While marijuana has become one of the most talked about drugs when it comes to recent medical studies, there has also been plenty of progress with psychedelics as well. Recent studies have shown that nearly a quarter of all Americans have reported that they face some form of mental health problems: including anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
Tragically, suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people and is the 12th leading cause of death among Americans overall. Luckily, there have been talks about how to handle this rising epidemic and researchers feel that many people may be able to find relief for their mental health through natural medicines, such as Psilocybin mushrooms (more commonly referred to as Magic Mushrooms) and other types of psychedelic drugs.
A recent research study by John Hopkins University found that individuals with a history of taking certain psychedelic drugs were 19% less likely to have psychological distress, 14% less likely to have thoughts of suicide, 29% less likely to plan committing suicide, and 36% less likely to attempt suicide. As a result of all these finding, psychedelics have become increasing popular with many Americans, including two somewhat unexpected demographics: veterans and suburban moms.
Veterans currently face both higher rates of mental health problems and higher rates of suicide than the general population, resulting in many veterans being the driving force for the legalization of psychedelic drugs.
One drug that many veterans have turned to for relief is ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic that is normally used to put people to sleep before surgery and is already legal nationwide, making more accessible to patients.
Veterans that have used ketamine as a treatment for PTSD, depression, and suicide prevention and results have shown that it is able to improve emotional regulation and achieve what normally takes antidepressants weeks in only a few hours with a 60% success rate by improving connections between nerves in your brain that may have been damaged from past trauma. But ketamine treatment programs are not easily accessible with some programs requiring patients to have failed multiple antidepressant trials.
As a result, various veterans-led non-profits have been advocating for the legalization of psychedelic treatment and for more research to be conducted with other psychedelics like the aforementioned Magic Mushrooms. A previous success story of these campaigns came back in 2021 when 4 veteran non-profits successfully lobbied a Texas House Bill that permitted funding for psychiatric research into the medical benefits of Magic Mushrooms.
Since March of this year, the state governments of Arizona, and Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Washington have all agreed to promote more research or legalization of psychedelics after veteran advocacy groups lobbied the state governments and the momentum from these changes has shown no signs of slowing down.
Psychedelics aren’t normally the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Mom groups, but thousands of moms have been taking small increments of magic mushrooms in capsule form, commonly referred to as microdosing.
Anchored by support groups and social media followings, moms that participate in microdosing have shown to have an improvement in mood, feeling more present. Reasonings behind trying psychedelics via microdosing stems from many who are recently divorced on top of having to deal with the struggles of being a parent and all of the involved stress as a result.
The intrigue comes from them considering psychedelics to be more natural than anti-depressants and don’t result in hangovers like alcohol does. While there is not much current research on the benefits of microdosing, the studies that have been conducted have resulted in the subjects showing an improvement in mood with little risk. Regardless, the trend of microdosing in mom groups continues to be on the rise.
When it comes to the legal status of psychedelics in either a medical or recreation setting, it is currently decriminalized in both Colorado and Oregon with advocacy groups in Colorodo creating a framework for the creation of psychedelic healing centers where people can receive medically-guided treatment that would be regulated by the state.
Psychedelics have also been decriminalized in California, Washington, Michigan and Massachusetts at the local level with plenty of support to decriminalize them at the state-level and potentially even the federal level.
As with most substances that are illegal at the federal level, psychedelic drugs are not currently regulated by the FDA, though they have surprisingly permitted it breakthrough therapy status and they have approved of a clinical trial for magic mushrooms run by Psychedelic drug development company Filament Health, which the company hopes will find that it is helpful in treating various conditions from major depressive disorder to alcoholism.
While we’re still a little while off from psychedelics being legal at the federal level, they’re has been plenty of promising research om what they’re capable of from a medical standpoint and its popularity doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon.
AJ Favorito is a freelance writer, photographer, and filmmaker specializing in comedy and animation.
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