It has already been a very eventful November, with high-profile elections and new laws implemented across the country. One particular legalization that has made major headlines happened in Oregon. Thanks to the passage of Measure 109, the state has now made it legal to purchase magic mushrooms; leading into what many are calling a “psychedelic renaissance.”
Obviously, a movement like this can be seen as controversial. Psychedelic drugs like LSD, for example, have shown addictive tendencies and can cause permanent brain damage if overused. Mushrooms are a little less threatening, but have the potential to be misused as well (much like marijuana has).
The intent behind legalizing this latest drug is for “mental health treatment.” Advocates claim that eating these substances can help trauma survivors, leading into a bigger conversation about psychedelic-enhanced therapy. There are heavy warnings alongside the process, though, emphasizing that mushrooms should be taken under the supervision of trained personnel.
And that perhaps is where the controversy lies. Though we certainly support alternative ways for overcoming trauma and mental health struggles, a real risk can arise if people choose to use these substances without proper guidance. Overuse can also lead to long-term issues and perhaps turn readily available mushrooms into gateway drugs.
Matthew Johnson, associate director of the John Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research, spoke with Yahoo News about this latest development, adding a sense of caution.
“There is still a whole lot to be figured out,” he explained. “There is the potential for people with psychotic disorders or other severe disorders to be worsened. But I also believe that they are anti-addictive.”
That, of course, remains to be seen. We certainly concur that mushrooms don’t carry the same heavy addiction risks as a drug like heroin. But, just like any substance, there is always the risk that they could be misused. And, as Johnson mentioned, there are definite concerns for people with issues such as bipolar disorder.
It will certainly be interesting to see how the usage of psychedelic drugs evolves over the next several years and whether we will really be, as CNBC puts it, in the midst of a renaissance. The hope, of course, is that these drugs can lead to progress in improving mental health. But we believe in doing it cautiously and slowly, and always under the supervision of a trained professional.