Nearly seven years ago, Colorado citizens—tired of the war on drugs and wise to the near-limitless benefits of cannabis—made US history by voting to legalize recreational marijuana. Now, this state could once again place themselves on the right side of history as they will vote in May to decriminalize magic mushrooms.
As TFTP reported last year, paving the way for legalization is a group called Denver for Psilocybin and their work has paid off. A similar group, Decriminalize Denver collected over 9,000 signatures to get the measure on the ballot which forced legislators into adding it.
“Nationally, Denver and the state of Colorado have represented the first movers in a revised understanding of the potential benefits of naturally-occurring psychoactive medicines,” the group said on its website.
“The Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Decriminalization Initiative submitted a sufficient number of valid signatures and the question will be placed on the May 7, 2019 Municipal Election ballot,” said Joe Szuszwalak of the Denver Elections Division.
If the measure passes, it would make Denver the first city in the country to decriminalize mushrooms. Although decriminalizing is not the same thing as legalizing, it is definitely a step in the right direction.
As the Denver Channel reports, the measure would not legalize the hallucinogenic drug for consumption, but rather, would make its possession a low-enforcement priority for police. It would also prohibit the City and County of Denver from spending resources on imposing criminal penalties on those 21 years of age and older in possession of the drug.
Kevin Matthews, the campaign manager for Decriminalize Denver, told Denver7 last month that 'shrooms have helped him break his own cycle of depression and sees the drug as a potential treatment for various pain and mental health-related issues.
Indeed, there are mounds of evidence and studies showing the positive benefits of magic mushrooms. Tyler Williams, one of the leaders of Denver for Psilocybin also experienced a similar life changing experience from the mushrooms.
"I had a suicide attempt November 12th of 2015 and I think it helped me get out of my depression, and it's helped me with my PTSD," Williams said.
And they are not alone.
As TFTP reported last year, a study, published in the scientific journal Neuropharmacology, found that clinically depressed people had increased neural responses to fearful faces one day after a psilocybin-assisted therapy session, which positively predicted positive clinical outcomes.
"Psilocybin-assisted therapy might mitigate depression by increasing emotional connection," neuroscientist and study author Leor Roseman, a Ph.D. student at Imperial College London, explained to PsyPost.
This is almost the exact opposite of how standard anti-depressants operate, as SSRI’s typically work by creating an “emotional blunting.”
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"[T]his is unlike SSRI antidepressants which are criticized for creating in many people a general emotional blunting," noted Roseman.
“I believe that psychedelics hold a potential to cure deep psychological wounds, and I believe that by investigating their neuropsychopharmacological mechanism, we can learn to understand this potential,” explained Roseman.
As TFTP previously reported, mushrooms and psychedelics used to be widely accepted as a treatment for many ailments until government moved in to stop the expansion of human consciousness.
In the 1940s, western medicine began realizing the potential for psychedelics to treat addiction and psychiatric disorders. Tens of thousands of people were treated effectively, and psychedelic drugs were on the fast track to becoming mainstream medicine. But the beast of oppression reared its ugly head.
In 1967 and 1970, the UK and US governments cast all psychedelic substances into the pit of prohibition. People were waking up to the fact that governments intended to keep the world in a state of war, and that governments were working to keep the populace sedated under a cloak of consumerism. The collective mind expansion of that era came to a screeching halt under the boot and truncheon.
As John Vibes pointed out last January, a study actually confirmed the fear of authoritarians and showed they have every reason to oppose legal mushrooms. According to the study from the Psychedelic Research Group at Imperial College London, published in the journal Psychopharmacology, psychedelic mushrooms tend to make people more resistant to authority. They also found the psychedelic experience induced by these mushrooms also cause people to be more connected with nature.
“Our findings tentatively raise the possibility that given in this way, psilocybin may produce sustained changes in outlook and political perspective, here in the direction of increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarianism,” researchers Taylor Lyons and Robin L. Carhart-Harris write in the study.
Now, as people share information globally, instantaneously, on a scale unstoppable by the state, we are resuming the advancement of medical research on psychedelic substances. Scientists are challenging the irrational classification of psychedelics as “class A” (UK) or “schedule 1” (US) substances, characterized as having no medical use and high potential for addiction. And, the recent push in Colorado is evidence of this.
While the stigma associated with mushrooms has been perpetuated by those who wish to keep them illegal—to keep society in a constant state of obedient mediocrity—in reality, they are extremely safe.
In fact, a major study last year declared magic mushrooms to be the safest recreational drug.
Of an astonishing 120,000 participants from 50 nations, researchers for the Global Drug Survey found the percentage of those seeking emergency treatment for ingesting psilocybin-containing hallucinogenic mushrooms to comprise just 0.2 percent per 10,000 individuals.
Rates of hospitalization for MDMA, alcohol, LSD, and cocaine were an astounding five times higher.
“Magic mushrooms are one of the safest drugs in the world,”Global Drug Survey founder and consultant addiction psychiatrist, Adam Winstock, told the Guardian, noting the biggest risk users face is misidentification — ingesting the wrong mushroom — not from the psychedelic fungus, itself.
After 40 years, it appears that another brick in the wall of prohibition is beginning to crumble in the face of science and logic. There may be hope for humanity after all.