Spirituality

Could psychedelics become the new medical marijuana? Inside the potential benefits and risks… of ‘magic mushrooms’

Psychedelic mushrooms were decriminalized in Denver and Oakland, not legalized. In other words, the ballot initiatives didn’t legalize the selling or manufacturing of mushrooms — rather, they made possession of mushrooms the lowest law enforcement priority, citing their therapeutic benefits.

On May 7, residents of Denver, Colorado, voted to decriminalize the use and possession of “magic mushrooms.” Oakland, California, followed suit on June 5. With a few cities and states already moving to decriminalize “magic mushrooms,” psilocybin is emerging as the next [nexus of inquiry] — culturally, politically, and medically. And with the potential for big money to influence the process, can the country learn from its experience with marijuana to find a good result? If the FDA were to approve psilocybin and MDMA, they would likely be reclassified as Schedule 2 substances, or drugs “that are approved for therapeutic use but have a high potential for abuse,” said Alan Kirschenbaum, an attorney at Washington, D.C.-based FDA law firm Hyman, Phelps & McNamara, P.C. As psychedelics progress toward medicalization, questions have been raised about what role these drugs would play in society and how accessible they would be. Kirschenbaum added that the FDA would also likely impose a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy on psychedelics that might involve restricting distribution to a certain pharmacy, requiring prescribing physicians and patients to enroll in the program, and requiring the patient to attend therapy sessions. (This strategy was implemented for esketamine.) Access has also been a point of contention. Psilocybin- and MDMA-assisted psychotherapy are expected to be high-cost treatments, largely because of the amount of psychotherapy involved. In addition, the movement to medicalize psychedelics isn’t just about treating illness, Humphreys said: “Don’t forget the role of money.” He drew a comparison with marijuana, pointing out that “People are making millions and millions of dollars selling cannabis. Some genuinely believe in the medical effects and are sincere, and some want to make a lot of money. But it’s definitely the case that the very wealthy people who supported marijuana legislation did it because they wanted to make money. I’m sure it’s true in the (psychedelic medicine) space too.”

Original Article (Deseret.com):
Could psychedelic drugs become the new medical marijuana? Inside the potential benefits and high risks of ‘magic mushrooms’
Artwork Fair Use: W. Carter

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