DC just decriminalized psilocybin

Published Mar 22, 2021 09:00 a.m. ET
iStock / Yarygin

Do you live in D.C. and enjoy the benefits of magic mushrooms? If your answer is yes, then you will be happy about Initiative 81. Police enforcement agencies will now put laws against psychedelic plants at the lowest possible priority. Initiative 81 has made it so that Washington D.C. is loosening the rules surrounding psychedelic plants, including magic mushrooms. The law which passed last fall has now become a reality.

Policy

Changes to the way D.C. enforces the non-commercial cultivation, distribution, planting, possession, and use of fungi and entheogenic plants have occurred due to The Entheogenic Plant and Fungus Policy Act of 2020. Magic mushrooms and mescaline-containing cacti are two plants that fall within this category. If you are investigated and arrested for engaging in psilocybin, it will be the police department's lowest priority. However, this initiative does not entirely legalize these substances.

Explain, please

Decriminalize Nature D.C led the initiative that decriminalized magic mushrooms. The group's focus was directed at ensuring that psilocybin was decriminalized so that it could benefit those living with mental health issues, including PTSD and depression. The movement's organizer first turned to the benefits of magic mushrooms as a last resort for her own ongoing battle with postpartum depression.

Her suffering was the catapult for ensuring that Initiative 81 was on the ballot. Over a year of campaigning and educating residents in D.C on the health benefits of psilocybin has been rewarded with the passing of the new law.

Long-lasting benefits

A study conducted in 2016 tested the effects of a single dose. One-time use of psilocybin, when combined with psychotherapy on a cancer patient suffering from depression and anxiety, was successful. The latest study has revealed that 60% to 80% of participants have sustained reductions in depression, hopelessness, death, anxiety, and demoralization for four years after the dose. The participants have also reported positive life changes that seem to be associated with the drug-therapy combination. Some of the participants felt that it was the most positive, meaningful event to have ever touched their lives.

Effects

Still unclear are the mechanisms involved in how psilocybin assists in the treatment of anxiety and depression. The latest thoughts are now focused on the brain's default mode network. When we are engaged in self-reflection along with mind-wandering, the network becomes engaged. Patients living with anxiety and depression find their brain network is prone to rigid and rumination thinking.

History

Research conducted in the 1950s suggested that psilocybin therapy was a promising path to improving patients' psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being while living with life-threatening cancers. According to MD Stephen Ross, this approach that Washington is taking has the potential to produce a paradigm shift in the existential and psychological care given to patients living with cancer. The approach is directed mainly toward terminal illness.

Final words

It is important to remember that using magic mushrooms requires caution, as does the use of any drug. Magic mushrooms will affect each one of us in a different manner. All types of drugs may have disadvantages in their use. According to the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, here are some of the adverse side effects that have been reported with the use of magic mushrooms:

  • Change in consciousness thought mood and perception
  • Breathing quickly
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Euphoria and well-being
  • Dilation of pupils
10 reasons why we should legalize psilocybin ASAP

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