Legalized Mushrooms: The Inside Scoop
Last Tuesday, Oregon passed a first-of-its-kind measure that formally legalized mushrooms; hallucinogenic mushrooms!
Before you hop in your car with your buddies for the ultimate road ‘trip’ to Oregon, let’s dissect this a little bit.
Measure 109 specifically directs the state to establish and regulate a program whereby adults in the state will be able to consume psilocybin, a psychoactive compound found in magic mushrooms.
This move represents much more than just the decriminalization of a “controlled substance.”
What Measure 109 really accomplishes is a direct and legal pathway to psilocybin therapy.
So, why were mushrooms even illegal in the first place?
Let’s Take a ‘Trip’ Back in Time.
Some historians believe that psychedelic mushrooms have been used as far back as 9000 B.C. There are many depictions of fungi in the ancient rock paintings of several indigenous North African tribes.
Artistic representations of mushrooms are also common among ancient Mayan and Aztec ruins in Central America.
The Aztecs used a substance called teonanácatl, which roughly translates to “Mushroom God.” They used this substance in important rituals and ceremonies and many believe teonanácatl was actually magic mushrooms.
Westerners began to consume magic mushrooms in the late 1950s.
The most famous examples were Dr. Timothy Leary and Dr. Richard Alpert. They isolated the psychotropic compound psilocybin (the “magic” part of the mushroom) and experimented with it for years at Harvard University before they were both terminated.
After the very public Harvard experiments, mushrooms became directly associated with the counter culture movement. They became illegal in 1968 through an amendment to the Food, Drug, and Narcotics Act known as the Staggers-Dodd bill.
As a part of the War on Drugs, mushrooms were listed as a schedule 1 drug, alongside heroin and crack-cocaine, in 1971. According to the Federal government, mushrooms had a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use — despite research that said otherwise.
Why Legalization is a Big Deal.
If there’s one thing we know about the War on Drugs it’s that it has not worked.
However, other drugs aside, Measure 109 is so incredibly important because we now know that magic mushrooms do have accepted medical uses.
Just last week, a new scientific report found that psilocybin is very effective in treating treatment-resistant depression.
The effect was four times greater than traditional antidepressant medication; without the horrible side effects.
Studies also indicate mushrooms can treat anxiety, addiction, PTSD, OCD, and other diseases.
Measure 109 will give adult Americans access to psilocybin treatment. A natural, effective, and low-risk medicine that actually works.
Equally as important, it will make it easier for scientists to further research and understand the benefits of psilocybin.
Legalized mushrooms are a step in the right direction towards a more compassionate and scientifically sound community.