Letter: Legalize psilocybin mushrooms for supervised medical treatment

This November, Coloradans will have the opportunity to make psilocybin mushrooms available to treat conditions ranging from anxiety and depression to PTSD. As someone with a brother in the final stages of the neurological degenerative disease ALS, I have seen firsthand how it can help relieve the crippling anxiety associated with a terminal diagnosis. 

This is one of the many reasons to support Proposition 122, The Natural Medicine Health Act, which would create a state-regulated therapeutic system for adults over age 21 to access natural psychedelic medicine under the guidance of a licensed and supervised facilitator at designated healing centers and health care facilities that provide end-of-life care. State health regulators would have the power to study, authorize and regulate treatment, and it would remain illegal to sell natural psychedelic medicines.

In addition to providing relief from anxiety related to terminal illness diagnoses, researchers at a number of top medical universities like Johns Hopkins University and University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine, have found that psilocybin mushrooms are an effective treatment for depression, trauma and other mental health issues. The Food and Drug Administration has labeled psilocybin a “breakthrough” therapy. 

Many mental health pharmaceuticals are typically ingested daily and come with adverse side effects; psilocybin mushrooms are usually administered only once or twice a year and provide long-term relief without harmful side effects. 

Psilocybin mushrooms were misclassified as a Class 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, along with drugs like heroin. The law asserted that it had no medical uses and the potential to abuse the drug was high. We know today that neither of these claims is true. In fact, risk of abuse is quite low. But by making it illegal, millions of Americans, including military veterans with PTSD who could have benefited from psilocybin mushroom therapy over the past half century, have been denied treatment. In 2021, the Denver Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel unanimously agreed that decriminalizing mushrooms has not presented any significant public health or safety risk. Please support Proposition 122 so veterans and other Coloradans can have access to this treatment.

Eric L. Washburn

Steamboat Springs

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