October 20, 2021 08:00 am ETEstimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Veriheal does not support illegally consuming alternative therapeutic substances but acknowledges that it transpires because of the current illicit status, which we strive to change by advocating for research, legal access, and responsible consumption. Always consult a physician before attempting psychedelic therapy.
Cannabis and magic mushrooms for the win! According to recently published survey findings, young adults are no longer choosing alcohol as their choice of recreational substance use. Instead, they are opting for cannabis and hallucinogens.
The survey, part of the ongoing Monitoring the Future study, is conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Data from a nationally representative sample of participants have been collected since 1975 to understand drug use trends among American young adults, and noteworthy findings are published each fall.
The survey’s findings have been frequently supported by doctors’ experiences with patients. According to Dr. Maria Rahmandar, medical director of the substance use program at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, “The findings here are pretty consistent with what I see clinically. I have certainly seen an increase in patients’ reports of LSD or other psychedelic substances.”
Pioneering Psychedelic Research
Psychedelics are definitely not new—there is actually more clinical research conducted on psychedelics than on cannabis. Psychedelics have been a part of our culture around the globe for as long as written and pictural text has been kept. Everything from cave paintings to scrolls to literature can be found on various forms of psychedelics.
When people think of psychedelics, they often think of LSD. LSD was first synthesized by a Swiss chemist named Albert Hofmann, who was born on Jan. 11, 1906, and lived a long life—some might say thanks to LSD. He is said to have microdosed with LSD for the last 25 years of his life, passing away on April 29, 2008. His research on psychedelics was groundbreaking and led to many other avenues of psychedelic research, such as studies on psilocybin, ketamine, MDMA, and more.
Psychedelic research has long been stunted by the illegality of these substances, but it’s making a comeback due to changes in the societal outlook regarding hallucinogens. In 2020, Oregon became the first state in America to decriminalize psychedelics in small amounts. State residents now only face possible fines rather than jail time for dabbling in psychedelic substances.
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A Changing and Confusing Legal Narrative
Psilocybin, which is the primary chemical compound in what many call magic mushrooms, or shrooms, has gained significant traction and attention as a potential treatment for depression, anxiety, and other conditions. So much, in fact, that some states are following in Oregon’s footsteps by exploring decriminalization in order to make way for research. While shrooms are no longer completely illegal everywhere in the U.S., the laws surrounding the substance can be a little confusing.
Citizens can buy and sell the spores that grow psilocybin mushrooms as well as the equipment needed to cultivate them indoors. However, it’s against the law in most places to actually combine the spores with the equipment—a baffling caveat. Most of the confusion around psilocybin stems from its position in the federal drug schedules as a Schedule I substance alongside cannabis, LSD, and heroin. Despite studies pointing to psilocybin’s medical uses, the federal government views it as having no medicinal value and a high potential for abuse. Talk about mixed signals.
Healing, Not Hallucinating
The internet is full of literature supporting microdosing with mushrooms to help with seizures, migraines, anxiety, depression, and more. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) offers medical publications on subjects such as the therapeutic potential of psilocybin for neuropsychiatry-related conditions, psilocybin as a new approach to treat depression, and more.
Medical benefits aside, many consumers of psychedelics turn to substances like shrooms for so much more than hallucinations. Rather, psychedelic use is about opening up: facing burdens, releasing negative energies, and embracing a dynamic mentality. Psychedelic experiences are also very existential and memorable, with consumers often reporting positive, vivid memories of being on these substances—as opposed to the detached “blackout” condition induced by excessive alcohol consumption.
According to the Monitoring the Future survey, binge drinking is on the decline among young adults in favor of psychedelic and cannabis use. These enlightening, natural therapies lead to smiles, munchies, laughter, and an overall enjoyable experience that many people are opting for over alcohol these days.
A Magical Future
There’s lots of research supporting the therapeutical attributes of psilocybin, as well as natural therapies in general. I personally enjoy cannabis every day and use psilocybin in small amounts and in moderation. With more and more folks experimenting with these therapies alongside increased research into the substances, our society’s knowledge base on them will only keep expanding.
The legalization and policy reform efforts surrounding these natural substances are also helping exponentially. Some of the nation’s top drug officials have begun discussing the rise in psychedelic use these days, as well as the need to study cannabis more in-depth. It’s refreshing to see people make their way back to nature and natural paths to healing—now, we just have to wait for the laws and regulations to catch up.
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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