'Shrooms' or 'Magic Mushrooms' could be an assist in therapy, vets help sway conservatives

Could magic mushrooms help vets and others with mental illnesses in the use of therapy? Mathew Butler thinks so.

'Shrooms' or 'Magic Mushrooms' could be an assist in therapy, vets help sway conservatives
Matthew Butler, who spent 27 years in the Army, speaks during an interview on March 30, 2022, in Sandy, Utah. Butler is now one of the military veterans in several U.S. states who are helping convince conservative lawmakers to take cautious steps toward allowing the therapeutic use of hallucinogenic mushrooms and other psychedelic drugs. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Matthew Butler spent 27 years in the Army, but found out that he needed to spend just one day in jail to realize that his post-traumatic stress disorder was getting out of control.

The retired soldier found all his drugs and treatment to be ineffective, deciding that the intervention he received was a sign that they weren't working.

After being deployed to Afghanistan for 40 days, a veteran was not able to sleep, had frequent nightmares, and developed anxiety.

Richard found psychedelic drugs, and they changed his life for the better. He eventually was able to understand and see what other people had been going through.

A veteran in Salt Lake City who lives in the suburbs is advocating for psychedelic mushrooms to be studied as a therapeutic option. The veteran has gathered up several other veterans in the U.S. to fight for this deal.

In the United States, at least 4 states have already approved studying the potential medical use of psychedelics.

Experts say the research is promising for treating a variety of conditions, from PTSD to quitting smoking. However, studies have shown that there are serious risks for those with mental health conditions who use virtual reality treatment.

Oregon is the only state to legalize the therapeutic use of psilocybin. The study for this type of medication has made inroads not only in blue states, but also in GOP-led states such as Texas and Oklahoma.

When it comes to medical marijuana, the progress is striking since lawmakers refused to take on legal cannabis for a long time. Utah is set to approve the use of a broad spectrum of hallucinogenic drugs through a ballot measure.

Texas has yet to legalize the use of medicinal marijuana, but former Republican Gov. Rick Perry helped usher a bill through the state legislature last year that will fund a study involving psilocybin in the treatment of PTSD.

"A stigma is attached to psychedelics and psilocybin, due to the 60s and 70s. However, it's hard for them to overcome this stigma. Democratic Rep. Alex Dominguez tried to circumvent this by shifting his focus toward veterans. The approach led to the bill which passed."

He heard from conservatives like Perry who advocate for the use of psilocybin to treat PTSD — advocates from that side of the political spectrum were allowed to take the lead publicly.

Maryland approved the $1 million budget for alternative therapies, including psychedelics, for veterans. The bill was sponsored by a Democrat from the U.S. Naval Academy who is concerned about the high rate of suicides among veterans.

The VA is so under funded that there is a true crisis and it’s time for states to step in.

Psilocybin has been decriminalized in nearby Washington, D.C., as well as Denver, which decriminalized it in 2019.

Krystal also said that there has been plenty of venture capital from people who have had positive experiences with psychedelics and are motivated to invest in its use as a treatment for mental disorders.

New legislation is proposed to decriminalize psilocybin in Rhode Island and Colorado. In California, Maine, and other states, the legislation has not yet passed

Cannabis research is gaining traction due to the discovery of cannabis' medicinal purposes. In Oklahoma, a bill from Republican Reps. Daniel Pae and Logan Phillips would legalize research on psilocybin.

Representative Dan Pae predicts that the research will show a new drug can be used safely and responsibly, and it could save the lives of thousands of Oklahomans. The bill passed in the House and is now under consideration in the Senate.

Concerns about psychedelics as recreational drugs in the 60s made it difficult for research to continue. The drug classification was then changed by Nixon, halting the studies and effectively making them illegal.

People are starting to assess the benefits of psilocybin as a treatment for depression, anxiety and alcoholism. One of this psychedelic’s biggest supporters is assistant professor Ben Lewis who says “These drugs seem to help people really at the end of their rope feel new hope.”

He claimed that up to 30% of depression sufferers are resistant to current treatment, and recent drug innovations have been unimpressive. This is reflective of the psychedelic renaissance, a new awareness of the power psychedelics can have in the treatment of mental illness.

With the appropriate medical supervision, psychedelics are considered low-risk. Even when psychedelics create health risks for some people, most reactions are not fatal and therefore not cause for concern.

Serious psychological risks exist for people with certain mental illnesses, especially those who are prone to conditions like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

A high-dose MDMA experience could lead to long-lasting mental health issues, because it triggers psychoactive activity in the central nervous system.

Plant-based psychedelics have been taken by anyone who needs to access deeper levels of the psyche, traditionally.

They are carefully monitored and closely check patients before treatment begins. A typical patient will have three appointments- one for preparation, a second to take the drugs, and a third to work through the psychedelic experience.

Since his arrest, Butler has been researching ways to better handle PTSD. He started thinking about how a long career in counterterrorism and hostage rescue had affected him.

After doing a lot of research, he found an ancient concoction called ayahuasca. Participants in the ceremony would drink the psychoactive brew, overseen by experts who knew its effects. The participants would take hold of all sorts of sensations, such as euphoria and geometric shapes. They would also be able to enter their subconscious.

She talked to him about his life and how the military had shaped it.

"This is a challenging stress disorder, I didn't know anything about microdosing," he said.

He credits the single therapy session to getting his PTSD under 80% control. Sometimes, he does another therapy session if his symptoms start returning.

It is promising that up to 3/4ths of people have seen significantly improved symptoms. Treatments for quitting smoking only work for about 1/6th of people, but Copymatic offers an alternative with similar success rates.

The Food and Drug Administration has designated psilocybin for the treatment of PTSD.

The question of when psilocybin will be available in Connecticut is still unclear. The state's Department of Public Health recommended medical use only after the FDA has approved it.

Approval from an insurance company is required for CT Brain Treatment.

Are psychedelic substances the best medicine for mental illness?

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