Far from being seen as just another harmful drug these days, the image of magic mushrooms has been improving steadily. As evidence is mounting for the medical and mental health uses of their active substance, psilocybin, there are even efforts to decriminalize the mushrooms in the future.
Essential Mental Health Benefits
Despite having been banned in the early 1970s as a Schedule I drug, magic mushrooms have been studied extensively during the past decade, and researchers have found that their carefully controlled use can lead to important mental health advantages, which include:
- Providing better results in patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression;
- Helping people suffering from various addictions;
- Treating anxiety in terminally ill patients;
- Possible benefits in patients suffering from PTSD and eating disorders.
As a result of these important findings, psilocybin and magic mushrooms can no longer be regarded as harmful drugs with no benefits. The new mental health research linked to psilocybin destroys the claim that there are no medical benefits to psilocybin – which is one of the main Schedule I criteria.
A Promise of Lesser Future Restrictions
Of course, decriminalization doesn’t mean the drug is legal, and there are plenty of people who are against legalizing magic mushrooms altogether. An important hurdle that still remains since psilocybin was categorized as a Schedule I drug, back in 1971, is the series of regulations that makes the research of the substance extremely difficult. In many areas it is legal to obtain psilocybin spores for research only.
Scientists have to abide by strict rules if they want to legally research the drug, which unfortunately also means that the number of researchers on the case is lower than desired.
Fortunately, an international movement exists for decriminalizing and legalizing psilocybin and psilocybe cubensis mushrooms, based on the mounting body of evidence showing how effective psilocybin can be when it comes to mental health. Countries like Jamaica have never banned the mushrooms themselves, while Portugal went so far as to decriminalizing all drugs. Additionally, exemptions exist that allow native tribes to use magic mushrooms as part of their traditional rituals and practices.
With Oregon leading the way by decriminalizing psilocybin and places like California, Denver, and Michigan taking steps toward that goal as well, the mushrooms’ future legal regulation in the US might ease up more than expected.