Why mushrooms are set to be the next drug legalisation push

While legal marijuana booms across the globe, one US town will vote on deprioritising "to the greatest extent possible” the possession and use of magic mushrooms.

Above video: Medical marijuana - miracle cure or misunderstood?

The City of Denver in Colorado is moving toward decriminalising psilocybin mushrooms, more commonly known as “magic mushrooms”.

Tomorrow, Denver will take the first step on the path to decriminalisation with the country’s first public referendum on the use of magic mushrooms.

The motion of the referendum is to make magic mushrooms the “lowest law enforcement priority in the City and County of Denver” for “personal use and personal possession.”

If successful, possessing magic mushrooms would still technically be illegal, the only change is the way the drug is policed.

Colorado was one of the first states to legalise the recreational use of cannabis in 2012. Four years later, marijuana was available in retail outlets.

Although the amendment would only apply to the city of Denver, not the rest of Colorado, it would be the first official move in a US city toward decriminalising magic mushrooms.

"Magic mushrooms" are now on the ballot in the Denver. Source: AP

Are magic mushrooms good for health?

Studies on highly-controlled use of magic mushrooms show the drug may be able to treat .

Six months after the study, 80 per cent of the 51 patients analysed showed significant decreases in depressed mood and anxiety, while about 60 per cent showed symptoms in the normal range.

The trial also found that participants had an increased quality of life, with 83 per cent reporting increases in wellbeing and 67 per cent reporting that the experience was one of the top five meaningful experiences in their lives.


What about decriminalisation Australia?

When it comes to drug legalisation, Australia is lagging behind the US . Medicinal cannabis in Australia became legalised less than three years ago. Compare that to the US where some regions began decriminalising the drug in the 1970s.

The cultivation, manufacture, possession, use and supply of magic mushrooms is illegal throughout Australia. But there is a movement for the medical use of the drug.

A  l is being carried out in Melbourne on terminally ill patients, which was financially supported by investment banker Peter Hunt and his wife invested over $100,000.

Researchers are giving religious leaders psychedelic drugs in the interest of science
Thirty patients at a Melbourne hospital will be given psilocybin, the main ingredient in 'magic mushrooms', to help treat end-of-life anxiety. Source: Bloomberg

At the St Vincent's Hospital trial, dying patients will be treated with magic mushrooms to reduce anxiety.

According to the hospital, three in every 10 palliative care patients can experience extreme distress in their final months.

During the trial, which began in April, Clinical psychologist Dr Margaret Ross said patients would be given a single dose of synthetic psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in mushrooms.

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Published 7 May 2019 at 4:21pm