Colorado Might Consider Decriminalizing Shrooms

Magic mushrooms have been deemed the "safest" drug and have been found useful in a number of medical contexts.

Colorado paved the way to a greener, chiller future when it became the first state (alongside Washington) to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Since then, the state has enjoyed literally millions of dollars in tax revenue, and a number of states have followed suit in legalizing weed. Now, Colorado might be poised to continue its trailblazing path by decriminalizing psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms.

The group Denver for Psilocybin is currently lobbying for the chance to gather signatures to put magic mushrooms on the ballot in the fall, Denver7 ABC News reports. The group met with city leaders on Wednesday about the possibility of decriminalizing the hallucinatory drug, which is currently listed as a Schedule I drug, citing its potential medical and therapeutical uses. Although the group is only advocating for decriminalization for now—which would not make mushrooms legal for recreational use and would instead merely reduce the penalty for possession of the mushrooms in question—it could be the first step to legalization. After all, Colorado and most other states that now allow marijuana use decriminalized the drug first before going all-out on the legal books.

Tyler Williams, one of the leaders of Denver for Psilocybin, spoke to Denver7 ABC News about why the group is pushing for decriminalization. "There's a lot of research [that magic mushrooms are good] for all sorts of mental health issues. Everything from anxiety to depression to cluster headaches, addiction," Williams said.

Williams added that he is a prime example of the healing powers of magic mushrooms.

"I had a suicide attempt November 12 of 2015, and I think it helped me get out of my depression, and it's helped me with my PTSD," he said.

A small study out of Imperial College London released in October 2017 found that psilocybin could “reset” the brains of people suffering from certain kinds of depression. Studies like these have been around since as early as 2012, when a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that shrooms decreased activity in two areas of the brain responsible for our “sense of self and awareness of our sense of present.” In addition, a study out of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that cancer patients experienced a “year-long” positive effect on their well-being after using magic mushrooms.

Studies like these echo data from the 2017 Global Drug Survey, which found that mushrooms were by far the “safest” drug, accounting for the fewest number of hospital visits throughout the year (only 17 people total). People who take mushrooms tend to take less of them than other drugs and tend to be better prepared than those who would take LSD or other recreational drugs.

Many people are taking these findings and putting them to practice. Denver-area licensed professional counselor Kathy Hawkins treats people before and after they take the drug.

"I’m a place where they can come and talk about it. So they can make sure they’re being safe about how they’re using, what they're using, why they’re using," Hawkins told Denver7.

"They’re so desperate for help, they’re willing to try," she continued. "So they've had big breakthroughs, relief from trauma, from anxiety, from depression so anything that's going to help. I think it is worth investigating."

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