Posted on May 09, 2019, 8 p.m.
In a landmark vote of 50.6% to 49.4% (89,320 for and 87,341 against, margin of 1,979) of the 176,000 residents of Denver, Colorado passed a ballot, Initiative 301, that decriminalizes psilocybin “magic” mushrooms.
This vote will not make them become available in dispensaries, they will still remain on Schedule 1 classification under Federal law, rather this ballot is more aimed at law enforcement officials, to direct police to make psilocybin possession the lowest priority when it comes to law enforcement.
“We’re sending a clear signal to the rest of the country that America is ready for a broader conversation around psilocybin and its potential benefits,” says Kevin Matthews, the leader of the Decriminalize Denver movement. “We have work to do, we’re ready for it and we couldn’t be happier.”
Part of Initiative 301 is to establish and implement a review panel to examine the impacts of decriminalization on public safety and health. On the medical side to this psilocybin has been found to help with treatment resistant depression and a range of mental disorders.
Psilocybin has been shown to have positive and lasting effects on chronic pain, depression, PTSD, anxiety, and addictions. Psilocin has been shown to slow down brain activity in some areas, and amplify brain activity often only done while sleeping to cause an expanded state of consciousness. Studies suggest that microdosing with psilocybin may even help to boost thinking skills, problem solving, and creativity.
Psilocybin’s brain changing and personality altering qualities have made it a research prospect as potential treatment for mental health disorders such as anxiety, OCD, PTSD, and depression. As such the US FDA has granted breakthrough therapy status to further study psilocybin for treating depression to expedite development of a drug after preliminary evidence showed “the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy.”
In regards to help reducing the growing dependence on opioids, “Given our national crisis with opioids, that’s a big one. It’s pretty clear from the FDA granting psilocybin breakthrough status,” Kevin Matthews said, “that the federal government knows we need some other solutions as well.”
Denver’s move has gained national attention as efforts are afoot in Oregon and California to establish psilocybin related measures on the ballot for 2020.
Research is being conducted on the potential treatment options that psilocybin and other psychedelics may have to offer, and measures to decriminalize may help to make it easier to conduct research and make studies more feasible in the near future.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement