths’ work is focused on psilocybin, the chemical found in so-called magic mushrooms.

Although research with these compounds began in the 1950s and 1960s in America, Griffiths said it was the “cultural trauma” of the psychedelic 60s—which included some adverse effects of the compounds—that ended it in the early 1970s. The unfavorable media coverage that ensued resulted in misperceptions of the risks of the drugs and highly restrictive regulations.

Continue reading at Forbes

Should Magic Mushrooms Be Legal?

“Marijuana is becoming legal in more parts of the country, both medicinally and recreationally. A new group of advocates is following the pot playbook to change laws regarding hallucinogens, specifically magic mushrooms.

A small but growing campaign to legalize magic mushrooms has spread its spores into a handful of spots across the United States. In May, Denver became the first city in the country to decriminalize psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms. A month later, the Oakland City Council did the same. Under decriminalization, psilocybin is still officially illegal, but city agencies do not enforce laws that ban it.

Under federal law, psilocybin and similar hallucinogens are classified by the U.S. government as Schedule I drugs, substances with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

Supporters of legalizing magic mushrooms point to evidence that the classification is incorrect on both counts. Recent research suggests psilocybin may be an effective treatment for psychological issues such as depression and anxiety. Magic mushrooms also come with a low risk of addiction, studies suggest. There is some evidence that psilocybin can help people break their addictions to other substances, specifically smoking.

Read the full article at Yahoo News

Should Magic Mushrooms Be Legal?

“Marijuana is becoming legal in more parts of the country, both medicinally and recreationally. A new group of advocates is following the pot playbook to change laws regarding hallucinogens, specifically magic mushrooms.

A small but growing campaign to legalize magic mushrooms has spread its spores into a handful of spots across the United States. In May, Denver became the first city in the country to decriminalize psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms. A month later, the Oakland City Council did the same. Under decriminalization, psilocybin is still officially illegal, but city agencies do not enforce laws that ban it.

Under federal law, psilocybin and similar hallucinogens are classified by the U.S. government as Schedule I drugs, substances with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

Why there’s a debate:

Supporters of legalizing magic mushrooms point to evidence that the classification is incorrect on both counts. Recent research suggests psilocybin may be an effective treatment for psychological issues such as depression and anxiety. Magic mushrooms also come with a low risk of addiction, studies suggest. There is some evidence that psilocybin can help people break their addictions to other substances, specifically smoking.

Many of these benefits, some say, are present when users practice “microdosing” — taking a small amount that provides psychological benefits without creating a hallucinogenic effect. Microdosing can improve creativity and focus, practitioners report.

Perspectives

Psilocybin may be a revolutionary treatment for depression

“It’s really unprecedented in medical history to see effects for depression that are caused by a single medication.” — Johns Hopkins University researcher Matthew Johnson to NPR

The drug should be made accessible to certain vulnerable groups

“If Prozac had the effects observed in the best current studies on psychedelics, withholding it from the depressed or dying would be considered a human rights violation as serious as failing, out of spite, to set a broken leg.” — Graeme Wood, Atlantic.

Continue reading at Yahoo News

Could Magic Mushrooms Ever Replace Today’s Antidepressants?

“Interest in using hallucinogens, such as magic mushrooms, to treat depression is on the rise, fueled by the results of early clinical trials in people with cancer.

Researchers caution it will be several years before data is available from the first randomized trials of psilocybin — the hallucinogenic compound in magic mushrooms — for depression in those without cancer.

But advocates say psilocybin could provide an effective treatment for depression with fewer side effects than current antidepressants, which leave many people emotionally “blunted.”

“The work is very promising, with large effects shown for depression in the two largest studies in cancer patients, and large effects in the single published study outside of cancer,” said Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

One of these studies — conducted in 2016 by researchers at Imperial College London and other institutions — found that a single dose of psilocybin had a long-lasting effect on people with moderate to severe major depression.

“This study showed an antidepressant effect after a week and enduring for a couple of months,” said Dr. Stephen Ross, co-director of the NYU Psychedelic Research Group in New York City.

However, he points out the study didn’t compare people taking psilocybin to people not taking the drug — the control group. So, the study results don’t necessarily show that psilocybin works for depression.

The strongest psilocybin data so far is for treating anxiety and depression in people with cancer, carried out in two clinical trials by Ross and other researchers at NYU and by Johnson and others at Johns Hopkins University.

These studies, which included 80 participants combined, showed that psilocybin worked better than a non-hallucinogenic placebo for treating cancer-related depression.

More of this story at Healthline

Could Magic Mushrooms Ever Replace Today’s Antidepressants?

“Interest in using hallucinogens, such as magic mushrooms, to treat depression is on the rise, fueled by the results of early clinical trials in people with cancer.

Researchers caution it will be several years before data is available from the first randomized trials of psilocybin — the hallucinogenic compound in magic mushrooms — for depression in those without cancer.

But advocates say psilocybin could provide an effective treatment for depression with fewer side effects than current antidepressants, which leave many people emotionally “blunted.”

“The work is very promising, with large effects shown for depression in the two largest studies in cancer patients, and large effects in the single published study outside of cancer,” said Matthew W. Johnson, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

Promising results of early clinical trials

One of these studies — conducted in 2016 by researchers at Imperial College London and other institutions — found that a single dose of psilocybin had a long-lasting effect on people with moderate to severe major depression.

“This study showed an antidepressant effect after a week and enduring for a couple of months,” said Dr. Stephen Ross, co-director of the NYU Psychedelic Research Group in New York City.

However, he points out the study didn’t compare people taking psilocybin to people not taking the drug — the control group. So, the study results don’t necessarily show that psilocybin works for depression.

The strongest psilocybin data so far is for treating anxiety and depression in people with cancer, carried out in two clinical trials by Ross and other researchers at NYU and by Johnson and others at Johns Hopkins University.

Interest in psilocybin research, but also hurdles

In addition to the research being done at NYU, Johns Hopkins, and other universities, two pharma like companies is also doing psilocybin research.

Usona Institute in Madison, Wisconsin, is planning a multisite phase II study of psilocybin for major depression. This kind of early clinical trial focuses on determining the best dose of psilocybin to use and its safety.

Ross will be the lead investigator for the NYU site. He says the hope is that this research, once completed, will go on to a full randomized clinical trial, also known as phase III.

The other company is U.K.-based COMPASS Pathways. It’s beginning a randomized clinical trial looking at psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression.

In 2018, the company received breakthrough therapy designation from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this therapy.

Continue reading at Healthline

The Heady Thorny Journey To Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms

“Denver café populated almost entirely by young people staring at laptops, Travis Tyler Fluck—dressed in an orange velour jacket, over which is draped a thin braided lock of hair—takes out his phone and pulls up Craigslist.

A quick search lands him on a post advertising $10 magic mushrooms, with a poorly lit photo of said mushrooms. A good deal for anyone but Fluck, who helped leads the ballot campaign to essentially decriminalize magic mushrooms in this city by making enforcement an extremely low priority, a measure that passed by the slimmest of margins early last month.

Instead of reaching out to the seller, he flags the post. After all, the measure says you can grow and possess mushrooms for personal use, but that doesn’t mean you can sell them. Selling on Craigslist is a bad look for a measure that a small majority of voters approved.

Kevin Matthews—director of Decriminalize Denver, which led the ballot campaign—arrives and sits down on a couch opposite Fluck, who shows him the post on his screen.

Meanwhile, the psilocybin decriminalization movement is snowballing at an incredible clip. Last week, the Oakland, California, city council voted unanimously to decriminalize a range of psychedelic plants, including mushrooms and cacti. And Oregon is considering a measure in 2020 to allow access to “guided psilocybin services,” while lowering penalties for possession.

How quickly is the push to decriminalize psilocybin progressing, exactly? So quickly that it’s even surprised psychedelics advocates. “The fact that it’s happening so fast is kind of amazing,” says Brad Burge, spokesperson for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which leads studies of psychedelic therapies, including the aforementioned MDMA trial. “Here we have some of the very first policy measures ever to be proposed around the decriminalization of psychedelic substances and they’re passing. This is so surprising, I’ve only just had a chance to start thinking about it.”

Read the full article at Wired

Denver Just Voted to Decriminalize Psychedelic Mushrooms

“Denver will become the first US city to effectively decriminalize mushrooms containing the psychedelic psilocybin, also known as “magic mushrooms.”

Initiative 301 makes the personal use and possession of psilocybin mushrooms among people 21 and older the lowest possible law enforcement priority in Denver. It also prohibits the city from spending resources to pursue criminal penalties related to the use or possession of psilocybin mushrooms among people 21 and older.

And the initiative sets up “the psilocybin mushroom policy review panel to assess and report on the effects of the ordinance.”

The initiative doesn’t legalize magic mushrooms; they remain illegal under state and federal law. And it doesn’t decriminalize or deprioritize enforcement against the distribution and sales of psilocybin mushrooms — all of that could still be pursued by police.

According to the Washington Post, Denver police arrested about 50 people a year over the past three years for possession or sale of psilocybin, and prosecutors acted on just 11 of the cases. That’s out of thousands of arrests overall in the city each year.

Voting began in Colorado, which does mail-in voting, last month and mostly concluded Tuesday (although a very small number of overseas and military votes can still come in). Things looked bad for the initiative late Tuesday, as it trailed behind in the results. But on Wednesday, the final tally came in — and showed Initiative 301 narrowly won with nearly 51 percent of the vote, according to the Denver Post and New York Times.

One potential source of real-world evidence on this: Portugal. After the country decriminalized all drugs, it saw a decrease in drug-related deaths and drops in reported past-year and past-month drug use, according to a 2014 report from the Transform Drug Policy Foundation. But it also saw an increase in lifetime prevalence of drug use, as well as an uptick in reported use among teens after 2007.

What effects psilocybin decriminalization will have in the US, Colorado, or Denver, however, remain to be seen. Even more so than marijuana legalization, this is an area of policy that’s largely untested in modern America.

Continue Reading at Vox

Magic Mushrooms Could Be Decriminalized in Denver

“Now that marijuana is legal for recreational and medical use in Colorado, a portion of the public has turned its attention to decriminalizing psilocybin in Denver, the hallucinogen/psychedelic known as “magic mushrooms.” Initiative 301 will appear on municipal ballots on May 7, alongside another initiative that would legalize urban camping. The psilocybin question asks voters whether they support a change to city code “that would make the personal use and personal possession of psilocybin mushrooms by person twenty-one (21) years of age and older the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority.”

In his 2018 book How To Change Your Mind, Michael Pollan—yes, he of the Omnivore’s Dilemma—explores whether science and the pharmaceutical industry can ever surmount psilocybin’s fraught countercultural history to examine it as a potential therapeutic treatment. Pollan’s book is lengthy, but a fascinating read for supporters and skeptics of psychedelics alike. I highly recommend it. He writes that since this mushroom’s discovery (by the West) in the mid-1950s, psilocybin has been shown by brain-imaging studies to create a “high-entropy brain,” in which “new connections spring up among regions that ordinarily kept mainly to themselves.” Researchers, led by Robin Carhartt-Harris of the Imperial College London, wrote in a 2014 paper that this temporary reconfiguring of the brain could potentially be useful in treating psychological disorders marked by mental rigidity such as addiction.

The Takeout

Can LSD and Magic Mushrooms Help Win Wars?

“Sanctioned psychedelic drug use as a medical or psychological treatment method is gaining ground as part of today’s hallucinogenic renaissance.

Recent scientific studies approved by the Food and Drug Administration have yielded positive cognitive results when administering “microdoses” of the drugs lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD, and psilocybin, the alkaloid in hallucinogenic mushrooms.

But could this new wave of unorthodox treatment ever find its way into the ranks of the military? According to an article by Marine Maj. Emre Albayrak that was published in the February issue of the Marine Corps Gazette, it certainly should.

Microdosing, which refers to administering a minuscule quantity of the drug in order to avoid hallucinations or debilitating effects in the patient, is already being used by “scientists, Silicon Valley executives, biologists, biohackers, and others” to achieve a mental edge, Albayrak writes.

Administering in such doses has the potential to “significantly heighten alertness, creativity, and problem-solving.”

But an inability to process “superhuman” amounts of information in a community in which “one percent gains provide significant advantages” on the battlefield necessitates a better solution, Albayrak suggests.

Enter LSD and magic mushrooms.

“Like most hallucinogens, LSD mimics the effects of serotonin (a mood regulator),” the author says and activates enhanced mental acuity in the areas of learning and memory.

Additionally, the drug commonly referred to as “acid” can decrease blood circulation to the part of the brain that instigates periods of mind wandering.

Read the full article at Marine Times

Could Mushrooms Be The Next Drug To Be Decriminalised?

“Marijuana and magic mushrooms. One’s a plant, one’s a fungi, both are illegal – for now.

But psychedelic drug reform is already happening in the US. The city of Denver, which has already legalized recreational cannabis, is preparing to vote on whether to decriminalize magic mushrooms in May.

With New Zealand moving towards a referendum on our cannabis laws, News-hub spoke to Victoria University drug use expert Dr Fiona Hutton about whether or not we need to take a look at our laws on mushrooms.

Magic mushrooms (or shrooms) contain psilocybin, which is converted in the body to the psychedelic substance psilocin. They’re classified as Class A, meaning they come with the strongest penalties if you get caught with them.

Possession is a maximum of six months in prison – while the maximum penalty for supply is life in prison.

In medical trials, patients reported improvements in anxiety and depression. Other studies found psilocybin could help users kick their drug, alcohol, and nicotine addictions.

In the US, drug researchers, including Johns Hopkins University researcher Dr Matthew Johnson, said they were worried about the risk of bad trips and how people with psychotic disorders could be affected.

According to the 2017 annual Global Drug Survey, which relies on self-reported drug use, the rate of users who needed emergency medical care after using mushrooms was three times lower that of cannabis.

And research by UK drug expert Prof Nutt found that mushrooms were statistically the least dangerous out of 20 drugs, including alcohol, tobacco, cannabis and LSD.

Read the full article at Newshub

Denver Should Legalize Magic Mushrooms

“The decriminalization of magic (psilocybin) mushrooms is going to be on the ballot in Denver in May, and voters should definitely go for it.

On February 1, the Denver Elections Division certified a petition from decriminalization activists, noting that it had received enough signatures for voters to decide on the issue in the municipal election. The measure would decriminalize the use of psilocybin — or “magic” — mushrooms within city limits.

It’s important to note that the measure would not legalize the drug, but simply make stopping possession of it a low priority for police, prohibiting the city and county from using any of its resources to punish people ages 21 and older for possessing the drug. The drug would still, of course, be considered illegal on the federal level.

Although mushrooms are a drug that may carry a lot of stigma, voters would be right to pass this measure in May. In fact, speaking generally, I would argue that drug decriminalization is always the right choice. After all, we are supposed to be a country that was founded on the principles of freedom and individual liberty, and locking people up for what they choose to put in their own bodies certainly seems opposite to that philosophy.

Another study suggests that mushrooms are also helpful for the mental health of those who are suffering with life-threatening illnesses. In 2016, a Johns Hopkins study reported that cancer patients who had received psilocybin experienced an average 78 percent reduction in depression and an 83 percent reduction in anxiety.

Read the full article at National Review