Spencer Kellogg | @Spencer_Kellogg
Magic Mushrooms are having their legislative moment. Last month in Denver, a proposal to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms was given the green light for a vote in May. Today, citizens caught in possession of psilocybin are likely to receive lengthy jail sentences and permanent criminal records. The “Mile High City” would become the first in the nation to decriminalize what is now a Schedule 1 drug. Moreover, in Oregon, advocacy groups are organizing to put psilocybin legalization on the ballot in 2020.
Medical Mushrooms in Iowa
Now, bills in Iowa’s State Legislature are calling for both psilocybin mushrooms and MDMA in medical research. 30-year-old Republican Freshman Jeff Shipley filed the legislation last week in Des Moines, Iowa. The bills would, in essence, reclassify the two drugs and clear a path to use both for medical purposes.
Speaking with Marijuana Moment, Shipley was clear in his support the medicinal properties of both substances and the individual’s right to choose: “There’s so much potential for research and clinical applications. I hope we can empower and trust patients to make their own best decisions.”
Advocates for psilocybin mushrooms have long been vocal about their belief that the drug has intriguing therapeutic benefits and that doctors should seriously consider it as a treatment for illnesses ranging from PTSD to couples’ therapy. A short Johns Hopkins case study detailed another possible use. It suggested that those who participated in psilocybin therapy were less likely to smoke and drink over a 12-month period.
Dr. Charles Grob of UCLA has pointed to promising psilocybin clinical tests for patients facing the end of life or who have advanced stages of cancer. While other doctors have echoed Grobs theories, others have been wary of outright support for medical uses because of concerns over a small percentage of the population who experience adverse psychological effects of the drug.
MDMA Makes the Cut
MDMA, better known as Ecstasy, is a stimulant and mild hallucinogenic that has been shown in clinical trials to create an overwhelming sense of empathy in its users. Originally surfacing in the rave clubs throughout Europe and North America in the late 80s and early 90s, MDMA is a drug many people associate with dancing, partying and ‘rolling’. All of these are states of euphoria. Thus, doctors have taken a keen interest in the properties of the drug.
A new study from the University of Exeter has found exciting therapeutical results. Research in the Journal for Psychopharmacology revealed that low dosages of MDMA ‘increases feelings of empathy.’ In Israel, MDMA studies on PTSD patients have been positive and the Health Ministry has recently approved the use of the drug in medical circumstances.
Without a doubt, this bodes well for American advocates who support loosening legislative barriers and opening access to research. Iowa Republican Jeff Shipley joins a growing breed of forward-thinking conservative lawmakers who recognize that there are great opportunities for treatment with drugs that past politicians have criminalized and vilified.
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