How would you feel if the only thing that helped you live through trauma was seen as a criminal activity? What if the thing that saved your life could get your freedom taken from you and land you in prison? This is how I feel when I use psilocybin mushrooms to heal from trauma.
They have helped me through the hardest parts of my life and I don’t think I deserve to be labeled a criminal for using them. I study microbiology and mycology and using and studying this sacred fungi could get my education taken away from me. My freedom and education would be taken from me just because I used something from nature to heal. I did not harm others or myself and I only improved my own well-being so why is this seen as a crime?
This is my body and it is unethical and an abuse of power to control what I put in my own body as an adult. I demand that the US decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms to make it easier for scientists to do research and to revolutionize mental health care.
First, lets talk about how mushrooms can be used to improve mental health.
A study in the journal, Experimental Brain Research published in 2013, scientists discovered that psilocybin could be used to help extinguish conditioned fear in mice. The mice were conditioned to correlate a sound with an electric shock. Eventually, the mice would freeze out of fear when they heard the sound. But after a low dose of psilocybin, the mice no longer froze. This could be why many people suffering from ptsd are using psilocybin to heal from past trauma. Scientists think that psilocybin could improve the brains ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections which leads to a decrease in ptsd symptoms. (Catlow, Song, Paredes, Kirstein, & Sanchez-Ramos. 2013)
PTSD is effecting all kinds of people from veterans to sexual assault survivors. Ending the stigma that mushrooms are just for partying could save someones life. It could help so many people who are suffering from flashbacks and reoccurring thoughts associated with trauma.
According to NAMI, 43.8 million people suffer some kind of mental illness in a given year. (NAMI.)
Why should we deny anyone a potential medicine? Why should we restrict science and demonize something that has the potential to help so many people?
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there are 123 suicides per day on average. That is 123 human beings each day who are so hopeless and depressed that they feel like the only solution is to end their life. Because mental health is such a big issue, we should be doing more to treat mental illness and psilocybin could be the answer.
Psilocybe saved me from suicide and I don’t deserve to die just because you think I’m just trying to get high
Mushrooms have the potential to revolutionize mental health care and decriminalizing would allow scientists to do more research
Psilocybin is mis-scheduled
With the limited amount of research we are currently allowed to do, scientists are finding that psilocybin has medical value and it is not addictive. In fact, it can actually be used to treat addiction.
Psilocybin is a Schedule I drug which means the government recognizes it as a drug with high potential for abuse and no medical value. Psilocybin mushrooms are considered as dangerous as meth and heroine and clearly they are not.
This scheduling was done back in the 70’s when we had less research and less knowledge. These outdated and misinformed laws of the past are long overdue for reform that takes into consideration the new evidence that shows mushrooms do have medical value and they can treat addiction.
A study at Johns Hopkins University reveals that psilocybin had an 80 percent abstinence rate with long term smokers. If psilocybin can help cigarette smokers quit, then imagine what else it could do to help addicts kick the habit? Mushrooms have helped me quit drinking alcohol. I’m going on two years sober and I think it should be taken seriously as a tool to treat addiction. (Hopkins. 2014)
A schedule I drug is seen as extremely dangerous and addictive. Psilocybin has medical value and it can be used to treat addiction. Therefore, the US should reschedule psilocybin to coincide with this information.
Studies with psilocybin are showing great promise but with anything in life there is always some kind of risk involved.
Some concerns about decriminalizing mushrooms are similar to those of cannabis. People think everyone will be high all the time, that people will drive while on the drug, or that they will use them in public and hurt themselves or others.
If I was in the position of being unfamiliar with mushrooms I could understand this point of view. It makes sense- From an outsiders POV, mushrooms are mysterious and are commonly associated with crazy visions and out of control laughter. Acting out on your hallucinations in public could be dangerous and this concern is perfectly valid. You want people to be safe- I get it! I want people to be safe just as much as anyone else does so I think it is good to question these things to lower any kind of risks involved.
Although, I would like to note that anything can be dangerous if you are unfamiliar with it and use it incorrectly. Criminalizing it makes it more dangerous by not allowing safety education. The people who will misuse this medicine are the ones who will misuse it whether its legal or not.
People who wait to use it when its decriminalized will be likely to educate themselves and know that it is important to be in a safe setting.
Public intoxication laws will still be in place and it will still be illegal to use psilocybin and drive. If a person commits a crime while on psilocybin, they will still be charged for that crime but only for that crime. But the fact is that most mushroom users are peaceful people and there is not much crime associated with mushroom use.
In fact, a study published in the Journal of Pharmacology finds that psilocybin use is connected to lower crime rates. Mushrooms are much more likely to make you a more compassionate and loving person. People don’t need to steal or hurt people to keep up their mushroom habit because mushrooms are not addictive. The effects of mushrooms are so intense that most people wouldn’t want to do them everyday anyways.
Our society has been taught to believe that this sacred medicine is only for druggies and bad people but I hope you take into consideration all the people that could be saved with this medicine. Addicts, veterans with ptsd, survivors of sexual assault, and many other people suffering from depression/anxiety could all be finding relief from this misunderstood fungi. Scheduling psilocybin in the same category as meth is outdated, unscientific, and unethical. This is a call to action for mushroom users to come out of the closet and talk about the research and therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms!
NAMI. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-by-the-numbers
Suicide Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/
Catlow, B. J., Song, S., Paredes, D. A., Kirstein, C. L., & Sanchez-Ramos, J. (2013, August). Effects of psilocybin on hippocampal neurogenesis and extinction of trace fear conditioning. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23727882
'Magic Mushrooms' Help Longtime Smokers 'Quit - 09/11/2014. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/magic_mushrooms_help_longtime_smokers_quit
The relationships of classic psychedelic use with criminal behavior in the United States adult population. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0269881117735685
More Psilocybin Research
"PSOP facilitates extinction of the classically conditioned fear response, and this, and similar agents, should be explored as potential treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder and related conditions."
Cluster Headaches aka "Suicide Headaches":
Psilocybin linked to lower crime: