Portland Shop Openly Selling Psychedelic Mushrooms

A Portland herbal shop is openly selling psilocybin mushrooms, drawing lines of people waiting more than two hours to get their hands on varieties of psychedelic fungi including Penis Envy and Knobby Tops. 

In November 2020, Oregon voters approved Measure 109, a ballot proposition to legalize the therapeutic use of psilocybin by therapists licensed by the Oregon Health Authority. The successful ballot measure is currently undergoing a two-year implementation period, with the OHA currently drafting regulations to govern the production, distribution and administration of psilocybin for medicinal purposes. 

Another ballot proposition passed that year, Measure 110, decriminalized possession of small amounts of all drugs including psilocybin, but did not legalize the production or sale of controlled substances. Under federal law, psilocybin mushrooms continue to be a prohibited Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act.

Despite the fact that the OHA has yet to issue any licenses to psilocybin providers, the herbal products retailer Shroom House in Portland has apparently begun selling its namesake fungi. Last week, a local television news station reported that the shop’s owner had admitted to selling psilocybin mushrooms after a former employee contacted the outlet about the possibility of illegal sales and distribution occurring at the facility.

“I was led to believe by management at Shroom House that this was the first medically licensed and sanctioned place to buy psychedelics in the state of Oregon,” Kace Colwell told KOIN 6. “They’re breaking all sorts of laws over there.”

Application Required From Potential Customers

To purchase psilocybin mushrooms at Shroom House, customers are required to provide two forms of identification and fill out an application to become a member of the Shroom House Society, according to a report from Willamette Week. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and complete a questionnaire that asks about anxiety and depression, among other mental health conditions. A reporter from the weekly publication was able to purchase psilocybin mushrooms within about five minutes of submitting an application. 

“Please use the products purchased from the Society in a responsible manner,” the application notes. “While larger doses of psilocybin mushrooms are psychedelic and will definitely impair driving, microdoses should not affect your ability to drive or perform other tasks.”

Shroom House reportedly has a variety of mushrooms to choose from, including Knobby Tops, Penis Envy, and Albino Golden Teacher, Willamette Week noted in its report. Seven grams of psychedelic fungi will set you back from $85 to $95.

OHA spokeswoman Erica Heartquist confirmed that no licenses for psilocybin providers have yet been issued. Sam Chapman, executive director of the Healing Advocacy Fund, a nonprofit advocating for the equitable implementation of Measure 109, stressed the importance of adhering to the guidelines detailed in the successful ballot measure.

“Retail sales of psilocybin are not legal under Oregon law. Nothing in Measure 109 or any other law allows the sale of psilocybin mushrooms today or in the future,” Chapman said in a statement quoted by Business Insider. “Many Oregonians stand to benefit from the healing properties of psilocybin, including those suffering from depression, anxiety and addiction, but the therapy must be delivered safely.”

But the lack of government approval is not stopping potential shoppers from lining up, in some cases for reportedly more than two hours, to join the Shroom House Society and begin purchasing psilocybin mushrooms. Customer Cassie Cadence said she waited in line for “like an hour.”

“But it’s worth it to me because I kind of feel like I’m kind of a part of history right now, which I think is really cool,” Cadence added. “Because I’ve been an advocate for mushrooms, psychedelics and that kind of freedom.”

Patron Randi King said he heard about Shroom House when a “friend of mine sent me an article.” 

“I told my wife, and she was like, ‘What are we waiting for? Let’s go get some,’” King said.

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My Personal Ketamine Experience: Part 1 – The First Infusion

Ketamine might be all the rage these days when it comes to treating psychological issues, but the reality of these treatments is not often written about, and personal experiences are hard to find. Mostly you’ll just find promotional articles and a few studies. Of course, realities don’t always meet the hype, and perhaps one of the biggest lessons to learn about ketamine therapy, is that it will not work for everyone, and results can vary. It’s important for prospective patients to understand the different possibilities when going in for treatment. This article is my own highly personal experience of my first ketamine infusion.

First off, a little about me

One of the hardest things to do in life is be open about a psychological issue, and its probably for this reason that personal accounts of ketamine therapy are few and far between. Not many people want to actually talk about what drove them to seek treatment in the first place. And while I often consider myself a private person, I think there are times when it’s good to open up for the good of others and public knowledge in general. And for that reason I will tell you a little about me. At least enough to know how I ended up in a ketamine clinic.

I am a child of psychological and physical abuse, as many of us are. My problems are not hard to come by in the general public, and there are plenty of people that can relate. I grew up in a very tense environment, which led to an array of anxiety-related issues, the biggest one regarding my ability to sleep. I am considered an intractable insomniac. I do not respond to regular medications. This can be expanded to anxiety as a whole, though the largest issue I deal with on a consistent basis, is the ability for sleep. As ketamine is looked into for insomnia issues, it is indeed a reason for prescription, along with the underlying anxiety issues that cause it.

You will see different words used to explain this concept of non-response to treatments. ‘Treatment-resistant’ is the most well understood, but you will also see it as ‘intractable’ or ‘refractory.’ All of these words when used with a diagnosis next to them, mean ‘it ain’t responding to anything.’ This is far more common than many realize. Sometimes it’s hard to know that because these aren’t pleasant subjects to speak about, and many people won’t.


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A large part of the ketamine industry is based around the idea that it can possibly help those, that aren’t helped by other treatments or medications. However, it’s also available simply as an alternate treatment for those who don’t like conventional medications. I fit into both categories. I’ve been through the ringer enough in life to know I am unresponsive, but I’m also not a huge fan of the conventional pills that get doled out. I prefer alternative therapies that don’t involve standard medications.

A last point to make about my situation, is that I did not go to a clinic in America, I went to a doctor in Mexico. I am told he is one of only 15 in the country that currently provides this treatment, so its not the set-up industry it now is in the States. However, the doctor I found has been providing such treatments for two years, mostly for pain, but for other issues like mine as well.

The infusion, and the basics of what to expect

I cannot say how this goes in a clinic specifically geared toward these treatments. I can only give my experience of going to a psychiatrist where I am, who provides the treatment. There is less protocol available, and it was my decision originally to undergo an initial six treatments, as it tends to be done in the more set-up industry in America. I was provided very little information on what to expect, or the possible outcomes.

There are different ways to receive ketamine treatment. It can be injected into a muscle (IM), given as a nasal spray (esketamine), provided as a sublingual tab, given as a pill, or the original way, by infusion (IV). I did the infusion. That means I had an IV hooked up to my arm for somewhere between 45 minutes and one hour. For people that don’t like IVs or needles in general, this is probably not the best option, and the other forms of ingestion might be more desirable. This was the only mode of delivery offered to me.

It is administered by weight, but this is less precise than many articles make it sound, or at least it was in my situation. I gave my approximate weight, and an anesthesiologist, whose job it is to be able to eyeball such things, set the dosage for my weight. In my case, I wasn’t actually weighed. I was okay with this, but if you feel better with more precise measurements, make them weigh you. I was given standard racemic ketamine. That just means it was regular ketamine, and not esketamine or arketamine, which make up the two halves of the molecule.

I sat on a couch in a semi-comfortable office with no outside view. A private office within a bigger hospital. I had an IV stuck in my left hand. As my veins are a little narrow, this meant a bruised hand for the next several days. My second treatment was done in my arm for this reason. The doctor asked my music preferences, I said classical was fine, and classical music was put on.

First infusion – my experience

I cannot say the exact dose I was given, but I can say how it felt. I can also say that because I had anxiety over an IV infusion (never had anything like this before), I was given a small amount of xanax beforehand. There is debate in the ketamine therapy world as to whether benzodiazepines can hinder the experience, and honestly, I can’t answer that, and neither can my doctor. I can only say I did have a small amount in my system because of the fear of being hooked up to an IV. Those like me who haven’t undergone many (or any) medical treatments in life might understand the anxiety.

I didn’t spin out, or hallucinate wildly. The idea of ketamine treatment is to use sub-anesthetic doses. As in, you won’t end up in a ‘k-hole‘. I had an experience less often written about. The ketamine produced an anxiety in me, referred to online as ‘ketamine-induced anxiety.’ The issue with new industries is that they get hyped by only the success stories, and the realities of all the possibilities are often left out.

My doctor never mentioned this term, and I had to look into it myself. This is a negative perhaps of going to a doctor in a less set-up industry, where less background information is made available. When it comes to ketamine treatments, non-responders, or negative-responders are actually a large group, and this makes sense. Barely anything in life works for everyone, as we are all so physiologically different. My response is therefore not uncommon, though it isn’t often spoken of yet, probably because it’s not the desired outcome. But, again, its still common, and that makes it important to know about for anyone seeking treatment.

It wasn’t all-out bad though. I certainly felt spacey, and sort of out-there, though I did not hallucinate, or lose track of reality. As an example of my body’s desire to fend off treatments, I actually felt it in waves, which is the opposite of how it should feel when hooked up to an IV. The doctor did what isn’t often done in these treatments (and is more well known for psychedelic treatments) and talked me through it, partly to keep my mind off the anxiety. We went over childhood issues, and patterns of response. He gave me some interesting insights.

When the infusion was over I calmed down partially when the IV was taken out, indicating this method of ingestion is probably not the right one for me. As I calmed down in the following 20 minutes or so, a sick, nauseous feeling crept in. Ketamine is known for this, it doesn’t seem to mean anything in terms of whether the treatment will work, and is a side effect of the medication.

For the next 24 hours or so, I can honestly say I didn’t care about a lot of the things that had been troubling me. I was able to put things on hold that I had not been able to before. I didn’t have a desire to check my phone, or a need to get back to people urgently. It was actually a good feeling, though it was undermined a bit by the sick feeling that persisted, and a general heaviness.

Ketamine first infusion

Truth is, this is common too, and can go on even into the next day, as it did for me. Also something not explained by my doctor. The following day it was more a tired feeling, and the good effects wore off throughout the day. While I was able to get more sleep the first night, that was the only night this was true of that first treatment.

I cannot say I felt a response past that point, but this is also common of ketamine treatments. It’s sometimes described online as planting a flower and tending to it over several sessions, without expecting full results right away. So, I was optimistic. I did feel something temporarily, it really did feel like a possible start. I scheduled my second infusion for four days later.

Conclusion

This article relates to my own personal experience with ketamine treatments. It is not generalizable to the entire population, and is meant to help those looking into this treatment, to know some of the possible things to expect. Everyone that tries treatment will have their own experience. Some will not sound like mine. Read the next installment to find out more about my second infusion.

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Berkeley Officials Consider Move To Decriminalize Hallucinogens

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. 

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Colorado is 2nd State to Legalize Psychedelics: Voted in By the People

Mid term elections came and went, and they certainly changed the landscape in terms of drugs. Not only did Maryland and Missouri pass cannabis legalization measures for recreational use; Colorado also made a big move when it became the second state to legalize psychedelics by allowing entheogenic plants. What does this mean for the state?

How did the vote go?

Mid term elections aren’t always exciting, particularly because they’re not for presidential candidates. But that doesn’t mean exciting things can’t happen, and Colorado is a great example of this. This year, while five states allowed residents to vote on recreational cannabis legalization measures, Colorado did it a bit more like Oregon, putting it to their people to choose if they wanted to legalize some psychedelics.

And the people said yes! Coloradoans had Proposition 122 put before them, the Decriminalization and Regulated Access Program for Certain Psychedelic Plants and Fungi Initiative. The winning yes vote came from a massive 91.46% of the voting population (you read that right), which was comprised of 1,296,994 votes. The no end accounted for a mere 8.54% of the voting population, with 121,111 votes. To say Colorado really wanted legal psychedelics, is practically an understatement.


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So what does this Proposition 122 do? The newly passed Colorado measure works to define specific plants containing psychedelics, as natural medicines. These include dimethyltryptamine (DMT); ibogaine; mescaline (but not the peyote plant, which is technically already covered federally under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, while the other mescaline-containing plants were never federally illegalized, making for a loophole); and psilocybin; and psilocyn, the compounds found in magic mushrooms.

It also decriminalizes the personal possession, use, transport, and cultivation of these plants, so long as the person is 21 or older. Along with this, it creates the Regulated Natural Medicine Access Program which will be used to open an industry of licensed healing centers where such medications can be administered as a part of natural medicine services.

How does this differ from Oregon?

Colorado is not the 1st state to pass a law to legalize psychedelics. In fact, its technically the 2nd state to pass a recreational legalization, and the 3rd state to offer some form of access measure. The most well-known, is the first to do it, Oregon. In the 2020 elections, Oregon also put it to its people to decide if they wanted to specifically legalize psilocybin mushrooms.

In November 2020, 55.75% of the voting population gave a yes vote to Measure 109: Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative. That equaled 1,270,057 votes. 44.25% of the voting population voted no to the measure, comprised of 1,008,199 votes. This measure came with far less specifics than the Colorado measure, and there was uncertainty for many months over what kind of a legalization it was, and if it counted more as medical. In 2022, Oregon released its first draft rules for the industry, making a few things clear.

According to these rules, not only does this only relate to magic mushrooms, but only one kind of magic mushroom applies: Psilocybe cubensis. Meaning once its not this particular magic mushroom, the legalization no longer holds. But it also doesn’t apply to some other important things. Like personal possession, or the ability to self-cultivate the mushrooms. Oregon only went as far as to legalize use of the mushrooms in approved centers, under the eye of trained, but not medical, tripsitters. Everything outside of this specific scenario, is not legal.

Colorado and its move to legalize psychedelics is much wider-reaching. It involves many different plants with psychedelic compounds, it allows the personal possession of the plants, and the personal cultivation of them. Though it will set up centers for use, it doesn’t disallow the personal use of the substances outside of this. As it relates specifically to plants containing psychedelic compounds, it excludes psychedelics like LSD and MDMA, which are synthetically-made, and do not appear in nature.

But didn’t Colorado already legalize MDMA?

Yes, Colorado has been on a rampage. Not only was Denver the first city in the US to pass a decriminalization measure for psychedelics in 2019, but in 2022, Colorado passed HB 1344, which was officially signed off on in June of this year, after essentially racing through the state’s congress at nearly unprecedented speeds.

HB 1344 is an interesting bill. It doesn’t exactly legalize MDMA, because it’s not federally legal yet. What it does is work as a pre-emptive legalization. As in, the second the US passes a federal legalization, Colorado is already ready to go with laws set up to govern the use of the drug in the state. This means, should it not get a federal pass, HB 1344 is useless. It goes into action only upon the federal passage.

Colorado legalizes MDMA for pilot program

How likely is this federal passage? Very likely. When the FDA gives ‘breakthrough therapy’ status to the medication a company is working on, a status meant to quicken a drug to market in the case of it being a new therapy that can offer benefits that existing therapies don’t offer; it means a government agency is literally pushing for it to happen. And such is the case for both MDMA and psilocybin on a federal level.

In the case of MDMA, the company leading the charge is MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies), which not only has this breakthrough therapy status, but which organized its Phase III trials directly with the FDA to ensure that results meet regulation. It would be short-sighted to believe that a legalization isn’t coming, especially considering how well the trials have been going for the treatment of PTSD.

But wait…Connecticut gives access to psychedelics too, right?

If you’re paying attention, I said Colorado is actually the 3rd state to pass some form of a legalization measure. Oregon was first, and as it turns out, Connecticut was second, though with a different kind of measure, which isn’t considered an outright legalization. It’s also strictly for medical use.

Connecticut passed Bill No. 5506, which actually makes use of an existent federal pilot program, that is unfortunately, not often accessed. The federal program is the FDA’s expanded access program, which allows the use of drugs that have not been approved yet and are still under investigation. The point of the program is to allow patients in dire need, to access medications that have made it at least through Phase I, with the thought being that dire circumstances allow for dire measures to be taken.

Connecticut’s bill really just accesses this program through its own pilot program, and is meant to begin in the state in 2023. Once the compounds it allows are officially approved by the federal government, the pilot program ends, and the new legalization measures take over. The Connecticut bill specifically allows for the access of yet-unapproved psilocybin and MDMA medications.

This pilot program will allow access solely on a medical level, which is different from both Oregon and Colorado. It comes with absolutely no recreational aspects, and does nothing to allow for personal possession, use, or cultivation. What it does do, is reinforce the usefulness of both psilocybin and MDMA in treating different disorders, and works to start getting access to these compounds, to patients in need.

Moving forward

The psychedelics boom is happening very quickly. Way more quickly than the cannabis boom, which realistically paved the way of the former. Had we not gotten the country acclimated to marijuana, it probably would’ve been harder to push for psychedelics. But with weed now legal in just about half the country, psychedelics are sliding by much faster, and more easily.

Besides the three states just mentioned which have some measure in place, there are plenty of other states that have been/are considering full-state legalizations (California, Washington, Michigan), and a multitude of locations that have decriminalized use. These include: San Francisco, Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Arcata, in California; as well as Denver, Colorado; Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and Detroit, in Michigan; Washington, DC; Somerville, Cambridge, Northampton, and Easthampton, Massachusetts; and Seattle, Washington.

Should we expect more? You better believe it. Which one will be next, and how long it may take, are undetermined, but the trend is in place, and we know from watching cannabis, that the snowball becomes an avalanche. States where legislation was recently introduced include New Jersey with its Psilocybin Behavioral Health Access and Services Act; California with its SB-519 to decriminalize several compounds and open facilitated use centers; Oklahoma which introduced HB 3414 to study psilocybin and give access to patients in need; and Hawaii, which passed SB No 3160 to create a task force to implement psilocybin medications for adults medically.

Conclusion

Colorado shows that the push to legalize psychedelics didn’t end with Oregon, and that we can expect way more. It also shows the progression already in motion for these laws, as it offers a much wider legalization than its predecessor. It will be interesting to see what happens next in this world.

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Non-profit Organization Marches on Canadian Capital To Fight for Therapeutic Mushrooms

Over the course of the past two years, TheraPsil has assisted over 130 patients, but it calls the country’s current limitations a “cruel approach” on the part of Health Canada. The organization has attempted to set up a formal meeting with parliament members, but so far has been denied, so it’s taking the conversation straight to the capital to protest between Nov. 28-30.

According to TheraPsil CEO Spencer Hawkswell, there needs to be a proper channel for patients to be able to legally access psilocybin and psilocin. “There is ample evidence of both the safety and efficacy of psilocybin in the treatment of various mental health conditions,” said Hawkswell in a press release. “The previous Minister recognized this and started approving exemptions. Unfortunately, this Minister has stopped and refused to consider reasonable regulations to ensure vulnerable Canadians don’t have to go to Court to access treatment that can improve their quality of life and death.”

Currently, psilocybin and psilocin are listed as a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. However, some patients gain legal access with an improved exemption called the Special Access Program

TheraPsil uses the example of Thomas Hartle, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, to demonstrate the problems that patients are encountering. Hartle was one of the first to receive approval from former Health Minister Patty Hajdu to use psilocybin to treat “end-of-life anxiety” in 2020, which was valid for one year. His treatments were successful, and he reapplied for continued access in October 2021, but was denied by current Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.

“We hope to meet with the Minister to find out why he and his officials are being so cruel to us,” said Hartle in a press statement. “Instead of a compassionate response, Health Canada is referring dying and vulnerable patients to a special access program that results in lots of red tape but no access for most. Many, like me have gone over a year without a response to their urgent requests.”

TheraPsil will be arranging media interviews over the next few days to raise awareness both for the medical benefits that psilocybin offers, as well as the need for improved access. “Mental health is a non-partisan issue,” said palliative care physician Dr. Valorie Masuda. “Reasonable treatment options should be available to Canadians who have the right to MAiD [Medical Assistance in Dying]. It is cruel to withhold medicine from vulnerable patients, especially when those medicines have worked for them.”

TheraPsil also sent a joint letter earlier this month signed by medical practitioners and social workers calling for the need for psilocybin regulations. “We believe that our patients have a right to Medical Psilocybin and this open letter is to demand this right on their behalf. We need a compassionate and immediate response and solution to the Section 56 applications for psilocybin access and seek your response to our proposed request for ‘Access to Psilocybin for Medical Purposes Regulations,’” the letter stated.

Meanwhile in Canada, Apex Labs received a “no objection” letter from Health Canada, which effectively greenlit the first North American study on psilocybin as a treatment for military veterans who suffer from conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. “Veterans are already self-medicating with micro-doses of unregulated psilocybin products without knowing the potency and safety of the product they are consuming,” said Apex Labs CEO Tyler Powell. “Our goal is to expand access to pharmaceutical grade drug products through regulated systems, providing transparency and support for patients in need.”

A new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Nov. 3 also provided evidence of the benefits of psilocybin in a double-blind trial. “In this phase 2 trial involving participants with treatment-resistant depression, psilocybin at a single dose of 25 mg, but not 10 mg, reduced depression scores significantly more than a 1-mg dose over a period of 3 weeks but was associated with adverse effects,” the researchers wrote. Those adverse effects included headaches, nausea, dizziness, and suicidal ideation.

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Everything You Need to Know About Psilocybin Mushrooms and Mushroom Drugs

Psilocybin mushrooms and other mushroom drugs are trending big time. Whether it’s a new decriminalization or a recent study to come out, we keep hearing about the many wellness benefits and increased access to shrooms. Granted, there are still no consumer products available, but the fact that laws are beginning to loosen up is a positive sign in and of itself. Scroll down to learn everything you need to know about psilocybin mushrooms.

What are Psilocybin Mushrooms? 

Psilocybin is the primary compound found in psychedelic mushrooms and truffles. It’s a basic tryptamine hallucinogen with properties similar to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and mescaline, although the chemical structure is somewhat different. Research over the years indicates a common mechanism of action through serotonergic (5-HT) pathways. Psilocybin is a strong agonist at 5-HT receptors which are located within the thalamus and cortex of the brain. 

One can expect the onset of hallucinogenic effects to kick in around 20 to 40 minutes after consumption, and they last up to 6 hours. Psilocybin’s threshold for intoxication is approximately 40 mcg/kg of body weight. In wild mushrooms with lower levels of psilocybin, this translates to about 2 grams, although some people use up to 4 grams for a good psychedelic trip.  

Swiss chemist Albert Hoffmann was the first to isolate Psilocybin back in 1958, using the Psilocybe Mexicana mushroom species from Central America. Psilocybin is found in both wild and cultivated mushrooms, although just like with cannabis, cultivated mushrooms tend to be more potent. Through cross-breeding, cultivated mushrooms can have up to 10 times higher levels of psilocybin than wild species.  


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Other Types of Psychedelic Mushrooms 

There are many different strains of psilocybin mushrooms, which are the more popular of the psychedelic mushroom varieties. However, another type that’s been of growing interest are Amanita muscaria. Amanita muscaria, often referred to as the fly agaric or fly amanita, is a member of the Basidiomycota family of fungi, of the genus Amanita.  

This mushroom species gets its common name from its ability to attract and kill flies and possibly, mosquitos. The fly agaric is native to the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere including Europe, North America, and Siberia/Northern Asia. It’s a highly adaptable mushrooms species that can now be found throughout the world, and it’s closely tied to various deciduous and coniferous trees, commonly found growing under birch and pine. Amanita muscaria mushrooms have round, often dome-shaped, red caps with white spots and white gills.  

They are without a doubt one of the most recognizable of the toadstool mushroom species. You can spot Amanita muscaria mushrooms in the Mario franchise games, the Alice in Wonderland mushroom scene, and many other cartoons and animated games. Although they have many features that make them easily discernible from other mushroom varieties, there are several known subspecies of Amanita muscaria, some more potent/toxic than others.  

In classic psychedelics like psilocybin/shrooms, mescaline, and LSD, the active compounds interact with our serotonin and/or dopamine neurotransmitters, which are 5-HT2A agonists. In A. muscaria, the psychoactive ingredients are muscimol and ibotenic acid. Muscimol activates the major inhibitory neurotransmitter system, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA). As an inhibitory system, muscimol works by suppressing the activity of neurons in the brain.  

Ibotenic acid is a neurotoxin and agonist of glutamate receptors, specifically at both the N-methyl-D-aspartate, or NMDA, and trans-ACPD receptor sites. Neurotoxins interrupt communication between neurons across a synapse, changing the way the nervous system functions. Ibotenic acid is a secondary metabolite that converts to muscimol via decarboxylation.  

While that may sound pretty intense, people who use these mushrooms compare the feeling to being drunk, but with a bit more of a curious and psychedelic vibe to it. The muscimol in these mushrooms can produce feelings of euphoria, hallucinations, muscle jerks, drowsiness, sweating, pupil dilation, and increased body temperature. 

Research and Legality  

In the United States, use of psychedelic mushrooms has been illegal since the Controlled Substances Act was implemented in 1970. Since then, clinical studies have pretty much ceased, but recreational use definitely has not.  

However, in 1992, the National Institute on Drug Abuse linked up with an FDA advisory team to revamp research efforts of psychedelic agents – albeit extremely limited research. In 1993, the Heffter Research Institute in New Mexico was founded. It’s one of the only institutes in the world the is entirely dedicated to uncovering the medical benefits of psychedelic compounds found in nature. Despite these developments, psilocybin is still banned in the U.S. 

Around the world, novel and alternative treatments for mental illnesses becoming increasingly sought after, new resources are being aimed at age-old therapies including cannabis, ketamine, mescaline, and psilocybin. Dr. George R. Greer, co-founder and president of the Heffter Research Institute, “Our mission is two-fold: one to do research that helps us understand the mind, the brain, how all that works, and number two, to help reduce suffering through therapeutic use of psychedelics.” 

Dosing and Fostering a Good Trip 

Defined simply, or if you look up the term in an online dictionary, a “trip” can be described as a “temporarily altered state of consciousness”. This is accurate, but an incredibly lackluster explanation for something that can be transcendental and life-changing for many people. A “temporarily altered state of consciousness” can technically be achieved through the use of any drug that produces a “high”. Even sleeping puts you in a “temporarily altered state of consciousness”.  

But psychedelic trips are different – they’re more sentient in nature. Trips can vary greatly in intensity, but they generally make you feel something. Psychedelics affect all the senses and can change a person’s thought process, and their sense of time, space and reality. They are known to produce auditory, visual, and sensory hallucinations; however, some users experience no hallucinations at all, but rather a sense of general well-being, connectivity, and euphoria. Numerous factors make tripping a very subjective experience.  

Dosing (which can range from microdoses that are less than 0.5 grams, to “heroic” doses that are 5 grams or more) and other elements can significantly impact a psychedelic trip, so you want to make sure that you’re doing everything possible to guarantee an uplifting and beneficial high.  

Although a psychedelic trip can be achieved via meditation, sensory-deprivation, light therapy, and a handful of other methods; the easiest and most common ways to achieve this state of mind is through the use of psychedelic drugs. Psychedelic drugs, also referred to entheogens, are a subset of hallucinogens which contain compounds that can alter perception. The term entheogens come from Greek and can be roughly translated to mean “building the God within”.  

To utilize these compounds to their full potential, a few things need to be kept in mind, all of which largely have to do with a concept known in the psychonaut world as ‘set and setting’. Set refers to your state of mind, while setting describes the environment of your trip. Psychologist and author, Timothy Leary, could not emphasize it more… “set and setting are of utmost importance when it comes to having a happy and therapeutic psychedelic trip,” he says. 

Risk of Addiction and Overdose 

Psilocybin mushrooms and other mushroom drugs have a very low potential of both addiction and overdose. As a matter of fact, recent studies confirm that only 0.2% of magic mushroom users seek emergency medical care after use… the lowest of any recreational drug, including cannabis. A psilocybin “overdose”, or a bad trip rather, can lead to various psychological symptoms, the primary one being very intense panic attacks.    

One of the biggest risks to consider when eating magic mushrooms, especially if you’re foraging for them yourself, is picking the wrong type. Given that there are over 14,000 different mushroom species in the world, it’s easy to conclude that some may have very similar characteristics – making them hard to tell apart from each in real life situations. Eating a poisonous mushroom can be fatal, so that’s definitely something you’ll want to be very careful about. 

It’s also important to keep in mind the stark contrast between an overdose and a bad trip. Some people might mistake the two, but they are fundamentally different. The main difference between the two is that overdoses are physical and bad trips are mental. Overdoses can be fatal, whereas bad trips are basically just scary and confusing.  

That distinction is extremely important, because it really highlights the sheer insanity of keeping psychedelic drugs illegal. How are drugs like Oxycontin and other opioids (which kill an average of 44 people per day in the U.S.) legal with prescriptions, while psychedelics that are considerably safer remain prohibited? 

Psilocybin for Depression 

Although there are many possible uses for psilocybin, at the moment, it’s most frequently used to treat conditions relating to mental health. Depression and anxiety are among the most researched indications for psilocybin treatment.

“There’ve been some promising preliminary results in such areas such as the treatment of overwhelming depression and existential anxiety in people who are facing the end of life, who have diagnoses of advanced-stage cancer,” Dr. Charles Grob, professor of psychiatry at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, stated in an interview with Healthline. “The thing that we have the most evidence for is cancer-related depression and anxiety. That seems really strong, and I’d be surprised if those results didn’t hold up,” he added.

Another possible use for psychedelic mushrooms is in the cessation of smoking, drinking, and other possible drug addictions. In a small pilot study conducted at Johns Hopkins University, people who partook in psilocybin therapy for addiction successfully abstained from smoking cigarettes over the following 12-month period.

“The general idea is that the nature of these disorders is a narrowed mental and behavioral repertoire,” says Matthew Johnson, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences at John Hopkins. “So, in well-orchestrated sessions, there is the ability to essentially shake someone out of their routine to give a glimpse of a larger picture and create a mental plasticity with which people can step outside of those problems.”

Final Thoughts

In the coming years, we can expect to see more research and legalizations coming in the realm of psilocybin mushrooms and mushrooms drugs. Remember to subscribe to our newsletter to learn more, and to be update as soon as new products become available.

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Study Finds Benefits Outweigh Risks of Ayahuasca Use

Given the recent Western uptick in ayahuasca use, a new study from the University of Melbourne took a closer look with data from an online Global Ayahuasca Survey, carried out between 2017 and 2019, of 10,836 people over the age of 18 who used ayahuasca at least once.

Ayahuasca is a concentrated liquid made from prolonged heating or boiling of the Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the leaves of the Psychotria viridis plant to create a tea containing DMT, the psychedelic active element of the brew. 

The drink has been used for spiritual and religious purposes in the past and is still utilized for similar purposes. Often a shaman or curandero, an experienced healer and spiritual leader, prepares the brew and leads the ceremony, which are often held at night. The experience typically lasts between two and six hours and may usher in a number of effects, both positive and negative. 

Similar to other therapeutic psychedelic experiences, participants often seek out ayahuasca ceremonies to gain a new perspective, to confront trauma and seek long-term, life-altering changes, among myriad other reasons. Because it typically contains DMT, a Schedule I substance, ayahuasca is illegal under U.S. federal law.

Ultimately, the study found that the benefits and positive experiences from ayahuasca use outweighed any adverse effects. Researchers found that acute physical adverse effects, primarily vomiting, were reported by 69.9% of respondents, and 55.9% reported adverse mental health effects in the weeks or months following consumption. Though the majority, around 88% of people surveyed, considered these effects as part of the process of growth or integration after the ceremony, and those who experienced these side effects said they were expected.

Researchers noted that physical effects were related to older age at the time of initial ayahuasca use, having a physical health condition, higher lifetime and last-year ayahuasca use, having a previous substance use disorder diagnosis, and taking ayahuasca in a non-supervised context. 

Dr. Daniel Perkins, one of the study’s authors and a University of Melbourne research fellow, nodded to the increase in ayahuasca’s popularity when speaking with Healthline

“Recently we’ve seen a booming underground retreat culture in the Western hemisphere in which people pay hundreds of dollars to go to these retreats,” Perkins said. “It is a spiritual experience, but it is not something you get up and dance to. There is no real recreational use other than for alternative healing. Overall, it is not widely consumed.”

The study ultimately confirmed that ayahuasca use results in a high rate of adverse physical effects and challenging psychological effects, though they are generally not severe. Not only that, but many participants continue to attend ceremonies; authors suggest this means participants generally perceive the benefits as overshadowing any adverse effects.

Moving forward, researchers suggest further examination of variables that might predict eventual adverse effects to better screen or provide additional support for vulnerable subjects. They add that improved understanding of the risk.benefit balance users associate with ayahuasca could assist policy makers in decisions around potential regulation and public health responses.

“Many are turning to ayahuasca due to disenchantment with conventional Western mental health treatments,” the authors write in a media release, “however the disruptive power of this traditional medicine should not be underestimated, commonly resulting in mental health or emotional challenges during assimilation. 

“While these are usually transitory and seen as part of a beneficial growth process, risks are greater for vulnerable individuals or when used in unsupportive contexts.”

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My Experience: Taking Magic Mushrooms in Goa

If there’s one place on Earth where magic mushrooms are meant to be consumed it is the sun-kissed, stretched out beaches of Goa. With palm trees hanging over you like an omnibenevolent presence, the sea glinting for what seems like forever, the sky bluer than you’ve ever seen and, of course, the sound of light trance music comfortably guiding you into a meditative state – is there anywhere better to enjoy a psychedelic trip?

Whilst the south Indian state of Goa had its hallucinogenic hayday in the 60s and 70s, this does not mean that the place has completely lost its charm and soul. Drugs are not as easy to find as they were back then and the party scene has definitely become more commercialized, but when I was offered magic mushrooms by a green-haired lady who looked like a character from a Studio Ghibli movie, I knew I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. Maybe this was the chance to experience what the hippie paradise used to be like. This is the story of how I took magic mushrooms in Goa. 

Goa

Goa is one of the 25 districts that exists within the incredibly diverse and huge nation of India. It is the 7th largest country in the world, with the second biggest population. Whilst most know India for its temples, mountains, deserts and spiritual getaways, there is also another reality. This reality is, in essence, Goa. A coastal district in the south of the country, which still has the remnants of its Portuguese colonial past.

This place has some of the best food in the entirety of India, has beaches that stretch for miles and, significantly, had a large part to play in the 60s hippie trail. This was a gigantic journey around the globe that many westerners took in the 1960s – mostly with only a VW van, some light luggage and some great friends. It was a right of passage, a chance to see the world after generations of conflict. The trip for many started in London, went through Europe, into the Middle East and deep into Asia.


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This was, for many, where it ended; others boated over to Australia. Goa was like the promised land, the light at the end of the road. Those who’d managed to get that far would sleep in beach shacks, live in peace and enjoy all types of mind-altering substances. Duncan Cambell writes about his experiences in the Guardian:

“It was possible to live for months on a few quid. A bed in a shared bedroom could be secured for six rupees a night. “Imagine no possessions” was a creed as well as a line in a John Lennon song. Fresh fish, coconut rice. Paperback copies of Hermann Hesse and Rabindranath Tagore, William Burroughs and the Bhagavad Gita were swapped… Disconnection from the west was complete”

The question people seem to ask when they wander around Goa now is: is this still a paradise or is it a paradise lost? In other words, has its time passed? It is often irritating being told by older generations how much better life was in their day. An image of an old man, sitting in his armchair, reading a copy of Nietzsche comes to mind, saying: “back in my day, no one sat around looking at their screens, they would read books and explore the world”. Well maybe Goa was better in the 60s, but at least we have better healthcare, eh? 

Goa now still has its long beaches and palm trees, but they are no longer empty. The majority of the beaches in the North and South are full of resorts and thousands of tourists, many of them more interested in taking the perfect Instagram photo rather than learning about the culture. However, not all hope is lost. The soul of a place cannot be eradicated, but it can be led astray. One writer exemplifies this perfect: 

“While Goa today may not exude the carefree nature of the early 1970s when it was a hub for hedonistic Hippies from around the world, much of the culture that sprung the movement still remains in pockets.”

That is why when I was offered the chance to take magic mushrooms on a Goan beach I simply could not say no. It would be a disrespect to my ancestors. 

Magic Mushrooms in Goa

The drug scene in Goa is certainly different in 2022 from what it was back in the ‘glory years’. Many substances were easily available in the 70s due to a lack of police authority – hashish, LSD and basically anything else. In fact, it wasn’t until the mid 1970s that the majority of recreational drugs were deemed illegal by the government, before that they were accepted. Now, of course, all common drugs are banned and dealt with harshly. You may have to bribe a police officer 100,000 rupees if caught or be put in prison. Many of Goa’s best and most beloved clubs – including Curly’s and Hill Top – have recently been closed down due to drug controversy. Goan authorities are on a dogged mission to end the reputation of the beach district as a substance tourist spot. 

However, whilst I was in Goa it was still possible to find drugs. In the north beach of Arambol it was possible to slyly find hashish or some dodgy meth that was being disguised as cocaine. However, it wasn’t what I had imagined. I dreamt of a chilled shack that sold shroom shakes and hash, but instead I found myself in a dark alleyway and could feel the fear in the dealer’s eyes; being caught by the police being a terrible threat. The India Times writes:

“In the last seven months, Goa police has seized around 100kg of narcotic substances worth over Rs 2.5 croce. Goa police have not only arrested Goans in the trade but also people from outside the state and foreigners… Ganja, caracas, LSD, MDMA, ecstasy tablets and powder, cocaine, hashish oil, heroin and cannabis are among the drugs that have been seized.”

In essence, this wasn’t what I had really been expecting. However, hope was not lost. A few weeks into my trip I was visited by an elder Indian Canadian woman with striking green hair. She was incredibly warm and comforting, I felt like I’d known her my entire life. She approached me at a beach bar in Ashwem and we got chatting. Her line of work was rather extraordinary. She lived in Goa and worked as toad venom shaman; helping people through their trip. I told her my ambition to try psychedelics whilst in Goa and within 30 minutes she’d sold me 10 grams of magic mushrooms. After that she sort of disappeared into the etha, never to be seen again. 

The Trip

I was in Goa with my girlfriend and we were pretty overjoyed that we’d finally managed to find hallucinogens. The next step was to ensure our set and setting were perfect – we didn’t want any bad vibes to ruin our trip. We decided to take them early – 3pm – this way we’d be able to have dinner in the evening and enjoy a chilled sleep. Although, we managed to buy some valium at the pharmacy just in case we found sleep difficult.

We divided the mushrooms into 2 grams each and found a perfect shaded spot on the beach. We didn’t want to overdo the amount – I mean, they looked like liberty caps but how can you ever be sure? A magic mushroom trip usually lasts around 4-6 hours, with the peak coming at around 3 hours in, which we hoped would bring us to the beautiful Goan sunset at around 6pm. 

Then we ate. They tasted awful but we washed them down with a beer. It had been a few years since my last psychedelic trip so I was full of nerves, but I was actively telling myself to simply allow the experience to happen. My intention for the trip was: to see the beauty in everything. To be honest, I realise in hindsight that this intention was a little vague. Anyway, it was hot, very hot. Within 30 minutes I decided to go into the sea to refresh but as I walked back to the sun beds everything went strange. The beach stretched out for miles and everything sounded different; enhanced.

My body was heavier than it had ever been and I felt like I needed to sit down. The trip had begun. With magic mushrooms you often can’t quite work out why you feel a certain way, which is why it took us maybe another 30 minutes before we finally realized that it was the heat that was making our bodies feel so tired. We decided to walk back to our hostel. On the way back everything felt wavey and technicolor, and each interaction with another human felt like a video game. We tried to buy water from a shop owner and it felt like we had some sort of secret. 

The peak of the trip happened in our air conditioned room. We showered probably around 10 times each just because of how good the water felt on our skin. We cried, we had moments alone, we had moments together. An entire lifetime happened in that wavey, orange room. Nothing and everything had the space to occur. It was only when the visuals began to subside slightly that we felt able to go and see the sunset on the beach.

The trip was on its way down but one overriding sense remained: beauty. The world was beautiful. The people, the sunset; everything. We enjoyed some deliciously tasty food – enhanced by the shrooms – and watched as the sunset turned to stars. Whilst the trip was no longer at its peak, we were refreshed, rid of our anxieties and issues. All there was left was to allow the world to truly be its spectacular self in front of our eyes. 

Final Thoughts

Had we found old Goa? Of course not. You cannot recreate the past and you’ll spend your life disappointed if you try. However, we’d found our own version of Goa. Whilst the overriding sun may have caused us to spend a great deal of the trip inside our hostel room, it didn’t stop the experience from being wonderful.

My intention had been to see the beauty in the world and it certainly had worked. I felt clarity. One of the reasons why psilocybin is now being explored as a therapeutic substance is due to this exact experience – people report feeling happier and clearer for months after a psychedelic trip. If I ever return to Goa I hope I will one day meet that green-haired, studio Ghibli character again but – if not – I will simply write it here: thank you.

Hello and welcome readers! We appreciate you making it over to Cannadelics.com; where we work hard everyday to bring you fully-rounded coverage of the growing cannabis and psychedelics spectrumHang out with us regularly to keep up with everything going on, and sign up for the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter, so you’re never late on getting a story.

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Beckley Foundation Announces LSD, Microdosing Research

A series of three new research projects announced this week will seek to illuminate our understanding of microdosing LSD.

The research is being spearheaded by The Beckley Foundation and its founder, the experienced psychedelics researcher Amanda Feilding.

“The first study will assess the brain changes that take place during the mystical experience—that is, a profound sense of connection or unity that can occur following ingestion of high doses of psychedelic compounds and which is proving to be associated with the benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy…The second study is a collaboration between Feilding and physicians at the University of Basel—the city in which Albert Hofmann first synthesized LSD. This study will examine the therapeutic potential of microdosing LSD for the treatment of apathy and depression in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions…A third study co-led by Beckley and Cornell University will use advanced optical imaging to investigate how LSD alters cerebral blood flow and the connection between neurons and their associated network of blood vessels,” according to Benzinga

The first study leans on research “developed by Feilding and neuroimaging experts from King’s College London and UCL, [and] seeks to expand understanding of the neurobiology of consciousness,” Benzinga reported. All three projects “are part of a larger multi-armed research program developed and led by Feilding and are focused on the use of the latest generation of neuroimaging technologies.”

Microdosing psychedelics has exploded in popularity over the last decade, as many have adopted the approach to alleviate depression and other conditions. 

As such, research into the practice has also blossomed. A study published this past summer found that “psilocybin microdosers demonstrate greater observed improvements in mood and mental health at one month relative to non-microdosing controls.” 

The study, authored by researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Department of Psychology, examined more than 1,100 subjects over a two year period. Researchers observed “small- to medium-sized improvements in mood and mental health that were generally consistent across gender, age and presence of mental health concerns … improvements in psychomotor performance that were specific to older adults.”

Founded in 1998 by Feilding, the Beckley Foundation “has been at the forefront of global drug policy reform and scientific research into psychoactive substances.”

“We collaborate with leading scientific and political institutions worldwide to design and develop ground-breaking research and global policy initiatives,” the group says on its website

Feilding, meanwhile, is an authority on psychedelic research. 

According to her biography on the Beckley Foundation website, she “has been called the ‘hidden hand’ behind the renaissance of psychedelic science, and her contribution to global drug policy reform has also been pivotal and widely acknowledged.”

“Amanda was first introduced to LSD in the mid-1960s, at the height of the first wave of scientific research into psychedelics. Impressed by its capacity to initiate mystical states of consciousness and heighten creativity, she quickly recognised its transformative and therapeutic power. Inspired by her experiences, she began studying the mechanisms underlying the effects of psychedelic substances and dedicated herself to exploring ways of harnessing their potential to cure sickness and enhance wellbeing,” the website says. 

Through the Beckley Foundation, she has “initiated much ground-breaking research and has co-authored over 80 scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals.”

“She collaborates with leading scientists and institutions around the world to design and direct a wide range of scientific research projects (including clinical trials) investigating the effects of psychoactive substances on brain function, subjective experience, and clinical symptoms, with a focus on cannabis, the psychedelics (LSD, psilocybin, ayahuasca, DMT, 5-MEO-DMT) and MDMA,” the website says. 

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