Top-level federal researchers and bureaucrats, as well as grass-roots activists in drug-ravaged urban communities, have discovered ibogaine, the controversial drug that advocates tout as an “addiction interrupter” and one scientist calls a “probe into the inner workings of the human brain.”
Derived from iboga, an hallucinogenic plant of the West African rainforests, ibogaine is illegal in the USA. But addicts have been successfully treated with the drug in programs run overseas by private outfits, which are now pressuring the federal government to legalize the treatment.
The ibogaine controversy was aired at a March 8 conference in the Washington suburbs called by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Amidst heated debate between pro and anti-ibogaine factions, Frank Vocci, deputy director of NIDA’s Medications Development Division, expressed misgivings over human ibogaine testing conducted in Europe, Israel and Panama, and the reliance on “anecdotal evidence” of its efficacy in interrupting heroin and cocaine withdrawal symptoms. He concluded, however, that ibogaine research is “here to stay.”
Dr. Carlo Contoreggi of NIDA’s Division of Intramural Research said “even if ibogaine is slowed down, it’s too late to stop it. They know it works. NIDA views it as a fascinating window into the human brain, a probe to the farthest reaches of addictive behavior.”
Howard Lotsof, who heads NDA International, the company that holds the ibogaine-therapy patents, summarized the 60 treatments his group has performed, mostly in Holland. Lotsof characterized the drug’s effectiveness as “15 percent success, 15 percent failure, with the length of interruption in everyone else falling somewhere in between on a bell curve.”
Among the strongest ibogaine advocates at the conference was Dr. Deborah Mash of the University of Miami Medicine School’s Neurology Department, who is conducting the first FDA-sanctioned human testing (“FDA Approves Ibogaine Research on Humans,” Jan. ’94 HT). Mash has identified an ibogaine metabolite, 12-hydroxy-ibogamine, which is active at opiate receptor sites in the cerebellum.
According to one high-level NIDA official, her discovery is among the most significant in the study of addiction.
But drug-research consultant Dr. Peter Hoyle, who was involved in the controversial approval of the AIDS drug AZT, is an adamant ibogaine critic. He said he doesn’t think enough preclinical work has been done to support human trials. He said the mechanism of ibogaine’s action is still unclear, and raised the specter of ibogaine toxicity, based on massive overdosing of laboratory dogs and rats.
Others countered that despite the high doses—far greater than the doses used on humans—only one of the laboratory animals died. Dr. Mark Molliver of Johns Hopkins University, who first published results showing brain damage in rats given massive doses of ibogaine, said studies in monkeys showed only minor evidence of cell damage.
Mash dismissed reports of cell damage. Her own primate studies show absolutely no cell damage. In the conference’s most dramatic moment, she presented an actual human brain, of a heroin addict who died a month after she had received an ibogaine treatment in Panama. The patient died in Miami, where she had gone for a medical exam after experiencing vomiting and diarrhea. The local medical examiner who did the autopsy was an associate of Mash. According to the autopsy report, the brain showed no damage to the cerebellum area where ibogaine is active.
One source close to federal researchers says there are powerful forces arrayed against ibogaine inside the drug-policy bureaucracy. These forces are said to be centered around the methadone establishment.
Methadone is a heroin substitute invented in 1930s Germany and initially called Dolophine after Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. Government-funded clinics coast-to-coast dispense it to addicts in “maintenance” programs aimed at controlling addiction. According to the source, there are some scientists who have built their careers on methadone research and are fighting tooth-and-nail against ibogaine. A “methadone mafia” is said to be entrenched in the drug policy bureaucracy.
On March 4, mere days before the Washington conference, 400 people jammed a forum on ibogaine in New York City’s African American community of Harlem. The forum, jointly organized by the Black Coalition on Drugs and the African Descendants Awareness Movement, was held at a community center near the mosque where Malcolm X was once minister. Among the scheduled speakers were two former Black Panther political prisoners.
After 19 years in prison, Dhoruba bin Wahad was recently cleared of charges linking him to the shooting of two police officers in 1971. Dhoruba had been raiding South Bronx drug locations that operated with the connivance of corrupt officers and then publicly dumping the drugs into sewers.
Dhoruba couldn’t make the forum because of a delay in his flight from Ghana, but speaking in his place was Eddie Ellis, also a former Panther and a veteran of 25 years incarceration.
Through a letter from Dhoruba, the Black Coalition on Drugs voiced full support of ibogaine, stating that the drug should be made available to the estimated 800,000 heroin and cocaine addicts in the USA. Rommel Washington, a Harlem Hospital social worker who has observed several ibogaine treatments, led the audience in chanting “Ibogaine is life!”
Questions about ibogaine’s pharmacological properties were fielded by Dr. John Morgan of City College of New York, who recounted reports from nearly 80 addicts who have received ibogaine treatments in Holland, Panama and other countries. He says it has been shown to alleviate morphine withdrawal in preclinical tests and anecdotal evidence. But the doctor also cautioned the gathering that some scientists were actively trying to halt human ibogaine testing.
Howard Lotsof called on the forum participants to increase the pressure on NIDA and local elected officials such as Rep. Charles Rangel, a hard-line Drug Warrior who once chaired a congressional subcommittee on narcotics.
Natural-healing advocate John Harris, who appears regularly on local radio, spoke on iboga’s historic use in African rite-of-passage ceremonies. Drawing a parallel, he advocated involvement of the addict’s family and friends in ibogaine treatment.
Longtime organizer Dana Beal, veteran Yippie and fixture on the marijuana-activist scene, spoke in support of a “harm reduction” approach combining ibogaine with medical marijuana and long-term counseling as a holistic anti-addiction strategy. Beal says ibogaine is best understood through study of West Africa’s Bwiti spiritual tradition, in which practitioners under the influence of iboga are said to meet with their ancestors in a life-transforming experience.
Despite the hope many participants held for ibogaine, the impassioned question-and-answer session indicated that many saw a contradiction between the white medical establishment’s control of drug policy and an African-American community determined to explore an addiction treatment derived from an African rainforest plant.
Organizer Brother Shine asked rhetorically if black Americans can depend on the medical establishment to treat ibogaine research fairly—and answered his own question by urging grass-roots involvement to ensure that the drug ultimately comes under the control of the local communities hardest hit by addiction.
In early 2017 I was in a hard place. I was in a failing relationship, I wasn’t sure of where I wanted my career to go and I was at my wits end with life. I was 330 pounds and drinking like a viking. I was suffering from depression and in retrospect, I was borderline suicidal. I wasn’t actively thinking about taking my life, but when I look in the mirror in the morning I’d think, “If I did it, how’d I do it?”
Thank god one of the qualities I didn’t appreciate about myself at the time was procrastination or I may not have made it.
Back then, I was guest co-hosting a college radio show in Hamilton, Ontario with a local punk rock club promoter named Lou Molinaro and a well known Canadian comedian named Manolis Zontanos.
Manolis had recently introduced me to the idea of microdosing mushrooms to improve mental health. If you know Manolis, you wouldn’t exactly think he’d be the guy you take mental health advice from. Not that he’s not amazing, but his attitude towards life seemed lackadaisical to say the least. He’s the epitome of a surfer dude turned comedian, but a legend amongst his peers.
Manolis has a natural humility that I admire greatly. Over the course of the show we became good friends live on the air to the listeners dismay. I couldn’t get enough of the guy. He’s one of the funniest human beings I have ever met. He once told us on air that he got stopped at the border when the border agent asked, “Country of origin?” Manolis heard “Country of oranges?” and must have thought it was a declaration quiz or something because he replied with a question of his own, “Florida?.” In fairness, I understand that High Times readers and border cops aren’t usually golf buddies, but this would be confusing as Florida isn’t a country and nowhere near the Canadian border.
We’d fuck around so much on that show I started to get complaints amd rightfully so. I’d get Manolis so riled up that he’d Footloose through the Radio Stations office halls. As funny and energetic as that dude could be, his best work always seemed to focus around his 90 year old Dad and how his father struggled with technology and his Dad’s unique views on life. It showed a side of Manolis that was honest, hardworking and humble, much like the stories he would tell about his Dad. You could see his father’s unconditional love for Manolis carry over to how helped new comics in the Canadian comedy scene. From an outsider’s perspective, it seemed rare to see a stand-up prop other comics up before him in such a competitive field.
How I Learned About DMT
A few months down the road, my career had started to take a turn for the better but I was still depressed; however, I didn’t really know it at the time. I had found a path to my dream job with cannabis industry leaders like Clint Younge, who to this day still pushes to improve cannabis legislation in Canada, but I was having a hard time looking in the mirror. Through running cannabis industry events, I befriended a musician, trucker, hippie dude I sarcastically nicknamed Jesse Christ. This nickname was aptly given due to his appearance, gentle demeanor and his spiritual essence. Jesse Christ was in recovery for cocaine and would always tell me to try DMT. He’d talk about DMT any chance he had. I kind of thought he was crazy but I loved being around him. Jesse would tell me a bit of the basic lore around DMT but I never really paid much attention. I remember him mentioning some people would see beings, and that some go to different dimensions.
Jesse also claimed it was the drug that flooded the human brain when we died and it was the scientific explanation for people having angelic near death experiences. Admittedly, with my state of mind at the time, this had me intrigued. However, I remained skeptical. A lot of acid dealers in the day told me I’d see smurfs running around my house and that unfortunately never panned out. I was pessimistic to say the least and I didn’t really buy the spiritual side of DMT that had also seemed to empower Jesse. I had little patience for “spiritualism”.
I grew up playing in atheist punk bands that scoffed at the idea of mystical forces. As I grew older, my anger towards religion dulled, but I remained pragmatic about an afterlife to say the least. In my mind there was no light at the end of any tunnel, there was no guide over the River Styx, and I could for sure bluff my way past any of St. Peter’s interrogations. After all, I was a punk. I could sneak past the bouncer into any party.
While we were still on the air ruining Lou’s radio show Manolis and I had gone off the rails yet again as I was discussing Jesse and the DMT. Manolis responded that Joe Rogen (long before he became so polarizing) spoke about DMT on his podcast and that he too heard it sent you to another dimension. Lou just spun records and ignored us.
I decided to look further into DMT and started listening to some Joe Rogan. I really wasn’t familiar with him as I just knew him from News Radio and that he got fired from TV for feeding people horse cum or something. There was definitely good content on the subject there, I wasn’t getting the information I desired.
I visited https://www.erowid.org, a donation based educational site where drug users share their experiences in an effort to “document the complex relationship between humans and psychoactives”. There I learned that DMT naturally occurred in many plants, like mimosa, or could also be replicated in a lab. Most of all I learned that it wouldn’t kill me and it was deemed “safe” by the site.
Dimethyltryptamine or DMT is a hallucinogenic tryptamine drug. Sometimes referred to as Dimitri, the drug produces effects similar to those of psychedelics, like LSD and magic mushrooms. DMT is also the active ingredient in Ayahuasca. Rudimentary speaking for the sake of this article, think of DMT as the THC to Ayahuasca’s cannabis.
How I Did the DMT (Which Saved My Life)
There’s a lot of ways to do DMT, but the pros will tell you not to burn it directly. Decarboxylation, like cannabis, should still be considered when taking raw DMT. Some people prefer vape pens, but “gassing” DMT at a lower temperature would seem to be the most effective method if the user’s goal is to achieve a “breakthrough” experience.
I had decided to go for it. I had recently moved into a new house with my partner at the time and Manolis and I had continued to grow close. He had become dependable and a thoughtful friend when I was going through a rough time. I called up Manolis and told him that Jesse Christ had hooked me up with raw DMT and a little “how to” kit. At the time, Manolis didn’t know he’d also be doing DMT for the first time that day.
In the kit was:
One Glass bulbed crack or “rose pipe”
One small butane lighter
One gram of DMT
.The instructions were as follows:
Put .2 of a gram of DMT in the bulb of the rose pipe. A little goes a long way.
Light the butane lighter and hold it two inches below the pipe.
Do not put the flame directly on the glass pipe.
As the DMT begins to gas it will swirl around the bowl.
Wait until the pipe is completely full and remove heat.
Inhale from the pipe three times. Each time holding the vapor in as long as possible.
Make sure to be seated.
Write down your experience post.
I recently caught up with Manolis to revisit this experience. We picked up where we left off not having spoken much in a few months. When I asked about the experience he said laughing, “You called me up and said you were just going to do it.” He continued over the phone, “So I drove down to make sure you didn’t do it by yourself. It was like 3:00pm on a Wednesday, dude.” Manolis explained in a tone that was both loving and expressive to the situation. “I wasn’t supposed to do DMT that day.” he contuned, “I was supposed to be doing an open mic set later that night.”
That’s just who Manolis is. The kind guy who’ll bring you an extension cord to help you fix your new house, or make sure you don’t die while depressed and taking high powered psychedelics that zap you across the universe. If they don’t kill you, he just might do them too.
Manolis arrived and we had decided to document the experience. I later learned he had saved video footage of the experience on a private youtube link. I hadn’t watched the original footage since 2017, and even then, I was so uncomfortable with my weight, I don’t think I could ever finish the 10 minute ordeal. However, revisiting the footage was cathartic to say the least. A friend mentioned I look like a completely different person and I realized I was. The person in the video was about to change forever.
Needless to say, Manolis and I both got blasted to what we felt was another dimension. The DMT began working almost immediately post inhalation.
As the DMT took hold, I described it tasting like “mothballs” and continued to try to narrate my experience as it happened. Little did I know, the ancient shapes, Kaleidoscope hallways, grids,and even locations were all experiences that hundreds if not thousands of other people had also had.
After a viewing of the video, a friend mentioned that I looked like a completely different person. At first I felt it might be because I’ve aged in five years and lost some weight, but then I realized that I actually was a different person. My experience, like so many others, was earth shattering, profound and profoundly confusing.
Excerpts from My Unedited DMT Dream Journal
In the footage, I stop narrating my experience to Manolis and I can be heard saying, “Hi” or “Hey” to something. This is the moment I met the fabled “DMT beings”. However, in my journal I describe the adventure in great detail.
“I went through a kaleidoscope hall of crazy geometrical shapes, sounds, a lot of colors, kind of like a psychedelic poster you may find in a head shop. I then went through what seemed like a green grid, similar to Tron.
I ended up in a pitch black room, other than very little thin green and red lines, which seemed to dance and make geometrical shapes, they seemed to float in the background. “
Upon rewatching the video my body language indicates that I’m not scared, or taken aback, but almost comfortable when greeting what some people consider inter-dimensional entities. In the journal, I continue to describe the encounter in detail,
“I was greeted by two “beings who felt like representatives of this place. They were kind of dressed like clowns or something, with pointy hats, and striped garb. Their faces had very little detail, similar to pantomime masks you might find at a theater. One was male, one was female (presumably). There was children’s laughter, or giggling in the background. It sounds terrifying but it wasn’t.”
At this time in the video, I’m sitting with my eyes closed, silent, and you see me reach out for something a few times. In my journal I describe a moment similar.
“The “representatives” of this place knew I was there, and the female offered me to take her hand, she seemed to shape-shift and my hand passed through hers. I opened my eyes briefly then went back in. She seemed to be inviting me to a tunnel or place that was filled with windows or doorways to memories and dreams alike. As if they were categorized and I could just hop back in. I heard her say “Come on”.
It’s important to remember that wherever DMT takes you, most users describe the DMT realm as a place where time moves differently. Similar to a dream. In this space, you also feel lucid. In the journal I describe that in this other realm, moments feel like hours. I continued to write.
“I felt like I could have asked them (the beings) to take me anywhere. I asked if that was the case and they said yes, they could even take me to a memory with my deceased father, which shocked me as I watched her bounce or dance away.”
This moment in that realm was hard for me to share. Could these creatures really take me to meet my Dad who died almost 30 years prior. Was this drug making me insane?
When I got back from my trip, the DMT took about thirty minutes to completely wear off. The entire experience was under an hour. When the visuals wore off, I looked up DMT beings. This is where I discovered Terrence McKenna. Famed psychonaut, a term used for psychedelic explorers, and illustrator of a picture that to this day blows my mind. A picture of a being he had illustrated described as a “Machine Elf”.
There they were. The beings I met in a realm that felt more real than this one. I couldn’t grasp why a professor decades prior saw the exact same shape shifting entity that I did. It was a thing I’d never seen before. I had no previous reference point. Why was his recollection almost identical to mine? What the fuck was going on?
How I Processed the Trip
After a few days, Manolis and I were still trying to process what we had experienced. Manolis had had a very similar experience he described as, “going to a different dimension that felt way realer than here.” Manolis also met “beings”, which left him with some mild paranoia, “I feel when you fuck with it, the way we did, now they now they know that we know that they’re there. I feel like I’m being watched but I always knew I was being watched.”
However, I was becoming haunted if not obsessed.
I had no information about the level of these encounters prior. I couldn’t shake that the weird creatures weren’t necessarily just in my imagination. The similarities in encounters fascinated me.
At the time I felt skeptics couldn’t possibly understand. I honestly felt like I had went to another dimension. I still didn’t believe in a “God”, but I was now entirely open to the idea that there may be other dimensions our conscious could travel to.
I had become obsessed with what I had experienced and wanted to experience it again. I had so many questions. I had read somewhere that DMT could be found in every living thing, and found more people sharing similar experiences online.
My original DMT Journal was dated May 17, 2017, and by June 5th, I’d already done the drug 5 more times. I had continued to keep notes but started sounding more and more like an obsessed architect.
“Since my first experience in May I have tried DMT 5 more times. At this point, I have read a lot about other people’s experiences who were similar to mine. If someone has had different experiences, I’ll stop listening or reading immediately to make my next experience less corrupt by suggestion.
After several failed attempts, I eventually recreated my original circumstances, and figured it was the best way for me to break through.
“This time around, the re-creation worked. I smoked about .1 of a gram, took three huge pulls and again, was blasted off. I hit the kaleidoscope almost immediately. I felt my body twitching and shaking. It was scary at first. The kaleidoscope quickly turned into a checkered box, there were a ton of clowns, peeking in at me, some were scary, some even looked horrifying, peaking at me from behind checkered walls and out of boxes. The place constantly moved, but I was definitely in this jack in the box apparatus. None of these clowns were the beings I met before. I was there though. It was extremely vivid. I could still feel my body shaking or being uncomfortable in my chair when an arm came around my chest from behind, hugged me and said, “You’re okay, you’re okay”. I instantly felt better. I thought maybe the arm was the girl representative who had reached out to me before, but I can’t be certain.”
My journal’s began to get more detailed the more times I went in. I began seeing more entities and locations, I would later verify on the internet as hallucinations other DMT users had shared.
“I started to hear loons in the distance and nature sounds. Then I heard an owl. Clear as a bell I heard an owl. At this point, the jack in the box was to my right, and I was sort of floating next to it staring out into a purple cosmos. It was beautiful. Tons of dancing stars and lights. It was very euphoric. Then a glowing pink cloud butterfly appeared before me and in a puff of smoke, showed itself in a humanoid form. She had a calming, loving and motherly vibe. She then puffed back into a cloud and flew off into the purple cosmos.”
The owl hooting was nonstop and I was still floating as if tethered somehow to the jack in the box, like an astronaut to a ship kind of. If I looked to my right, the jack in the box vessel was there and still rapidly changing; inviting me to go in. To my left I saw the owl fly out of a picturesque earth like nature setting, over mountains, and into the DMT Realm or cosmos. The owl was huge. Flying through space with purpose towards a destination which wasn’t at this time revealed to me. I asked if I should go with it, but nothing responded.”
At that time, I was beamed back. I immediately realized I was still under the DMT’s influence and I wanted to go back in. So I smoked another three massive hauls and held in the vapor for as long as I could.
Right before I took off, I hit play on my music.
This time I was beamed back way faster. I immediately heard the frequency in my ears change and was hurdled through the “Tron Grid”.
This time I felt I had a better understanding of what the grid was. It seemed to function as a gateway, tunnel or vessel that brings someone to where they need, or are supposed to be. This time, I met the same representatives as my first experience.
“I could see them more vividly, the male anyway. He had more of a human face then the last time, the female was still more of a presence. I could feel the light being from my previous trip’s presence too, but she didn’t appear in humanoid form again. I think I saw her fly away in purple butterfly form. They were all so happy to see me. They said “Hey, Ben” very lovingly. I replied “Hey, guys”.
They then commented on the music. I asked if they liked it and they said they loved it, even though it was a bit tacky. They danced and flipped around and offered me to join them. Then, for some reason I asked them “if I was one of them?” this made the male stop and said, “You could be” as he lifted his arm to present to me a kingdom or place off in the distance. It was the same purple cosmos sky as before, and it felt like that may be where the owl I saw previously was and it felt like it was where I came from. Like, I just had to go back there. The kingdom was a silhouette, surrounded by silhouette mountains with a white warm light coming from the Center. “
It was around this time, I had realized that in this place, you can’t lie to yourself. I’m this place, you’re Freudian Ego and ID are incapacitated, and the lucid being who is experiencing a new universe, has been given the terrifying gift of not being able to lie to themselves for the first time in their life.
The “Representatives” then addressed my anxiety, and told me to put all of my energy into the one thing I love, and that I’m spreading myself too thin, which is the cause of my anxiousness. They then told me to be good to my wife, as she loves me unconditionally. They said to say hi to my friend who was waiting in the room, and told me only a certain type of person can see them in this realm.”
How the Trip Saved My Life
At the time, I was convinced more than ever that the DMT realm existed. I still feel it exists, but I believed in Santa until I was eleven.
The conversation I had about anxiety and the people around me with DMT Beings was the catalyst to saving my life, and how this psychedelic changed me profoundly.
When a person is in this state, myself included, they’re stripped of their Freudian Ego & Id. You’re zapped to what countless people describe as a dimension that feels like home. In this state I had to look at myself as a whole. No lies. No justifications.
When discussing the experience with Manolis he said, ”I feel like I know I’m going to see him. DMT definitely made the world, not as important as before. IT made me not get so wound up about nothing.”
This sentiment hit a real cord with me.
What I had dragged Manolis into was something that he already had, humility. DMT taught me that being pragmatic, or self riotous, or self righteous people were a waste of time. We know nothing.
These experiments or experiences allowed an atheist to consider that there may be something else out there, and that there was a universal irony to life. There was a punchline at the end of it all.
If speculators are correct, and DMT is the drug that floods your brain when you die, then there’s a cosmic joke left out of most scripture. The joke is that at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what anyone believes. When it’s time to meet your maker, the joke is that you’re your own Saint Peter. Or the guide across the River Styx.
The ultimate irony of life is that we qualify ourselves on what others think, but it’s really about what you think of yourself.
At this point, I don’t have beliefs because in this day and age they’re a vehicle for mandatory self explanation. I prefer the term I coined “idea jams.”
I don’t know if any of the big religions are accurate, in my heart of hearts, I don’t think anyone has quite nailed it.
What I like to think is that if there is an afterlife and guys like Jesse and Manolis are right, then perhaps the DMT is nothing more than a conduit to what they feel is an answer.
However, what changed me profoundly, what DMT taught me, was that life, the experience of life is subjective, and that the joke’s on us.
If we qualify ourselves at the end of day, and advance us to the next level is something I hold dear and is what I think happens.
However, the punk in me that detests hippie bullshit reminds me that whether DMT is the gateway to another realm or not, this high powered Psychedelic, if it is in fact the drug that floods your brain when you die, resolves the user in a state that makes you evaluate yourself in a way no other drug, in my experience has.
Imagine, if it isn’t a gateway, and this shit is just some wild shit that makes us under-evolved monkeys see machine elves, imagine that your last thought in existence was; you’re a real piece of shit kid. Then worm food.
2020 brought us Oregon and the first legalization for psychedelic mushrooms in the US. 2022 brought us Colorado doing the same, but with more compounds legalized, and a separate pre-emptive legalization for MDMA. Now, it’s a new year, so let’s take a look at which states are looking to reform their psychedelics policies, going into 2023.
The first two: Oregon and Colorado
In the 2020 elections, Oregon put Measure 109 and Measure 110 to the voters, both of which passed, with 55.75%, and 58.46% of the vote, respectively. The first law is a measure to legalize some use of psilocybin mushrooms, and the second is a decriminalization measure for the personal possession of illicit drugs. Together they make for a full drug decriminalization in the state, as well as a drug legalization under certain parameters.
The parameters were made more clear in 2022 upon the release of rules for the new industry. For one thing, the legalization only covers psilocybin mushrooms, and of those mushrooms, only one species: Psilocybe cubensis. Furthermore, all legal use must be done in a certified center under the watchful eye of a non-medical tripsitter. Different municipalities have the option of opting out of this allowance.
In the 2022 elections, Colorado joined in as the second state to legalize some form of a psychedelic, though Colorado went a bit further. Instead of focusing on just psilocybin mushrooms, the state made it about entheogenic plants as part of a natural medicine program, though not all medicinal plants are a part of this. It includes the compounds: psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, mescaline (minus Peyote), and ibogaine. It also sets up regulation for trip centers, but does allow administration of the compounds outside of this. It decriminalizes use of these compounds outside legal administration.
Colorado made it so that when the measure passed, the entire state was obligated to oblige. Unlike Oregon, no individual locations have the ability to say no, making for a standard law throughout the state. Colorado also was the first state to pass a pre-emptive legalization for medical MDMA. This legalization lies in wait for a federal legalization first, and has no power until that happens. When it does, Colorado is set to go with regulations for its medical MDMA industry.
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California and Washington are both coming off of failed psychedelics bills in the previous year. And both are already back with new bills to offer, both of which have been tweaked to create more passable versions in the hopes of having a better chance this time around.
California is offering SB 58 as an improved version of SB 519. SB 519 didn’t actually die like other failed bills, but instead was intentionally pulled by its creator, Sen. Scott Wiener. SB 519 would have decriminalized the possession of both natural and synthetic compounds, as well as legalizing medical use for patients in need, and mandating further research. The new SB 58 narrows its scope to the same five compounds as Colorado: psilocybin, psilocin, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline; with synthetics like LSD and MDMA removed. It omits the research requirement.
As the previous bill passed the Senate in California, as well as its first two Assembly committees, there’s plenty of reason this newer version should also do well. Wiener pulled the previous bill because of the edits made to it, which downgraded it to nothing more than a research initiative; taking out everything else. The hope is that with the scope minimized to just the chosen entheogenic plants, the bill will pass through.
Washington is coming back with SB 5263 to take the place of the failed SB 5660. Some of the revisions to this new bill include a longer implementation time of 24 months, to make sure everything goes smoothly; greater worker protections for those administering the drugs; the requirement of group sessions for drug administration; the ability for administration outside of a service center (like Colorado); greater privacy for users; and no maximum doses under 50mg. It also doesn’t allow individual locations to opt-out.
One of the other things this new bill does, is move away from the standards of tripsitting that have thus far been employed by the two legal states. Washington will instead require a new license that is earned with 120 classroom hours, and 250 practice hours. In comparison, Oregon only mandated tripsitters to go through 40 hours of training.
Other states looking for psychedelics reform in 2023 – CT, IL, NY
The psychedelics industry is moving at breakneck speeds, going from a snowball to an avalanche in no time at all. Connecticut is one state looking for psychedelics reform in 2023. It’s doing so with a bill (H.B. No. 5102) which legalizes “the use of psilocybin for medicinal and therapeutic purposes, including, but not limited to, the provision of physical, mental or behavioral health care.” The bill is being spearheaded by democratic democratic Representative David Michel, who had this to say:
“Decriminalizing will help end the targeting of certain communities… and authorizing psilocybin for medical and therapeutical use, I believe, is key when mental health is at an all-time low.” He went on, that “It’s more needed than ever,” and that its senseless to be “constantly going through pharmaceutical products when nature-based approaches can be very effective.”
Illinois is another state looking for psychedelics reform in 2023. In the beginning of January, democratic Representative La Shawn Ford pre-filed the Compassionate Use and Research of Entheogens Act. This law would take psilocybin out of the controlled substances list of the state, and create an advisory board concerning therapeutic services for the compound. According to Ford, this bill, which would also expunge criminal records, is a main point for the season.
New York also wants in on psychedelics reform for this year. Democratic Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal pre-filed a bill early in January to legalize some entheogenic plants for an adult-use market of 21 and above. State statutes would be updated to allow the “possession, use, cultivation, production, creation, analysis, gifting, exchange, or sharing by or between natural persons of twenty-one years of age or older of a natural plant or fungus-based hallucinogen.”
The wording of the bill means inclusion of the standards like psilocybin, DMT, and mescaline, and could work to legalize more if not naming the drugs specifically. The bill would open up an industry of psychedelics services, and allow use of the plants in religious ceremonies (something that already applies to mescaline.)
Even more states looking to get in on it in 2023– NJ, MO, VA, MO, MN, NH
No, we’re not done, there are several more states looking for psychedelics reform in 2023. Like New Jersey. Democratic Senate President Nicholas Scutari filed a bill last year that’s still in play. The bill would legalize not just the possession of psilocybin mushrooms, but their cultivation as well. Like most others of its kind, it would seek to set up locations where psilocybin services could be administered. New Jersey already signed off on a bill in 2021 to substantially reduce penalties for up to one ounce of psilocybin possession.
In Missouri, Representative Tony Lovasco re-filed a previously failed bill for psychedelics reform (HB 869), on January 18th of this year. The revised version would set up psilocybin service centers for issues like treatment-resistant PTSD and depression, and would require a doctor’s recommendation. Said Lovasco to Marijuana Moment, “We’re going to have to limit it to psilocybin initially as that’s what we have the most data and research on.”
Virginia also has a take on how to reform the issue. Out of several initiatives in the state, one of the most promising is from democratic Delegate Dawn Adams who put forth HB 1513, which would legalize psilocybin for “refractory depression or post-traumatic stress disorder or to ameliorate end-of-life anxiety.” All requiring a doctor’s prescription. The law comes with provider protections, and decriminalizes the non-medical use of the drug as well. Adams has yet another bill in play (HB 898) to decriminalize a host of psychedelic compounds.
A third bill in the state, filed by democratic Senator Ghazala Hashmi (SB 932), moves psilocybin from schedule I to schedule III. This bill would also seek to set up strategies for setting up psilocybin clinical services via a Virginia Psilocybin Advisory Board.
Next up is Montana which hasn’t released anything yet, but is working on two bills so far this year. The first would legalize medical psilocybin for psychiatric purposes. The second one is simply to set up a research initiative about psychedelics for medical use in general. Both are still in the draft stage.
Minnesota isn’t missing out, with a bill also in draft stage by democratic Representative Andy Smith. This bill would legalize, in some capacity, medical psychedelics. According to Smith, “For decades scientific research into the positive effects of psychedelic medicine has been muzzled by the ‘war on drugs,’ but that is [starting] to change.” No official bill is released yet.
Last up? New Hampshire. On January 5th, republican Representative Kevin Verville submit HB 328 which would institute an adult use market of 21 and above for a number of psychedelic compounds including synthetics like LSD, and entheogenic plants like psilocybin. The bill actually isn’t more specific than this in terms of exactly which drugs it applies to. Beyond creating an adult-use market for these drugs, it would work to lower penalties for the manufacture, possession, and sale of LSD and PCP.
It’s unlikely that all of the psychedelics reform bills for 2023 will go through, but some of them should. And then next year? Even more. The psychedelics world is really opening up, and within a few years we can easily expect the landscape to look very, very different.
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The word ‘entheogenic’ might not have been very popular a few years ago, but it’s sure making headlines now. Why? Because more and more US locations are passing legalization and decriminalization measures for entheogenic plants. So what does this word mean? And which plants does it refer to? Read on.
Entheogenic plants – what are they?
The word ‘entheogen’ refers to any substance that can alter perception, mood, behavior, cognitive abilities, and/or consciousness. They are specifically psychoactive substances meant to help spiritual development, in some kind of religious or sacred way. Throughout history, such substances have been employed for religious, magical, shamanic, healing, or spiritual traditions, all over the globe.
Entheogens are used to drive forward different traditional practices meant to bring a person to a higher spiritual level. These include but are not limited to: meditation, yoga, healing, prayer, and divination. Psychedelics are one of the more popular forms of entheogens, but we’re not looking at all entheogens right now, and not all psychedelics qualify. What we’re specifically looking at is entheogenic plants, meaning this no longer includes synthetically made entheogens like LSD or MDMA.
The term ‘entheogen’ came about in 1979 by some ethnobotanists and mythology academics. It comes from the combination of two words from Ancient Greek: éntheos and genésthai. The former translates to “full of the god, inspired, possessed,” and is where we get the word ‘enthusiasm.’ While the latter translates to “to come into being.”
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Put together, and it translates to the idea of being inspired; whether for greater spiritual understanding, personal growth, or something else related. The word ‘entheogen’ is sometimes confused for the words ‘psychedelic’, and ‘hallucinogen’, but its not exactly either, though it can encompass drugs of those specifications.
The term ‘entheogen’ is not more specific than this, partly because its not an actual part of nomenclature. Rather, it’s a broad term that can be used in different ways. Since it implies any psychoactive substance used for spiritual purposes, or some kind of personal development; it refers to many different substances, and personal opinions on whats included, can vary.
Some publications list entheogenic plants as plants with psychedelic properties alone. Other publications look at in terms of drugs used specifically in rituals. Regardless of exactly how you want to break it down, an entheogen is a plant with psychoactive effects, that’s used in some kind of traditional practice of spirituality or healing.
As hallucinogenic substances (often lumped together under the heading ‘psychedelics’) gain popularity, we see this reflected in new legislative measures that have already passed in different locations; which have been proposed, but didn’t make their way through; or are currently in the system. Different locations define what they want to legalize or decriminalize differently, but more and more often, there’s a designation specifically for entheogenic plants.
Right now, Colorado stands as the best example for changing legislation regarding entheogenic plants. In the November 2022 elections, the people of Colorado voted on Proposition 122, which passed with 53.64% of the voting public saying yes, meaning 1,296,992votes. 46.36% of the voting public – 1,121,124 votes – didn’t want this change.
The bill is called the Decriminalization, Regulated Distribution, and Therapy Program for Certain Hallucinogenic Plants and Fungi Initiative. This new law defines certain plants containing psychoactive and entheogenic compounds, as natural medicines, including DMT, ibogaine, mescaline (excluding peyote), psilocybin, and psilocin. The measure does not mention the word entheogen, but that’s exactly what it’s talking about.
It decriminalizes the personal possession, use, transport, and cultivation of the plants with the compounds mentioned above, so long as the user is 21 or above. It also creates the Regulated Natural Medicine Access Programwhich is to be an industry of regulated healing centers where these compounds will be administered as natural medicines.
Incidentally, as a showing of how much Colorado is in support of hallucinogens, it passed HB 1344, which was signed into law June 8th of 2022. This first-of-its-kind law pre-emptively legalized the medical use of MDMA, but is contingent on the federal government passing a legalization measure first, before it becomes valid. MDMA, however, as a synthetic drug, is not considered an entheogenic plant.
Did Oregon legalize entheogenic plants?
Oregon became the very first state to legalize a previously illegal entheogenic plant, when it put Measure 109 before its people, called the Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative. 55.75% of voters were all for this change, while 44.25% of voters were a bit more hesitant. This measure was not as well defined as Colorado’s upon the vote, and it wasn’t until 2022 that some things became clear. Although one point that was clear at voting time, was that this only applied to magic mushrooms.
When draft rules finally came out, they stipulated that not only is it only magic mushrooms allowed, but limited it to only one species: Psilocybe cubensis. Colorado, much like Oregon, is looking to set up treatment centers where the drugs can be given as natural medicine. Only, it seems Colorado is more geared to doing this medicinally, and Oregon doesn’t make that stipulation. How much Colorado allows ‘spiritual’ and ‘medical’ to overlap, is hard to say at the moment.
Colorado decriminalized the use of these plants as well for adults. Oregon did likewise through a different ballot measure called Measure 110, which decriminalized the personal possession of controlled substances, bringing them down to a class E violation which comes with no more than $100 in fines. Between Oregon’s two measures, and Colorado’s one, they do provide similar overage, with Colorado going just a bit farther for what it will offer in treatment centers. In neither state was a full recreational legalization made.
Where else is there legislation for entheogenic plants?
Different individual locations within the US have passed decriminalization measures for different hallucinogenic substances. These vary between locations in exactly what they permit. One of the more recent additions was San Francisco. In September 2022 its Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution which doesn’t make a legal change, but which does instruct law enforcement to put possession and use of the included plants as the lowest priority for arrest. And it does specifically define them as entheogenic.
The resolution, called Supporting Entheogenic Plant Practices (resolution 220896), decriminalizes the “full spectrum of plants, fungi, and natural materials that can inspire personal and spiritual well-being.” It even stipulates that this covers “planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, engaging in practices with” these plants. This decriminalization does nothing to limit punishment for drugs like LSD and MDMA.
Seattle did something similar in October 2022, also not making it fully legal, but passing a resolution which states “that the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of anyone engaging in entheogen-related activities should be among The City of Seattle’s lowest law enforcement priorities and stating the Council’s support for full decriminalization of these activities.”
Detroit also went the way of specifically decriminalizing entheogenic plants. Voter measure Proposal E, which was voted in on November 2nd, 2021, asked the question: “Shall the voters of the City of Detroit adopt an ordinance to the 2019 Detroit City Code that would decriminalize to the fullest extent permitted under Michigan law the personal possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants by adults and make the personal possession and therapeutic use of Entheogenic Plants by adults the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority?” The city responded yes with 61.08% of the voting population onboard with this.
On a state level, Michigan attempted to legalize some hallucinogens, but the bill was defeated last spring. California also attempted a psychedelics legalization, but the bill tanked out as well. It has, however, come back, introducing Senate Bill 58 in December which would “decriminalize the possession and personal use of certain psychedelic drugs.” These include “psilocybin, psilocyn, Dimethyltryptamine (“DMT”), mescaline (excluding peyote), and ibogaine.”
Washington also had a failed bill to legalize psychedelics, and is also already back in the saddle with the “Psilocybin Services Wellness and Opportunity Act” which was introduced on January 11th, 2023. The bill aims to “facilitate the establishment of safe, legal, and affordable psilocybin service centers to provide citizens of Washington who are at least 21 years of age with opportunities for supported psilocybin experiences for wellness and personal growth.”
The term ‘entheogens’ includes many different substances. Many of these substances, particularly of the entheogenic plant variety, are now making their way to decriminalized or legal status; as hallucinogens in general rise in popularity.
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Officials in Berkeley, California are set to consider a proposal that would decriminalize psychedelics, including LSD.
The measure is a byproduct of a years-long project that has “lingered for three years in the Berkeley City Council,” according to Berkeleyside, which added that the council is set to “come back to life in a few weeks.”
What distinguishes Berkeley’s proposal from other communities that have moved to legalize hallucinogens is that the northern California city would represent “an even broader proposal: one that could make it the first in the U.S. to decriminalize LSD,” according to Berkeleyside.
“Of the 15 U.S. cities that have softened restrictions on psychedelics, none has included this synthetic hallucinogen. Berkeley Community Health Commissioners Joseph Holcomb Adams and Karma Smart explained that the logic for decriminalizing LSD is that it meets the technical definition of psychedelics,” Berkeleyside reported.
“Berkeley’s resolution was initially drafted by the Oakland-based nonprofit Decriminalize Nature in 2019, and proposed decriminalizing only natural psychedelics, such as psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, and mescaline cacti,” the outlet continued. “The resolution spent two years in the hands of the city’s Community Health Commission (CHC), one of 22 civil commissions advising the City Council. Over the last year, Adams and Smart, the two commissioners appointed to study it, entirely rewrote it. If approved by the City Council, the personal consumption of psychedelics will cease to be criminalized in Berkeley; sharing, giving, or distributing psychedelics will, however, continue to be crimes.”
According to NBC Bay Area, Berkeley “city health commissioners voted unanimously to recommend to the city council decriminalize the use of hallucinogens.”
The legalization and decriminalization of hallucinogens has emerged as the latest frontier in the United States’ drug reform movement.
Earlier this month, U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, a Democrat, and Rand Paul, a Republican, introduced a bill requiring the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to classify therapies involving psilocybin and MDMA in order to improve access for patients and researchers.
“Recent studies suggest that some Schedule I substances such as MDMA and psilocybin could represent an enormous advancement for the treatment of severe post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and addiction,” Booker said in a statement. “Unfortunately, regulatory red tape and a series of bureaucratic hurdles involved in studying Schedule I substances impedes critical research on these and other promising Schedule I compounds. This bill reduces these unreasonably burdensome rules and regulations that delay or prevent researchers from studying – and patients from accessing – this entire class of potential medicines.”
Paul said he was proud to co-lead this legislation, which is known as the Breakthrough Therapies Act, with Sen. Booker that would streamline the registration process for breakthrough therapies currently restricted by outdated drug classifications.
“This bill will make it easier for researchers to conduct studies that can lead to breakthrough therapies to treat patients battling serious and life-threatening conditions,” Paul said in a statement.
The legislation has won the endorsement of Martin R. Steele, a retired United States Marine Corps lieutenant general who leads the Veteran Mental Health Leadership Coalition.
“We urge Congress to swiftly pass the Breakthrough Therapies Act, which responsibly reduces the barriers to research and limited access of potentially life-saving treatments like MDMA- and psilocybin-assisted therapy,” said Steele. “Veterans should not be forced (nor should anyone else) to leave the country – at great expense – to access breakthrough therapies that can be safely provided and further studied in real-world settings here at home.”
Should the bill pass and become law, it would force the DEA to reschedule the aforementioned substances under the Controlled Substances Act.
Tolerance is one of the factors that can lead a person to OD on a drug, because it encourages them to take more than their body can handle. However, not every drug causes tolerance in the same way, and with some drugs, there are no problems. How does tolerance work with psychedelics? Read on to find out.
Drug tolerance exists with psychedelics, but doesn’t cause the same kind of problems as it does in other drug classes. Thanks for joining our independent publication covering topics in the cannabis and psychedelics industries. The publication runs alongside the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, a base point for regular updates on ongoing stories and breaking news. Sign up, and also get prime access to an array of deals on cannabis and psychedelics products, including vapes, edibles, smoking paraphernalia, and cannabinoid compounds like Delta 8 & HHC. Check out offers in our ‘best of’ lists, and only make purchases for the products you’re comfortable using.
Drug tolerance, in short, is drug desensitization. In other words, “a person’s diminished response to a drug, which occurs when the drug is used repeatedly and the body adapts to the continued presence of the drug.” This is similar to drug resistance, which has its own definition, and “refers to the ability of microorganisms or cancer cells to withstand the effects of a drug usually effective against them.” We are only interested in the first definition.
Drug tolerance comes from repeatedly using a drug until it requires more of the drug to get to the same response, that was obtained with smaller doses originally. How a drug is metabolized is one aspect of tolerance. When a body is repeatedly exposed to a drug it becomes more productive at breaking down the drug, and can then do so faster. Another aspect of it relates to the number of drug receptor sites, and their overall decrease in the continued presence of a drug; in order to stave off the reaction, less reactionary sites are used. Yet another aspect is in how strongly bonds are made between the drug and the receptor it attaches to, which can vary through time and use.
When we speak of drug tolerance, we’re often talking about how much of the drug is needed to produce certain effects, like getting high or relieving pain. But there are other effects that go along; like depression of the cardiovascular system if a person is taking a downer, or its stimulation, if on an upper. Just because a person might require more fentanyl, or more cocaine, to feel the same high as they did when they started their habit, it doesn’t mean their heart can take the amount necessary to create the new high.
No matter how much fentanyl or cocaine a person ingests, they don’t increase the ability of their autonomic nervous system, which controls actions like breathing, keeping the body at the right temperature, and heart rate. If a person must take a very large dose of fentanyl to access its analgesic effects, this could lead to an overdose, due to nervous system depression at a greater level than the body can handle to survive.
Tolerance and psychedelics
People aren’t known for being strung out on psychedelics the same way they are on opioids. You don’t usually hear about people tripping out as frequently as you hear about them taking lines of cocaine. And I’m not saying psychedelics aren’t popular, but they’re not used constantly, even by the biggest aficionados.
When it comes to how tolerance works with psychedelics, there is limited research. No general consensus exists that tolerance among different psychedelics is the same. However, there is reason to believe it’s created similarly, based on the ways the drugs are used, and the receptor sites (5-HT2A receptors) they attach to.
This is not true between different classes of hallucinogens, like between psychedelics and dissociative hallucinogens. For example, ketamine therapy might come with its own issues of tolerance, but not the same ones that magic mushrooms or LSD produce. As the different hallucinogenic classes effect different neurotransmitter receptors, they cannot be expected to cause tolerance in the same way.
The sort of tolerance that psychedelic mushrooms, (and other psychedelic compounds), cause, is called tachyphylaxis, which translates to the “appearance of progressive decrease in response to a given dose after repetitive administration of a pharmacologically or physiologically active substance.” This, of course, sounds like the definition of tolerance in general, just using different words, and it is. As tolerance to any drug is a short-lived event following the drugs’ use, this definition is just a reiteration of the general concept. So, what’s the real difference?
Perhaps one big fundamental difference between drugs like opioids and psychedelics, is not in the idea of tolerance, but in the idea of addiction. A person on opioids doesn’t just want to get high again, their body might start to feel sick if they don’t. A physical addiction isn’t about getting high (necessarily), but about easing negative symptoms. So even at a time when the body is desensitized, the urge is there to find the amount that will cause a new effect.
Since psychedelics don’t have addiction potential, there’s no real reason for a person to attempt to be on them constantly, which means most people aren’t trying to gain a new high, right after being high. Bodies can naturally cool down, and return to their normal tolerance level before the next dose. For drugs that drive an addiction – whether physical or just psychological, the desire is more likely to be there to override the period of tolerance.
How does tolerance work with psychedelics?
As said, research is limited, but some does exist. LSD studies show that right after use, tachyphylaxis kicks in, and receptors deregulate very quickly, and stop producing the same action for a period of time. It’s also seen that there’s cross-tolerance between LSD, magic mushrooms, and mescaline, as they all work on the same receptors. Cross tolerance indicates building a tolerance to one substance by using, and building a tolerance to, a similar substance.
So if a person takes a magic mushroom trip on Friday, they’re not likely to have the same experience if they take the same amount of mushrooms on Saturday. Or if they take LSD. It’s not recommended to take trips that close together for this reason. At retreats, for example, its common to leave at least 24 hours in between trip sessions, if not more time. Some people opt not to do trips within weeks or months of each other, but the drug should be worked out of the system within a day or two.
The time in between is time for the substance to be metabolized out, and for the neural response to go back to normal. The longer the half-life of the drug, the more chance for it to stick around in the body, and the longer it might take for the body to return to a normal state.
Differences in tolerance
When it comes to tolerance and psychedelics, its not that different from other drugs, like opioids, where we associate a person constantly needing to take more to reach the same high/pain relief level. Both cause the body to temporarily stop reacting to the compounds in the same way, for at least a little while after taking them. Thus making the compounds seem less active, requiring higher doses to reach the same effect level, or creating a general inability to do so. But there are differences.
Unlike drugs like opioids, psychedelics don’t produce the same kind of addictive tendency, meaning a person simply isn’t driven to continue trying to take them when their body is in the after-high state. That drive is important, because it dictates whether a person will attempt to override tachyphylaxis, and get high again during the down period following a high. If a person only takes fentanyl after each session of tachyphylaxis, they’d be less likely to build – and maintain – an overall addiction. That fentanyl drives people to take more during this period, and that psychedelics don’t, certainly says a lot for the difference between the compounds.
When it comes to overdosing from tolerance, psychedelics haven’t shown a potential for causing death, indicating that the body stops responding to them. This is unlike opioids, which deliver – and keep delivering – a powerful blow to the autonomic nervous system. After a point of ingestion, a person’s heart will stop beating. Period. Psychedelics illicit a response from the autonomic nervous system, but at a certain point, seem to stop. Why this happens is not understood, but it is consistent among psychedelics.
Psychedelics therefore aren’t associated with the problems that come with over-accumulation and death. People do experience bad trips, but they don’t get to a point where the system is overloaded in the same way. Psychedelics don’t cause users to try to take more and more in a short period, and don’t cause overdose deaths if someone does. Both of these factors mean that psychedelics aren’t responsible for the same level of damage that other drug classes are capable of.
Tolerance most certainly exists with psychedelics, but not in a way that matters for their use. In order to avoid dealing with an inability to get effects, users should simply leave a little time in between sessions. Given their lack of ability to cause addiction, this shouldn’t be a problem.
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The psychedelics industry is gearing up for a massive debut, and opinions on the compounds are changing for the better. How popular are psychedelics in America right now? New survey results show that these compounds are not unknown to the American public, and that close to 30% of respondents, have already tried them.
With the psychedelics boom underway, we now ask the question, just how popular are psychedelics in America? A recent survey has some interesting results on this matter. Welcome to out completely independent news publication focusing on cannabis and psychedelics reporting. We offer the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter to provide regular updates for readers, along with some top notch deals on all kinds of products including smoking paraphernalia, edibles, and cannabinoid compounds like the uber popular Delta 8 THC, and HHC. Head to our ‘best of’ lists to check out offers, and make sure to only purchase the products you are fully comfortable using.
The psychedelics revolution
100 years ago psychedelics weren’t a thing yet, at least not in Western medicine. Though they’ve enjoyed a wide and long-ranging tenure in different cultural traditions, their use as a recreational or medicinal drug in today’s modern, Westernized world, was still far off 100 years ago. 50 Years ago, legislation to get rid of psychedelics from society in general, already went through. Yup, in just a 50 years period, drugs like LSD were discovered, found to have great therapeutic properties, and then were promptly illegalized, both by the US government, and the UN.
What started blossoming out as a beautiful answer to issues of mental health and addiction, was snuffed out in favor of the pharmaceutical antidepressant market, which was never effective, so long as you never listened to pharmaceutical reps, or paid-for research, which is a significantly bigger issue than most people realize. And it happened so fast, that most people never gained awareness of the benefits these compounds provide. In fact, psychedelics existed mainly as a black market for recreational purposes, and were roundly associated with hippies and the anti-war movement of the 1960’s.
So, it’s a major change in climate to go from scare-tactic videos showing people jumping out of windows (part of my DARE program in high school), to news articles blaring about how quickly drugs like magic mushrooms and ketamine help with treatment resistant depression. It’s even more eye-opening that Oregon passed legislation to legalize psilocybin mushrooms, and that Washington, California, Michigan, and Colorado are working toward legalizations as well. And lets certainly not forget that the US government actually did legalize a form of ketamine in 2019 (esketamine) for depression, though in a very quiet manner.
Beyond treatment resistant depression, psychedelics are being studied in earnest for their ability to help with addiction issues, pain management (particularly ketamine), obsessive-compulsive issues, and post-partum depression. In fact, ketamine is already being openly used for all of the above in a clinic system that allows its prescription, because of its place as an approved anesthetic.
With the line changing from ‘psychedelics are dangerous’ to ‘psychedelics are good for you’, it’s not that surprising that such compounds already have a relatively high use rate in a place like America. How high? Different surveys give different estimates, but one says that psychedelics are already so popular in America, that about 30% of the population has already tried them.
How popular are psychedelics in America – Latest survey
How popular are psychedelics in America right now? It’s hard to get concrete answers to questions like this because its hard to survey the entire country. Surveys take representative measurements – where a small portion of the population is questioned to represent a greater population, and they come with a lot of issues, particularly when samples are small, or not collected to reflect a greater population. Having said that, since polling every individual for opinion is not possible in a country the size of the US, surveys are about the best we have to go on.
A recent survey conducted by YouGov, a British internet-based data analytics and market research company, found that almost 30% of Americans already tried psychedelics at least once. Now, this survey has massive limitations. For one, only 1000 people were questioned, and though they were picked to represent the US, they unlikely did in a comprehensive way. It should be expected that this particular group is not representative of the US at large. Even so, when it comes to this topic, there’s not much to go on, so this is what we’ve got.
According to the report, the sample was weighted “According to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as news interest and 2020 Presidential vote (or non-vote).”
The survey, conducted between July 22-25 of this year, showed that of the seven psychedelics asked about (LSD, magic mushrooms/psilocybin, MDMA/ecstasy, DMT, mescaline/peyote, ketamine, and salvia), 28% of respondents had already tried at least one. Of those drugs, LSD was the most popular psychedelic in America according to this sample, with 14% of respondents having tried it. Second was psilocybin, which 13% had tried. MDMA was third with 9%, ketamine was done by 6%, DMT also by 6%, and salvia by 5%.
Though the survey has plenty of holes, it does show something for sure; that psychedelics are accepted and popular enough for a good chunk of this sample to already be familiar with them. Psychedelics are Schedule I controlled substances, with the exception of ketamine which has Schedule III approval as an anesthetic, and its half-brother esketamine which is also Schedule III for depression. It says a lot about how people see them, and the lessening fear associated with them, that so many in the survey had already done them.
What does other research say?
Obviously, its cool to see the results of the survey mentioned above, because it shows how popular psychedelics are in America, despite years of smear campaigns against them. But, how much can these results be generalized to all of America? Let’s take a look at other research done in the last decade on psychedelic use in the US.
One interesting study, which came out in 2013, called Over 30 million psychedelic users in the United States, looked to establish an “estimated lifetime prevalence of psychedelic use” by using data from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), which sampled 57,873, 12 years and older. The study specifically looked at LSD, magic mushrooms, and mescaline, and found that as of 2010, there were over 30 million people who had used psychedelics in their lives. The greatest use category was for 30–34-year-olds.
In a study like this, whether results are liked or not, it should be remembered that all data is taken from other data sets which were not collected for the specific purposes of this study, and that study investigators had no way to control for confounding factors (a confounding factor is anything that can influence the outcome outside of what is being investigated). In the study, the authors state, “This study was exempt from review by our Regional Committee for Medical Research Ethics because all data are available in the public domain without any identification of personal information.”
Researchers were also specifically estimating, meaning they weren’t taking direct outcome numbers, but using direct outcome numbers to form estimate numbers via the online Survey Documentation Analysis, which comes from the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. Even with these limitations, being able to estimate that nearly 1/3 of Americans have tried psychedelics, certainly says a lot for their general prevalence.
Let’s look at just LSD now. According to a DrugPolicy report from 2017 using already collected 2014 survey data, in the age group of 12-17 year-olds, .3% of the collected 16,875 respondents were current LSD users. That percentage was also relevant to the group of 18-25 year-olds, for which there were 11,643 data points. In terms of actively using adults aged 26 and above, .1% of the total 33,750 sampled, were active users. Active use in this case means used within the last month. This is different from looking at surveys that establish whether someone has ever done a drug in their lifetime, which helps explain the lower numbers.
Another study also looked at just LSD. This study from ScienceDirect, entitled Trends in LSD use among US adults: 2015–2018, used a secondary analysis of National Survey on Drug Use and Health data from 2015–2018. This involved the use of data from 168,562 adults ages 18 and up, which means this study also only took from previous data compiled for different research projects, in which the investigators could not control for anything.
According to results, use of LSD rose 56.4% between the years of 2015 and 2018. It showed that usage for the age group 26-34years of age increased to 31.1% from 19.6%, and that for the age group 35-49, there was an increase to 8.82% from 2.73%. The oldest age group of 50 years and up also saw an increase in use to 2.66% from 1.83%.
How popular are psychedelics in the US? Popular enough that nearly 30% of a US sample have already tried them. Popular enough for their use to come full circle from their initial rise to popularity in the 60’s and 70’s, and popular enough for individual states to begin to legalize them. With legalizations in place, or on the way, it should be expected that these numbers will only rise in the future.
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Every hero has their sidekick. Every protagonist needs an assistant. Every train needs a driver. Just like Frodo had his Sam, Harry had his Ron, and Luke had his R2D2… a tripper needs a sitter. A psychedelic trip can be the most amazing experience of someone’s life, full of beautiful hallucinations and euphoric feeling.
However, it can also be horrifically awful, riddled with unwanted thoughts and scary sprites. A trip is always in the balance and could always go either way, and that’s where a trip sitter comes in. Being the perfect trip sitter is challenging, important and it takes time. That’s why we’re going to go through a few integral steps that should be taken when becoming a trip sitter, to ensure the safety and well-being of the person you’re watching over.
For hundreds of years our species have used psychedelic drugs as a way to enter into alternative realities. Ayahuasca is used by indigenous people in South America, LSD was used by the Beatles to inspire their music, and Ratafarians commonly use cannabis in their religious ceremonies. But why do people do it? Well, to understand why people trip, we first need to understand one crucial part of humanity: humans have always searched for more. It’s part of our DNA. When the first tribal communities spread themselves across more land and across vast oceans, they were searching for more. When man first landed on the moon in 1966, they were searching for more. When people turned to psychedelic drugs for an alternative way of looking at the world, they were also searching for more. Not only that, but a trip can allow a person to delve deep into their subconscious and deal with someone they’ve unlocked in their mind. In fact, hallucinogens are becoming more popualrly used in the treatment of depression and anxiety. Many report feelings of clarity and contentment after experiencing a trip. That’s not to say that trips are always good things. Nonetheless, a trip is an experiential journey. Here To Help writes:
“When a person says they are “tripping,” it means they are experiencing the effects of hallucinogens. Hallucinogens are psychoactive (mind-altering) drugs that significantly alter our senses and perceptions. Some common ones are magic mushrooms, LSD and ecstasy. Cannabis can also cause hallucinogenic effects at high doses.”
But the question is: what does a trip feel like? Trips can vary depending on which drug you take, but almost always there are certain similarities between trips. When someone is experiencing a trip, it’s almost always due to them taking a hallucinogenic drug. More euphoric drugs like heroin and ecstasy, are not usually considered to cause trips. It is a very specific experience; here are some of the common feelings:
A sense of love towards your surroundings
Sounds and smells become better
Scary or sad hallucinations
The world can seem cruel
A psychedelic trip does not need to be a negative experience, but it can be. Like with anything, there are certain preparations that should be put in place before you decide to go on a psychedelic journey. One of these preparations is ensuring you have a perfect trip sitter.
What is a Trip Sitter?
A trip sitter is an important part of the psychedelic experience. Although many people go on a trip without assistance, if it’s your first time then it might be worth getting one. Double Blind Mag writes:
“A trip sitter is a sober person you trust to keep you safe while you’re under the influence of a psychedelic, and having one along for the journey can make the difference between a meaningful and challenging trip. With a supportive presence, you’re much more likely to release your control…and have an insightful, perhaps even transformational experience.“
With a trip sitter you can feel more comfortable and safe letting yourself go and giving into the full potential of the psychedelic experience. In other words, you won’t need to keep one eye on your well-being and the other eye on having a good time. The trip sitter can look after you. That’s why it’s obviously very important to choose someone you trust and someone you know has your best interests at heart.
So, assuming you’ve chosen that special someone or perhaps you yourself are about to be a trip sitter, let’s delve into how to be the perfect one.
The Perfect Trip Sitter
Here are the crucial steps to consider in order to become the perfect trip sitter. Remember what Sam said to Frodo: “I can carry you”.
Step 1 – Research The Substance
The first step is to research the substance that your partner on this voyage will be taking. Is it LSD? Is it acid? Is it magic mushrooms? Although many trips are similar, it’s important to understand that all drugs are different and have various effects. If you haven’t taken the drug yourself, then research online the common positive and negative experiences of the selected substance. This will help you understand fully what your tripper is going through.
Step 2 – The Psychedelic Experience by Tom Leary
The Psychedelic Experience is a popular book by Tom Leary and it’s, sort of, like a trip bible. Becoming aware of its contents could be useful to you when being a trip sitter. Leary splits trips into 5 categories, highlighting the various extremities of psychedelic experiences. Level 1 might include slight sensory enhancement, whilst level 5 will consist of complete dissociation from reality. This book can be used as a dialogue between you and your tripper. It will help you understand.
Step 3 – Free As A Bird
Step 3 is ensuring everyone has the space and time to complete the trip. You can’t leave and go to work halfway through, and neither can your tripper. Most trips can take up to 6-10 hours so make sure the day is free and time is not at the essence.
Step 4 – The Perfect Place
Next thing to consider is where this trip will take place. Not only must you ensure it’s safety, but also the correct atmosphere. You don’t want the location to trigger a bad trip. Nature is always a safe bet, although you cannot always trust the weather. Alternatively, indoors with soft surfaces, nice colours, warmth and comfortable blankets is also a good option. Speak with your tripper and decide on the ideal location beforehand.
Step 5 – Essentials
Experience a trip can make you hungry and thirsty. But it also can make you forget about drinking and eating all together. That’s where you come in. Ensure that there’s plenty of liquids and tasty food around, so that your tripper does not get too hungry or dehydrated.
Step 6 – No Judgement or Questions
It’s important to ensure the surroundings are perfect for the trip, but it’s also important to remember how to speak to someone who’s tripping. Avoid judgemental comments and avoid asking too many questions. ‘How are you feeling?’, ‘why are you doing that?’ or ‘you’re acting weird’, these are definitely not good things to say. Instead, be open and allow the tripper to lead the conversation. Be calming and do not encourage fear or too in-depth conversation (unless they need to delve into this).
Step 7 – Guide Don’t Dictate
A trip sitter is not a trip dictator. Don’t lead the experience, simply guide it. If you feel that the trip is becoming sour or dangerous, lightly try and change the atmosphere and mood of the trip. Encourage playing some games, or looking at some fun lights. Maybe even try giving them some sugar as that can slightly ease the intensity of the experience.
Step 8 – If A Bad Trip Begins
What if a trip becomes really bad? Sometimes trips can take a dark turn and encouraging games or showing the tripper some cool lights isn’t necessarily enough. In this case, remind the tripper that they’ve taken hallucinogenic drugs and that this won’t last forever. If they keep trying to delve into bad thought patterns, speak to them on their level and help them through their negative thoughts. If the trip is out of your control and you fear the tripper could be in real danger, then don’t be afraid to call someone professional.
Step 9 – Be Empathetic
A crucial tip to remember when being a trip sitter is to be empathetic and loving. This trip isn’t about you. It might get boring and it might be longer than expected, but don’t let this turn you into a sour trip sitter. It’s integral that you personify a loving entity for your tripper. This will help them through the experience. If they feel you’re lacking in patience or that you’re getting agitated, this will manifest itself into their trip. Be kind and loving.
Step 10 – The Aftermath
As the trip comes to a close it’s important not to ease off on your perfect trip sitting abilities. When the drugs wear off, your sitter may start to feel down or introspective. Ensure you’re still being empathetic and non-judgemental. Also, take some time to speak to your tripper about their experience if that’s what they want. It might be the first time they’re able to properly discuss it from an outside point of view. The aftermath is just as important as during when it comes to creating the perfect trip.
A psychedelic trip can be a beautiful experience and one that human being’s have been enjoying for centuries. However, it doesn’t always go to plan. The trip sitter can be the difference between a positive and a negative trip, and that’s why being the perfect one is so important. Hopefully these 10 steps will help you be just that.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advice, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.
“LSD was the self-knowledge which pointed the way” – John Lennon.
John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Star all made up the 1960s band: The Beatles. Described as the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful pop music band in history, these four guys from Liverpool changed the music scene forever. They released 21 studio albums, 63 singles and won four major awards. However, what started off as 4 talented and well-mannered boys from the UK, soon became something else as they began experimenting with the world of psychedelics. The Beatles became disillusioned by fame and were a band that searched for more, with hallucinogens. But how did this affect their music, image and future?
Artists, celebrities, and eclectic types have been using psychedelics to enhance their art forms for decades. The counterculture of the 1960s was especially known for this type of progressiveness. For more articles like this one, as well as exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other legal products, make sure to subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter. We’ve got great deals for delta-8 THC along with delta-9 THC, THCV, THCP, delta 10, HHC & THC-O, so go ahead, and check out our always-updated selections.
The Beatles started out as 4, average, boys from Liverpool. The name of the band came from the teenagers combining the words ‘beetles’ and ‘beat’, which may have sounded ridiculous at the time but now can be looked back on as pure genius. The one thing that was never in doubt about these boys was their talent. A recent documentary, ‘Get Back’, made by Peter Jackson, shows the band rehearsing a gig in 1970. The sheer musical talent and improvisation abilities is spellbinding. Anyway, after doing the rounds of smaller gigs in the 50s, the band made a name for themselves through doing shows in Hamburg. It was then in 1962 that they signed their first musical contract with Brian Epstein’s outfit and the rest is beautiful history. It’s important to note that the Beatles adapted their sound in each of their albums, and yet consistently kept their same innate charm. Their music will be played and covered for generations to come.
What are Hallucinogens?
It was in 1965 that the Beatles first came into contact with LSD, but first it’s perhaps important to understand what psychedelics are. Drugs are commonly split into four categories.
There are overlaps with these drugs, and some would argue that cannabis – for example – fits into all 4. However, when it comes to hallucinogens, there’s something rather particular about them. To put it simply:
“Hallucinogens are a diverse group of drugs that alter a person’s awareness of their surroundings as well as their own thoughts and feelings.”
Hallucinogens, like LSD, are known for their world altering effects and hallucinations. It’s a hard experience to describe unless you’ve tried it yourself. Words on a page don’t come close to capturing the true nature of a hallucinogenic drug, or any drug for that matter. All that can be said is that LSD can open up your mind, and show you your subconscious. Show you a different reality to the one you know.
An LSD trip can last anywhere from 6-12 hours. You can see images, colours and even people that aren’t really there. It can trigger feelings of euphoria, deep thought and sometimes depression if you’re already in a bad mental state. The way that LSD reacts on the brain and causes trips are still, to an extent, unknown. Nonetheless, the effects of LSD have been utilised by people in the arts for generations and will be used for generations to come.
The Beatles & LSD
Any famous musician, especially to the standard of the Beatles, has to be referred to as a genius. In other words, the extraordinary nature and talent of the Beatles leads us to believe that their minds worked differently to the average person. Michael Jackon, the Beatles, Elvis, Dylan – all of these incredible artists are rare and, as such, were most likely wired differently in one way or another. In a sense, it’s no surprise that the Beatles turned to LSD. They’d already imagined a world for themselves so unimaginable when they were young aspiring musicians, that an LSD trip was probably nothing out of the ordinary for them. Plus, with the search to constantly evolve as a band and think of new, fresh and innovative sounds, LSD was a chance for them to write revolutionary music. It’s without a doubt that some of the Beatles music was definitely inspired by their experiences with hallucinogens. John Lennon said:
“I was suddenly struck by great visions when I first took acid. But you’ve got to be looking for it before you can possibly find it. Perhaps I was looking without realising it. Perhaps I would have found it anyway. It would have just taken longer”
This is a great example of the beautiful unity of talent and acid. It shows here that Lennon was searching for something and found acid to be an assistance. However, that’s not to say that acid creates talent, it simply helps people to see in a different way.
But when did it all start for the Beatles and acid?
The Dental Experience of 1965
In 1965, the Beatles were a well-acclaimed band and had a thriving career. However, something was about to happen that would change their music forever. It began, oddly, in their dentist’s house. Riley (the dentist) invited John Lennon and George McCartney to his house for a small gathering, which then became their first acid experience.
“On the mantelpiece six sugar cubes had been carefully lined up. The cubes, each of which contained a dose of LSD, were slipped into the guests’ coffees.”
After that experience, George and John spoke about feeling closer than they ever had. It’s thought to have brought them together; like brothers. George and John’s relationship is what made the Beatles what they were. Perhaps some of that is to do with the closeness they felt after intimate drug experiences. George Harrison wrote this about the trip:
“It was something like a very concentrated version of the best feeling I’d ever had in my whole life.”
After this, the Beatles opened up their minds to the world of hallucinogens and started letting it inspire and affect their music – including the albums Revolver and Sgt. Pepper.
“The frequent trips gave the Fab Four a new sense of mindfulness and freedom, one that not only poured itself into their music but also made them more honest with the press in the process”
When asked if he felt he had a responsibility to be anti-drugs due to his power and fame, John Lennon famously said to Hunter Davies in 1967:
“I never felt any responsibility, being a so-called idol… It’s wrong of people to expect it. What they are doing is putting their responsibilities on us… If they were worried about him being responsible, they should have been responsible enough and not printed it, if they were genuinely worried about people copying”
Interviews were only the peak of the iceberg, the real evidence of the Beatles love for acid was coming through their music. Throughout the whole of the Revolver and Sgt. Pepper albums are countless references to acid and psychedelia. In fact, in the song ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, the lyrics written include quotes from Richard Alpert’s cult-favourite book The Psychedelic Experience.
Their Trip to India of 1968
In 1967, the Beatles ended their consistent relationship with LSD. Instead, they decided to spend time finding an alternative high or trip. However, this one they found from natural causes. This all came with their trip to India and new-found love for Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s system of Transcendental Meditation. Whilst out there they experienced new, natural trips all triggered by deep breathing and meditation. In fact, this trip potentially had the same or even more effect on their music than acid had done. During their 2-3 month stay they wrote 48 songs and the majority of the White Album.
John said: “I was in a room for five days meditating…I wrote hundreds of songs. I couldn’t sleep and I was hallucinating like crazy, having dreams where you could smell. I’d do a few hours and they you’d trip off, three- or four-hour stretches. It was just a way of getting there, and you could go on amazing trips.”
George said: “The meditation buzz is incredible… I get higher than I ever did with drugs. It’s simple … and it’s my way of connecting with God.”
It’s as if LSD had worn off the Beatles and they were now searching for something more, something natural, something real. Even LSD wasn’t enough for the Beatles, who were constantly searching for more, and searching for a new way to experience the world.
The Beatles were one of the best bands to ever live and their music was both revolutionary and beautifully simple at the same time. They weren’t afraid to evolve and adapt, letting the world affect their sound. It was this that let hallucinogens into their lives, and that could be responsible for some of their best ever music. However, as Harrison himself said, acid does not create talent, it simply helps you find the way.
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Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. I’m not a doctor, lawyer, or businessperson. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.
Mushrooms are widely regarded as a superfood because they taste great, add richness and can elevate most meals, and are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and antioxidants that translate to incredible health benefits for consumers. If you’re looking for one type of food to add to your diet that could really make a difference in your overall health, fungus is truly where you get the most bang for your buck.
From common grocery store types like creminis, to incredibly rare psychedelic varieties, all edible mushrooms are extremely beneficial. Remember that some are poisonous, so don’t go running around the woods eating unidentified fungi. But do try to incorporate more healthy mushrooms into your diet. Whether you’re adding shitakes to dinner once a week or microdosing with liberty caps, you’re sure to experience some positive changes. Remember to subscribe to The Psychedelic Weekly Newsletter to learn more about mushrooms and the psychedelic industry as a whole.
Why mushrooms are amazing
In addition to being considered a gourmet food, mushrooms are one of the most nutritious foods on earth. They’re a low-calorie source of fiber, protein, potassium, and antioxidants, known to have the ability to mitigate (or completely heal in some instances) many serious health conditions. The list of ailments that can benefit from mushroom consumption is vast but includes: diabetes, cancer, heart disease, inflammation, cancer, Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure.
Not only can fungi help treat existing conditions, but they can make you healthier overall. The anti-inflammatory effect of fungi is proven to greatly improve immune function and efficiency. The anti-inflammatory effect of mushrooms has been shown to greatly improve the efficiency of the immune system. Numerous studies have found that mushrooms help stimulate macrophages in the immune system, amplifying its ability to fight disease.
In that same vein of general wellness, research indicates that mushrooms, when combined with other healthy lifestyle choices like regular exercise, are key to weight loss and maintenance. Mushrooms have low calories, no cholesterol, and no fat, so they’re a great way to get the recommended amount of dietary protein for building muscle, without all the unnecessary compounds that can make you gain fat.
Another interesting feature of mushrooms, one that was only recently discovered, and by accident, is that they can produce antibiotic compounds for a huge range of bacteria. If exposed to certain bacterium, mushrooms will create metabolites to kill that pathogen. This discovery could be pivotal in changing the way we treat antibiotic resistant bacterial infections.
Fungus as a healing superfood is a somewhat new concept in the western world, but they’ve been utilized in eastern medicine and nutrition for centuries. The oldest official record of medicinal compounds from Traditional Chinese Medicine, dating from the 29th century BC, lists several mushroom species. In recent years, they’ve become a popular meat substitute as we’ve seen a steady rise in vegetarianism and veganism across the globe. They’re also being discussed with increased frequency in the realm of mental health, especially psilocybin mushrooms.
Hericium erinaceus is an edible mushroom hailing from the tooth fungus group. It’s native to three different continents, North America, Europe, and Asia, and they resemble of clump of long spines growing on various hardwood trees. They can be eaten raw, cooked, dried, or steeped in soup and tea. They have a strong seafood/shellfish flavor, like crab or lobster. Lion’s mane extracts are commonly found in health supplements, and Asian countries like China, India, Japan, and Korea have been using these mushrooms medicinally for ages.
Research has found that lion’s mane mushrooms contain high levels of two compounds that can aid in brain cell regeneration: hericenones and erinacines. These compounds can also prevent neural damage caused by amyloid-beta plaques, which are abnormal clusters of protein fragments built up between nerve cells; commonly found in the brains of people with Alzeihmer’s.
Lion’s Mane mushrooms are also known to be extremely effective in fighting cancer. This theory has been tested and proven numerous times over with several different types of human cancer cells in test tubes. Liver, colon, stomach, and blood cancer cells have been studied and Lion’s Mane was successful in destroying them all.
Cordyceps are not quite mushrooms, but rather a genus of parasitic fungi that grows on insect larvae. The fungi attacks the host and replaces its body tissues with stems that grow on the outside of the larva’s body. Over 600 species of cordyceps have been discovered all over the world, although most are concentrated in Asia and medical literature has focused heavily on two types: Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris
The remnants of these infected insects have been harvested, dried, and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine formulations to treat inflammation, fatigue, low sex drive, kidney disease, and many other illnesses. Formal research on this fungus is limited, but anecdotal evidence is abundant.
Additionally, cordyceps are believed to increase the body’s production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), source of cellular energy for muscle contractions, nerve impulse propagation, and other physiological functions. In Eastern cultures, cordyceps are often used by the elderly for the anti-aging properties – attributable to their high levels of antioxidants – as well as to battle weakness and fatigue and improve their sex lives.
Ganoderma lucidum, also known as Lingzhi or Reishi, is a reddish-brown colored, polypore fungus with a banded cap and peripheral stem. Fresh reishi look soft and flat, and they grow at the base of deciduous trees, particularly maples. They can be eaten fresh, dried, in tinctures or extracts, or in powdered form that can be added to smoothies or drinks.
Reishi mushrooms contain a bunch of different compounds that are beneficial to human health, such as triterpenoids, polysaccharides and peptidoglycans. Although many mushrooms lack the scientific literature to back up their benefits, that is not the case with reishi. As a matter of fact, over 3,300 research papers published on these mushrooms in the US National Library of Medicine alone.
Although all mushrooms are believed to have positive effects on immunity, reishi mushrooms are especially known for this. Studies have found that reishi mushrooms can affect the genetic makeup of white blood cells, making them more effective immune system agents.
Morchella, or true morels, are a genus of edible sac fungi that can be found in temperate regions around the world including North America, Turkey, China, the Himalayas, India, and Pakistan. They are a prized ingredient in many types of cuisine, especially French. Cultivation of these mushrooms can be tricky, so harvesting wild morels has become a multi-billion-dollar industry.
It’s important not to confuse true morels with false morels, a term loosely applied to describe Gyromitra esculenta, Verpa bohemica, and other species morel lookalikes. Although some false morels can be eaten safely, the ones in my area and many others are extremely poisonous. So toxic in fact that even fumes from cooking the mushrooms can cause dizziness and nausea. When cut down the middle, true morels have a hollow cap and a stem that connects at the bottom of the cap, whereas false morels have a thick fibrous stem that runs through the entire cap and connects at the top. Check the photos on this page to learn more.
That said, I personally love morels. You can’t really find any in grocery stores but I’m blessed to have them growing in abundance in my yard in Indiana. I live in the woods near some small creeks and a large lake and find them frequently in open fields along the forest edge, near oak, elm, ash, and aspen trees.
Like all mushrooms, morels have many benefits but one thing that makes them unique is that they have one of the highest amounts of vitamin D out of any edible mushroom species. Only 100 grams of morels (less than 1 cup) will provide you 34% of the daily required levels of vitamin D. They’re also loaded with potassium, vitamins, copper, and antioxidants.
Turkey tails, also known as Coriolus versicolor, Polyporus versicolor, or Trametes versicolor (meaning ‘of several colors’) is a common polypore mushroom that grows in humid areas all over the world. They are technically considered to be inedible, only because they harden when cooked and don’t taste good, but they can be turned into powders, tinctures, and extracts for use in various products.
Like reishi mushrooms, Turkey tails are also revered for their immune-boosting abilities. Turkey tails contain Polysaccharopeptides, which are protein-bound carbohydrates that block inflammation and activate beneficial immune cells. Because of this, Turkey tail mushrooms are used in combination with pharmaceutical treatments to enhance their efficiency. For example, a review of 13 studies found that chemotherapy patients who were consuming 1-4 grams of Coriolus versicolor had a greater chance of survival than those who did standard treatments alone. Overall, Turkey tails contributed to a 9% reduction in 5-year mortality.
Another unique benefit of Turkey tails is that they can help regulate your gut bacteria, which plays a pivotal role in overall health. Many health conditions stem from an imbalanced gut microbiome. A study of 24 healthy volunteers found that this strain of mushroom contains prebiotics that suppressed the growth of harmful bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella, and Shigella. Outside the digestive system, Turkey tails can prevent the growth and spread of Staphylococcus aureus.
Chaga, formally known as Inonotus obiquus, is a parasitic fungus from the Hymenochaetaceae family. They grow on a lot of different trees but have an affinity for birch. Chaga mushrooms have been used medicinally for hundreds of years in Siberia and other parts of Asia. They’re not pretty compared to other mushrooms and resemble an irregularly-shaped clump of burnt charcoal, but they’re one of the more popular species on this list and are becoming better-known in the Western world as well.
Chaga mushrooms contain a wide variety of different vitamins, minerals, and nutrients such as B-complex vitamins vitamin D potassium rubidium cesium amino acids fiber copper selenium zinc iron manganese magnesium calcium. The extract from this fungus is commonly used to help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
During a 2-month study of lab rats on chaga, the extract was found to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and increase levels of HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). Experts believe the high antioxidant content in chagas are responsible for this. Additionally, studies have demonstrated that eating chaga mushrooms regularly can reduce oxidative stress and lower blood pressure and greatly reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Grifola frondosa, also known as Hen-of-the-woods or Maitake (not to be confused with shiitake) is a polypore mushroom found in Japan, China, Europe, and North America. It grows at the base of trees, mainly oaks, and can be found in late summer to early fall. The word “maitake” means dancing mushroom in Japanese. As the story goes, people were so elated when they found this mushroom in the wild that they ‘danced for joy’… and no, it’s not psychedelic.
Although Maitakes are sometimes used in recipes, they are considered a medicinal mushroom and more often utilized in therapeutic settings. Maitake mushrooms are what’s known as adaptogens, or non-toxic plants that can be used to regulate body systems, both physical and mental. They’re one of the best mushrooms to use for ‘resetting’ the body and creating homeostasis. Maitakes have shown more promising results in treating and preventing various health conditions than other mushrooms.
A 2015 study also discovered that maitake mushrooms can be effective in treating type 2 diabetes, which is on the rise. Statistics show that lifestyle choices (like diet, lack of exercise, and obesity) are responsible for up to 85% of new type 2 diabetes cases. In the study, maitake mushrooms had a positive impact on rats with this disease.
Psilocybin mushrooms, commonly known as magic mushrooms, mushrooms or shrooms, are a polyphyletic, informal group of fungi that includes Copelandia, Gymnopilus, Inocybe, Panaeolus, Pholiotina, Pluteus, and Psilocybe. Psilocybin, the main psychoactive compound in these mushrooms, is actually found in over 100 species around the world.
Psilocybin is a classic hallucinogenic compound produced by over 100 species of mushrooms across the world. It has a strong effect on serotonin receptors in the brain, including some in the cerebral cortex and thalamus regions. Although mushroom use – casually referred to as “shrooming” – is commonly associated with hippies, artists and others that tend to live a more alternative lifestyle, their consumption actually dates back thousands of years. Historically, they’ve been used to aid in religious ceremonies and are still considered a gateway to some very profound spiritual experiences.
Psilocybin mushrooms also have some powerful therapeutic benefits, and have already been decriminalized in a few locations around the world as researchers dive into their potential to treat numerous disorders. Areas of interest include conditions such as mood disorders, anxiety, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), and substance addiction.
Unlike other mushrooms on this list, there is an issue of legality with psilocybin mushrooms, meaning that they are still illegal in most countries. In the United States, their active ingredient is listed as a schedule 1 narcotic, and so they are illegal. A few pockets of the world are changing these laws though, as the public becomes increasingly aware of their health benefits.
The mushrooms listed above are just some of my personal favorites, but you can benefit from even the most common species out there. Adding some baby bellas or white buttons to your meal plan a couple times a week can have amazing wellness benefits, while microdosing with magic mushrooms on a regular basis could be a game changer for your mental health. As long as what you’re eating isn’t poisonous, you really can’t go wrong with any type of mushroom, they’re all incredible!
Disclaimer: Hi, I’m a researcher and writer. All information in my articles is sourced and referenced, and all opinions stated are mine. I am not giving anyone advise, and though I am more than happy to discuss topics, should someone have a further question or concern, they should seek guidance from a relevant professional.