“Alice in Wonderland” may have been the very first introduction to the world of magic mushrooms for most of us, but today, these fungi are not kid-friendly. The active ingredient in “shrooms” is psilocybin, and it’s an uber-powerful psychedelic.
For decades, psilocybin has been solidly placed on the “Do Not Use” list of Schedule I illegal substances. The federal government saw no legitimate purpose for the perception-altering, hallucination-inducing magic mushrooms.
But, according to substantial research on the subject, the government may have been wrong.
Magic or Natural, Shrooms May Be Helpful
Evidence of psilocybin’s therapeutic benefits, both on its own and when combined with cannabis, shows that there may be a medicinal use for shrooms that goes well beyond making Alice bigger and smaller.
Interested in learning more about these potent natural drugs? Read on to learn everything you need to know about magic mushrooms.
1. Research is Promising But Limited
The federal government has a history of banning inappropriate substances that are later removed from the prohibited list. For instance, liquor was infamously banned during the Prohibition Era, from 1919-to 1930.
Starting in the mid-1930s up through the Baby Boom generation, marijuana was strictly prohibited. Around the 1970s, states began to see the potential for medical marijuana, and research was slowly approved behind the scenes. Today, cannabis is legal in almost every part of the country.
Now, psilocybin may be added to this list on a less widespread level. Research is hard to come by because of the Schedule I list, but what is available has shown that this drug is linked to treating certain psychiatric and behavioral conditions. The medical world could legally use magic mushrooms with more research and fewer restrictions.
2. Some States Are Actively Seeking To Decriminalize Shrooms
All legalization starts at the state ballot, and in Colorado and Oregon, the legislation ball is rolling.
Known for being weed-friendly, Denver, Colorado, and Oregon have stepped up to add psilocybin to their list of medical drugs. The 2020 Denver state ballot to reduce criminal penalties for state-licensed facilities to use psilocybin on research passed, paving the way for further legislation.
Denver is currently in the process of easing restrictions against using psilocybin for mental health therapy and enacting training for first responders to better handle those in a psilocybin crisis.
We’ve seen firsthand how other states watch when one does this kind of out-of-the-box behavior. Oakland and Santa Cruz, California, were the next cities to follow Denver’s path, and more are expected to join them over the next few years.
3. Mushrooms Can Help With Depression, Smoking, and More
So how can something once used as a hallucinogenic trip-inducer benefit the global population? Well, when approached strategically, it has properties that treat depression, smoking, and possibly cancer stress.
People with severe and chronic depression treated with psilocybin have shown such improvement that the FDA is considering approval as a breakthrough therapy.
Studies by well-renowned medical centers like Johns Hopkins show that psilocybin-assisted therapy can relieve depressive symptoms for up to one year.
On top of depression, the drug shows the potential to help treat substance abuse disorders. If you’re addicted to smoking, alcohol, or cocaine, psilocybin may help break the cycle of addiction. The key is to use the drug with professional experts to avoid a new addiction.
Finally, preliminary studies link a reduction in cancer-caused anxiety with magic mushroom use. Someone facing a potentially terminal diagnosis like cancer understandably has serious stress.
Since 2011, research has followed medical providers as they prescribe psilocybin to terminal cancer patients. The results have been consistently impressive. Using psilocybin as a supplemental treatment to the cancer regime can improve the patient’s quality of life and reduce levels of depression and anxiety.
While magic mushrooms may not get the nationwide acceptance that weed has managed to obtain, psilocybin’s use in the medical world is becoming acknowledged.
The train is already in motion now that Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz have officially decriminalized the drug. Will the rest of the country follow?