The DEA published a new document in the Federal Register on September 2 requesting an increase in production for certain Schedule I and Schedule II substances so that it can initiate more research studies.
Titled “Proposed Adjustments to the Aggregate Production Quotas for Schedule I and II Controlled Substances and Assessment of Annual Needs for the List I Chemicals Ephedrine, Pseudoephedrine, and Phenylpropanolamine for 2021,” the article specifically includes some major changes for cannabis and psilocybin.
In the document’s section dedicated to explaining adjustments for 2021, it begins with mentioning the changes to cannabis and psilocybin. “DEA is proposing significant increases to the APQs of the schedule I substances psilocybin, psilocin, marihuana, and marihuana extract, which are directly related to increased interest by DEA registrants in the use of hallucinogenic controlled substances for research and clinical trial purposes,” the DEA writes.
“DEA firmly believes in supporting regulated research of schedule I controlled substances. Therefore, the APQ increases reflect the need to fulfill research and development requirements in the production of new drug products, and the study of marijuana effects in particular, as necessary steps toward potential Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of new drug products.”
Among many scheduled substances listed in a chart, no changes were noted between the “established 2021 quotas” and “proposed revised 2021 quotas.” For the entries that did include a change, most were increased by only 30 grams, with a few exceptions. However, the listing for psilocybin received a proposed increase from 30 grams to 1,500 grams, and psilocyn received an increase from 50 grams to 1,000 grams. Likewise, “marihuana” received a bump from 1,500,000 grams to 2,000,000 grams, and the “marihuana extract” quota increased from 200,000 grams to 500,000 grams.
The DEA does not go into detail regarding why it is suddenly so interested in studying psilocybin and psilocyn in large quantities, but the substance has received a good amount of attention over the past year. The state of Oregon will soon be voting on psilocybin legalization initiative called IP-34 this November. California residents will be voting on the California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative 2022 in November as well.
For cannabis, the ongoing restriction as a Schedule I substance will eventually come to an end. A petition led by Dr. Sue Sisley, whose work on medical cannabis to treat conditions such as PTSD, sought to force the DEA to reschedule cannabis. While the case in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was dismissed on August 30, 2021, Circuit Judge Paul Watford wrote a statement as a part of his ruling that cannabis reclassification could be a possibility in the future.
“I agree that the petitioners in this case failed to exhaust their administrative remedies and therefore join the court’s opinion dismissing their petition for review,” Watford wrote. “I write separately to note that, in an appropriate case, the Drug Enforcement Administration may well be obliged to initiate a reclassification proceeding for marijuana, given the strength of petitioners’ arguments that the agency has misinterpreted the controlling statute by concluding that marijuana ‘has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.’”
Comments for the DEA’s most recent article can be submitted between now and October 4.
A BC company is pushing to regulate magic mushrooms and recently submitted a proposal to Health Canada. TheraPsil is a non-profit organization that advocates for safe access to medicinal mushrooms. They believe that the use of psychedelics should be between a doctor and a patient. Using the first federal cannabis regulations as a guide, they […]
Taylor West and Jahan Marcu join host Heather Sullivan to talk about the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, recently introduced by its three main sponsors Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), as well as movement at the federal level on advancing medical research into the benefits of psychedelics. Produced by Shea Gunther.
While cannabis is slowly creeping out of the shadows to be the new pharmaceutical darling, another class of drugs is patiently waiting its turn. Psychedelics have already shown great promise in the past for help with neural issues, and now evidence demonstrates just how magic mushrooms can help heal the brain, according to a new Yale study.
How cool is it to think that magic mushrooms can actually help heal your brain? Just as cool as it is to think that cannabis can quell your anxiety, or stop your tremors. We don’t know all the benefits of psychedelics, but we sure know a lot of the benefits of cannabis at this point, and both drug classes are highly promising. With cannabis, just like psychedelics, there are tons of options, and one of the best these days is delta-8 THC, since it gets around the issue of causing anxiety, fogging up the brain, and couch locking a person. With delta-8, the high is less intense, and more energetic, making this beneficial for many users. Check out our array of Delta 10, THC-O, THCV & delta-8 THCdeals, and keep your ears open for the real start of the medical psychedelics industry.
What are psychedelics?
Psychedelics are a subclass of hallucinogenic drugs, which themselves are a type of psychoactive drugs. Whether made in a lab, like LSD, or produced by nature, like peyote, hallucinogens are known for creating a certain kind of experience. As per the name, the whole idea is that the experience encompasses things that do not actually exist. A person on hallucinogens is likely to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste things that are not there.
Beyond the actual hallucinations, these drugs are also known for promoting feelings of connectedness between people and with the universe, bringing a sense of spirituality to the user, feelings of euphoria, and an overall sense of wellbeing. While most research indicates the general safety of these compounds (despite ongoing government smear campaigns), dosing is incredibly important, with larger than necessary doses sometimes leading to a ‘bad trip’ in which the user experiences negative feelings and hallucinations, often accompanied by physical symptoms, like an irregular heartbeat, dizziness, chills, and nausea.
Psychedelics – for the most part – are globally illegal, having been put in Schedule I of the Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971, a UN treaty meant to regulate the production and consumption of psychoactive substances. Each country has its own code, as well, with different countries allowing different things. Sometimes an individual country breaks with the Convention, and sometimes the laws can be confusing.
Take magic mushrooms, for instance. While the two main psychedelic components are generally stated as illegal – psylocibin and psilocin, the mushrooms themselves are often perfectly legal, creating a bit of a conundrum. This was exemplified in September of 2001 when the Secretary of the Board for the INCB – the organization which monitors how UN drug treaties are implemented, made the following statement to the Dutch Ministry of Health:
“As a matter of international law, no plants (natural material) containing psilocine and psilocybin are at present controlled under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. Consequently, preparations made of these plants are not under international control and, therefore, not subject of the articles of the 1971 Convention.”
The study was not on humans, but used mice, and investigated through chronic two-photon microscopy, the apical dendritic spines, in medial frontal cortex neurons. The basic translation of this, is that the scientists used imaging to look at one type of dendrite (from which neurotransmitters are fired) in a part of the front of mouse brains.
Here’s what they found. After one dose of psilocybin, the spines of the mice increased by 10% in size and density. This was motivated by an increased formation rate of the spine, and happened in an astonishing 24 hours! Not only that, changes were still valid one month after administration of the psilocybin. This is truly amazing in and of itself, but there was another benefit. The psilocybin worked to improve behavioral deficits related to stress, as well as dealing with increased excitatory neurotransmissions. This means that behavioral issues related to stress were minimized, and over-firing neurons were quieted. The gist of it, is that the study results show how psilocybin can help rewire the brain in the cortex, and how it can do so very quickly, and with lasting results.
Associate professor of psychiatry, and neuroscience, Alex Kwan, who was also the senior author of the study, said “We not only saw a 10% increase in the number of neuronal connections, but also they were on average about 10% larger, so the connections were stronger as well.” He went on to say, “It was a real surprise to see such enduring changes from just one dose of psilocybin… These new connections may be the structural changes the brain uses to store new experiences.”
The FDA and breakthrough therapies
Not only are magic mushrooms being studied for their ability to help heal the brain, but they are seemingly so effective for issues like major depression, that the US Food & Drug Administration earmarked psilocybin as a breakthrough therapy in 2019. A ‘breakthrough therapy’ is defined as a: “drug that treats a serious or life-threatening condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement on a clinically significant endpoint(s) over available therapies.”
This designation is literally meant to spur on research so that products can get to market. Now, consider that the FDA is a US governmental agency, that just earmarked a Schedule I substance in order to get products out faster. Kind of sounds like the US isn’t that much against it, so long as it’s a pharmaceutical product. Considering MDMA was similarly earmarked in 2017 for use with PTSD, anyone who actually believes these drugs will remain illegal, is not paying attention to what’s going on. As soon as there is a product to be sold pharmaceutically, these compounds will be legalized. And we know this because the government is already pushing for it through the FDA.
Is all of this new information?
Not. At. All. The idea that psychedelics can be beneficial has been known since the mid-1900’s when LSD was studied for its ability to help with addiction, anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic diseases, with a particular focus on helping hardcore alcoholics stop drinking. And it seemed to do pretty well for alcoholism in particular, especially as a part of psychedelic assisted therapy, or therapy that involves the use of a psychedelic drug during the therapy session, with guidance from the psychiatrist.
This was exemplified by the work of Humphrey Osmond and the Saskatchewan trials in Canada in the 50’s and 60’s, in which it was consistently found over a decade of time, that approximately 40-45% of test subjects could abstain from drinking for at least a year, after LSD treatment.
This was mirrored around that same time in the UK by Ronald Sandison, who published a study in 1954 with his findings of how LSD helped with a full or partial recovery of nearly every one of the 36 psychoneurotic test subjects used. Sandison had a slightly different method than Osmond, though both methods can likely be used optimally in different situations. Whereas Osmond’s research centered around giving patients one big dose of LSD, Sandison’s model was for multiple smaller doses to be given over time.
Several other studies came out during the 1950’s-70’s, mainly centered around LSD. Of course, that all stopped in 1968 with the Staggers-Dodd bill in the US, which formally illegalized both LSD and psilocybin. This was followed within a few years by the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, making both compounds illegal worldwide.
The Staggers-Dodd bill came into play years after smear campaigns were started, much of which was meant to simply drive attention away from the Vietnam war, and the senseless violence being played out on the backs of the Vietnamese, and paid for with US tax dollars. This demonization was made clearer in 1994 when John Ehrlichman, the former Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under Nixon, made this statement:
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course, we did.”
That psilocybin will be legalized soon, might not be a direct fact, but it sure seems likely. After all, how often does a US government agency work to get research done and products made, without a plan to sell them. In that sense, it is a sure thing, so long as nothing weird – or political – happens to change the trajectory. Not only will psilocybin and MDMA likely be legalized in the next few years, but with all the information on how compounds like psilocybin from magic mushrooms can heal the brain, it will also fully disrupt the current model of mental illness, and the current pharmaceutical model of anti-depressants.
Translation? Within a few years, you’ll probably be prescribed psilocybin to treat your major depression, over anything else. This is where things are going, and it’s not likely to change course right now.
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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.
Matt Stang has seen the future. When the former High Times owner was staring down the barrel of a possible life sentence for cannabis trafficking in 2010, he knew we’d already passed the event horizon — His sentence was somewhere in the epilogue of the war on drugs. Now, Stang is the CEO of Delic, […]
Just like cannabis gradually became a regular part of the mainstream conversation during the last decade, over the next few years we can expect to hear much more about psychedelics – everything from medical benefits to legalization efforts, societal views to current studies, and beyond. Given the safe and natural element to using these types of compounds, it’s no surprise that psychedelics are following the same path as cannabis: decriminalization and eventual re-legalization on the basis of scientific research and cultural acceptance.
Psychedelic research and legalization is a hot topic right now, and of all the psychedelics, THC is still the most popular one. For THC users who have a problem with the anxiety or experience paranoia, delta-8 THC might be preferable. If you think you could benefit from this altered version of THC, take a look at our awesome delta-8 THC deals, and try it out for yourself.
What are Psychedelics?
Psychedelic drugs are a subset of hallucinogens. They contain psychoactive compounds that are capable of altering a person’s mood, perception, and cognition; sometimes permanently. The active compounds are usually found in nature, like psilocybin or mescaline, but they can also be manmade, like LSD.
Psychedelics are known for causing ‘trips’, which is what the high is referred to. When a person is tripping, they may have altered perceptions of the world around them. Many people believe this is limited to visual and auditory hallucinations, but it can also include feeling, tasting, and smelling things that are not real, as well as a heightened sense of connection and understanding, and greater feelings of introspection.
The trips that people most commonly associate with these types of the drugs are the ones in which a state of hallucinogenic delirium is reached, but that is not always the case. Many times, it is more of an experience than a trip, and something can be learned and achieved psychologically with every small dose.
The word itself, ‘psychedelics’, was first used in 1957 to recognize substances that were said to open the mind, however, the more scientific term for them is ‘entheogens’. This term was adopted, not necessarily for the sake of being scientific, but rather to allow the field to operate without the stigma attached to psychedelics from the smear campaigns of the 1960’s. The term entheogen comes from Greek where it means ‘building the god within’.
Different psychedelics produce different trips. For example, with DMT you can expect a short high lasting less than 1 hour, whereas LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline trips can last up to ten hours. Some hallucinogens are more potent than others, like mushrooms vs acid. The active compounds are different in each drug so there is a lot of variation to the effects that can be felt.
Some people experience bad trips in which negative, or even scary, hallucinations are experienced, and/or a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, disorientation, and fatigue occur. There is indication that the majority of these symptoms can be controlled through proper dosing. This is why most modern-day, therapeutic users of psychedelics consume the drugs in micro-doses.
Medical Research on Psychedelics
Just like cannabis, legalization and normalization of psychedelic drugs would be impossible if there weren’t some type of medical benefits to show on paper. Luckily, the research does exist, especially in the field of mental health. A study published just last month in the journal Nature Medicine found that MDMA-assisted therapy could be “a potential breakthrough treatment” for post-traumatic stress disorder.
Other studies have looked at psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, as a possible treatment option for clinical depression, and the results were incredibly promising. Additional research is underway to determine the effectiveness of numerous other psychedelics as well, including LSD and ketamine.
Most psychedelics are serotonergic, meaning the affect the serotonin receptors in our bodies. Many antidepressant drugs involve some type of serotonin signaling, although there are numerous different ways that substances can interact with these receptors. Using pharmaceuticals often leaves the patient with many unwanted side effects, whereas natural compounds are typically considered safer, when used correctly.
Psychedelics had a brief stint in modern medicine in the 1950s and several psychologists at the time were utilizing them to treat patients with depression and addiction, LSD in particular. They found it to be especially helpful in curbing alcoholism, which can be proven by this study in which it was reported that even 1 full year after treatment, subjects were still off the booze.
Known as ‘psychedelic therapy’ in the U.S. and ‘psycholytic therapy in the U.K., it was really catching on. However, when these compounds were added to the Schedule 1 narcotics list in both countries, the ability to research psychedelics, let alone utilize them in treatment plans, came to a screeching halt.
In recent years, we’ve seen a massive shift in the way the public, as well as healthcare and government agencies, view this class of drugs. The FDA itself has deemed both psilocybin and MDMA (magic mushrooms and ecstasy) as “leading breakthrough therapies” for depression and PTSD. This means that we can anticipate a rush in research and development for products containing these active ingredients in the very near future.
Psychedelic Legalization Efforts
The heavy regulation of psychedelics began in 1966, just as these drugs started making their way in the realm of recreational use. At the time, ‘recreational’ use of psychoactive substances was rooted in their ability to expand one’s consciousness. Psychedelic activists of today could very well be driven by similar motives, but the focus of their public campaigns is ‘safe, natural, alternative healthcare’ – a topic that many people have been showing greater interest in over the last decade.
Looking at it from a purely legal perspective, it not only makes sense, but it seems like the only logical way to tackle a subject like this one. Pushing for full legalization of highly intoxicating substances is already a pretty tall order, but if using the argument that our collective consciousness is suffering and in need of expansion, you can imagine that the movement wouldn’t gain much traction (regardless of how true sentiment that actually is).
Psychedelic legalization will undoubtedly face many of the same challenges we have seen time and time again in the fight for cannabis legalization. We know medical research fueled by cultural mainstreaming makes for a remarkably effective weapon against outdated regulations. But despite how far we have come on both of those fronts in the cannabis industry, it remains federally prohibited. And when looking at our current administration, we know that Joe Biden really has a bug up his you-know-what about cannabis, so it seems incredibly unlikely that we will see any kind of turnaround with psychedelic regulations on his watch.
Nevertheless, we know it’s in the cards and by the end of this decade it will be a booming industry. Numerous, cities, states and countries have relaxed their laws surrounding possession and use of psychedelics drugs.
Cultural Views on Psychedelic Legalization
Compared to cannabis, psychedelic have the unique advantage of being carrying less social stigma. Many advocates of psychedelic drugs are healers themselves, dedicated to conserving cultural traditions regarding the healing of pain and trauma through rituals that include psychedelic use – and this will be a huge contributing factor to eventual legalization.
From their initial emergence into the mainstream discussion, psychedelics have been positioned as a therapeutic drug, rather than recreational; as compounds that you use in micro doses to get only the psychological benefits without any of the psychoactive side effects; and as compounds that will soon be utilized in some of the most cutting-edge therapy sessions, by the most progressive practitioners.
Stigma still exists, as is the case with any intoxicating compound, but much of this stems from completely irrelevant fear; and luckily it’s nowhere as commonplace as it has been in years prior. Most people, even those who generally lean conservative, are adopting more liberal views when it comes to the use of certain substances, especially those that are found in nature. Plant-based healing is a much more popular concept now that in has been in our nation’s recent past.
In a big move for the psychedelic industry, a bill was recently passed by a second California Senate committee which would legalize the possession of numerous different forms of psychoactive drugs in the Golden State. The legislation, which was sponsored by Senator Scott Wiener (D), advanced through the Public Safety Committee earlier this month, followed by a pass from the Health Committee one week later. If this bill fully passes, an extensive list of psychedelics including psilocybin mushrooms, DMT, ibogaine, LSD, and MDMA would be legalized for adults aged 21 and older.
Additionally, the bill would call for the expungement of prior convictions for possession of psychedelic drugs, the same way the state is trying to expunge cannabis convictions; as well as redefining what paraphernalia will be lawful to possess and use with these newly legalized substances.
If this all sounds vaguely familiar it’s because California was also the first state to legalize medical cannabis use back in 1996, long before it was a frequent topic in any political discourse. The golden state is also the birthplace of most cultural cannabis trends over the last few decades. California has been at the forefront of cannabis legalization efforts since the early 1970s and is one of the first states to begin expunging prior cannabis-related convictions after Prop 64 passed in 2016.
“The war on drugs has been an abject failure because it is based on the false belief, the false notion, that criminalizing people, arresting them, incarcerating them for possessing, for using drugs, will somehow deter use and improve public safety,” commented democratic Senator Scott Wiener. “It has done neither.”
Oregon, Washington and Colorado are also very liberal states that have been working to change the national narrative on drug use, particularly cannabis and other psychedelics. Oregon became the first state in the United States to decriminalize the possession of all drugs. Possessing heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and other intoxicating substances for personal use is no longer a criminal offense in Oregon. Those drugs are still against the law, as is selling them. But possession is now a civil – not criminal – violation that may result in a fine or court-ordered therapy, not jail.
The path to drug legalization can be bumpy, and taking psychedelics from illegal to medical-use-only to legal for adult-use will take some time. But based on current patterns, we can expect this will happen relatively soon. Just like cannabinoids, psychedelic compounds are the medicine of the future and when legalization does occur, there will be an industry boom like we’ve never seen before.
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Every country has its own set of drug laws, and nearly every set of drug laws comes with some sort of loophole. This is true for the good ole US of A as well. In fact, there are some very interesting US drug loopholes, namely delta-8 THC, and magic mushrooms.
What’s better than good old-fashioned US drug loopholes? Not much! Luckily, with current legislation still in gray area, delta-8 THC is available to the masses. And this is great. Not only does it give alternate benefits to standard delta-9 THC – like less psychoactive effect and a more clear-headed high – but it also causes less anxiety for users.Delta-9 is still federally illegal, but delta-8 is not completely, and that means we can bring you the best delta-8 THCdeals, so you can give it a go for yourself.
What is a legal loophole?
A basic definition for a loophole is “…a technicality that allows a person or business to avoid the scope of a law or restriction without directly violating the law.” In other words, laws do exist, but either the laws don’t cover everything, aren’t specific enough, or exist alongside contradictory laws that call into question general legality. No matter what the exact reason is that the initial law doesn’t hold, a loophole demonstrates the ability to get around it. Before getting to US drug loopholes, let’s take a look at non-drug loopholes. Here are a couple examples of existing/recently-closed loopholes in America, to give an idea of how loopholes actually work.
• The legal drinking age in the US is 21, right? Well, in Wisconsin, this can be gotten around. According to Wisconsin state law, a parent is allowed to give a child an alcoholic beverage, so long as the parent has a proper ID. This drink can be administered not only in a private residence, but in a bar or restaurant as well. The parent must order the drink first, and be served it, before passing it onto their child. This law exists under Chapter 125 of the Wisconsin Statutes, in the department of revenue, and states: “An underage person accompanied by a parent, guardian, or spouse of legal drinking age may be sold or served alcohol beverages in any licensed premises.” There are questions as to whether this could apply to a child between 18-21, as the parent is not technically a legal guardian anymore.
• Murder is illegal, right? Well, according to a loophole in Colorado, this isn’t always the case. Colorado’s Make My Day law actually states that “any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling….”. This isn’t terribly different than self-defense laws that exist almost anywhere, but Colorado’s law was used in court by inmates claiming their cell was their home, and that they had a right to murder to defend it.
In 2011, Antero Alaniz and Aaron Bernal killed 3rd inmate Cleveland Flood in the Sterling Correctional Facility, when Flood entered the cell of the other two prisoners. Alaniz and Bernal successfully used the Make My Day law as their defense to have the charges thrown out in 2014, by saying the cell was their home and they had a right to defend it. In April 2016, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signed an update to the legislation that bars it from being used further in the prison system, effectively closing the loophole.
US drug loopholes: delta-8 THC
There are plenty of US drug loopholes, but two of the most interesting ones relate to schedule I substances. The first is delta-8 THC, although how effective the loophole is, is certainly questionable. According to DEA Criminal Code 7370, all tetrahydrocannabinols are illegal, expect those that fall under the definition of ‘hemp’. The definition of hemp includes the flower itself, and products made from it:
“…the plant Cannabis Sativa L. and any part of that plant, including the seeds thereof and all derivatives, extracts, cannabinoids, isomers, acids, salts, and salts of isomers, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”
This definition does not include any synthetics, only naturally occurring derivatives of hemp. Delta-8 THC is a naturally occurring derivative of delta-9, formed through the oxidation of delta-9 when it comes into contact with oxygen. This process produces only minute amounts of delta-8 however, and in order for people to use it as a product, the delta-8 must be sourced using human processing help. As there is not a clear answer as to what constitutes a synthetic – and if human processing help puts it in this category, delta-8 falls into legal gray area about this definitional point. An Interim Final Rule put out by the DEA, and reinforced by the recent USDA Final Rule on hemp, does nothing to clarify this point.
This isn’t the only factor that effects delta-8 THC legality though. The 2018 US Farm Bill, which legalized the cultivation of hemp, and production of hemp-based products, and which uses the aforementioned definition of hemp, stipulates that it must be sourced from plants with not more than .3% THC in order to qualify as hemp. This would indicate the ability to source any amount of delta-8, so long as the delta-9 being used, came from hemp.
However, specifications to this law have pointed out that not only does the hemp plant need to have .3% THC or less, but it must retain this standard through the entirety of processing, as well as for the final product. Does this mean delta-8 is actually illegal? No. But it does make some rather stiff requirements for how strong a delta-8 product can be, essentially stating that the finished product also can’t have more than .3% THC. As the definition of hemp includes derivatives, and delta-8 is a derivative of delta-9, it does not get around this point.
US drug loopholes: magic mushrooms
The second of the US drug loopholes has to do with mushrooms. Magic mushrooms are psychedelic fungi that can grow in the wild or be cultivated. Mushrooms that fit into this grouping contain psychoactive compounds like psilocybin and psilocin. These compounds are serotonergic hallucinogenic compounds, meaning they effect serotonin receptors in the brain, and are known for altering perception, mood, reality, and time for the user, while promoting feelings of euphoria, overall well-being, spirituality, and connectedness between people.
This loophole exists globally because of two opposing factors. The first is the inclusion of psilocybin, psilocin, and derivatives found in magic mushroom plants, in the Schedule I of the UN’s Convention on Psychotropic substances, an international treaty that denotes the legality of certain psychoactive drugs worldwide.
However, the plants themselves are not under any scheduling treaty globally. This means, that though there are laws outlawing what’s in the plants, there is no law against the plants themselves. This was emphasized in 2001, when the independent organization monitoring the implementation of UN drug treaties, the International Narcotics Control Board, made a statement to the Dutch ministry of health, in answer to a question about mushroom legality. It states:
“As a matter of international law, no plants (natural material) containing psilocine and psilocybin are at present controlled under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. Consequently, preparations made of these plants are not under international control and, therefore, not subject of the articles of the 1971 Convention.”
As can be seen in the answer, it is not simply the mushrooms themselves that are not under any global UN control, but nor are the preparations made from them, which would put this in direct contrast to the illegality of the active components. However, this is an international treaty, and not US law. When it comes to US law, the Controlled Substances Act from 1970, and the Psychotropic Substances Act of 1978 outlaw: “any material, compound, mixture, or preparation, substances which contains any quantity of the following hallucinogenic substances, or which contains any of their salts, isomers, and salts of isomers whenever the existence of such salts, isomers, and salts of isomers is possible within the specific chemical designation”, with both psilocybin and psilocyn mentioned.
Depending on whether the terms ‘material’ and ‘substance’ account for plants, this definition does seem to illegalize magic mushrooms…albeit, with room for debate since the mushrooms themselves are still not mentioned.
Notwithstanding states that have legalized (Oregon), or locations that have decriminalized (Denver) mushrooms, does this make magic mushrooms entirely federally illegal? No, it doesn’t. Though the US goes further than some countries which leave a wider loophole, the US does allow for certain things. And the biggest one, is the sale of magic mushroom spores. In fact most – but not all – states allow spores to be sold so long as the intention is not to ingest them. This, of course, is as silly as outlawing all cannabis, and then allowing hemp to be grown.
The reason for this, is that the spores themselves don’t contain psychedelic compounds, making them exempt from federal law. Technically, they aren’t meant to grow or be consumed, but the law allows them to be bought and sold, making the ability to grow and consume them, very possible in the USA. Another thing to consider, related to a Florida Supreme Court case from 1970, is that, if a person is arrested for mushrooms, but doesn’t know they are magic mushrooms (or can make a court believe this), they will likely not be held responsible for what they are not expected to realistically know.
It probably also bears mentioning, that the US’s FDA made the designation of psilocybin as a breakthrough therapy for major depression in 2019, a term meant to expedite the testing and development of medications. Funny for a government agency to work to speed along medications for a schedule I compound. Says a lot for how magic mushrooms are actually viewed by the US government.
The whole idea of a loophole, is that it’s not exactly legal, it’s just not 100% illegal either. I also include circumstances where there is illegality, but it doesn’t mitigate access. As one of the biggest current US drug loopholes, there is a mess of confusion currently around delta-8 THC, and though it seems more and more like the loophole available, doesn’t really cover everything, it’s also not officially illegal either.
For magic mushrooms, once again, the mushrooms aren’t stated as anything more than a ‘material’ or ‘substance’, which might make it arguable in court. But more importantly, their spores are completely legal in most US locations, making the availability and ability to grow them, not only possible, but pretty freaking easy!
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