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Why some Mass. communities are moving to decriminalize psychedelics – Boston, Massachusetts

Boston, Massachusetts 2021-07-21 19:20:16 –


Politics

Cambridge, Summerville and Northampton have passed resolutions to decriminalize hallucinogen plants.

On April 8, 2002, a store clerk in the trendy red-light district of Tokyo has a dry mushroom in his palm. (AP photo / Chiaki Tsukumo)

As evidence of psychedelic drug efficacy grows, supporters and legislators are pushing to denounce and ultimately legalize these long-used natural substances.

Since February, Cambridge, Summerville and Northampton have passed resolutions to decriminalize enceogen plants, a family of natural resources containing certain psychotropic compounds. As an example Peyote (a type of cactus), psychedelic mushrooms (including the hallucinogen psilocybin), and ayahuasca.

Oakland, California did that first. In 2019, the city council passed a resolution Effectively non-criminalize hallucinogen plants. In 2020 Oregon voters passed ballot Gives state health authorities two years to develop a program that allows adults to purchase and consume psilocybin products under the supervision of a service center.

In the United States, these substances are famous for their popularity in the 1960s and 1970s, but Native American cultures have used them for therapeutic and spiritual purposes for hundreds of years. Now, these substances definitely have another moment. Over the past few years, the FDA has approved several studies on natural psychedelic compounds, and advocates across the country are decriminalizing.

It is not yet known exactly when and how these substances will become mainstream, whether for entertainment or medicinal purposes.

Pioneering research for medical use

When Summerville approved a decriminalization resolution in February, local Sarah Hindsman shared her microdosing experience to treat depression and chronic pain. Summer Building Journal report..

“These medicines are financially driven band-aids and often lead to addictions that we consider users to be criminal,” she said. “I had enough privileges to access the practice of microdosing psychedelics. I stopped taking stimulants daily, which helped me feel better and relieved my chronic nerve pain.”

COMPASS is one of several companies that have obtained breakthrough therapy status from the FDA. Proposed study on psilocybin therapy For treatment-resistant depression. The company’s mission is to “accelerate patients’ access to evidence-based innovation in mental health.”

“There is a great unmet need for treatment-resistant depression, which affects 100 million people who cannot be helped by existing drugs,” a COMPASS spokeswoman told Boston.com. “Psilocybin therapy is promising in early academic research, and COMPASS wants to bring this innovation to help those in distress if it works.”

Residents of DC grow silosbin mushrooms in Washington. – The Washington Post Photo: Jahi Chikwendiu

The treatments that COMPASS is developing look exactly like that. Patients will be administered under the supervision of a trained mental health professional.Currently COMPASS Study the appropriate amount and how long the effect lasts.

George Goldsmith, CEO and co-founder of COMPASS, told Boston.com: “They are supported by therapists who prepare them for the experience, sit with them during the experience, and then help them understand it.”

According to Goldsmith, the goal is to create new options for people who have not been successful with other treatments. The study is in the second phase, and the final phase may begin in early 2022 until results are available, after which COMPASS may seek regulatory approval. COMPASS is also developing training to help mental health professionals guide people through this treatment.

“It’s an experience that people often see things differently,” Goldsmith said. “If you think of our lives as stories that create stories about how the world works, some people create stories that tend to be a bit negative. All the worst things that can happen, getting caught up in internal thoughts. They tend to imagine things. They are kind. They are cut off from others. What psilocybin looks like is to interrupt the cycle of thought and interrupt its negativity. This gives people the opportunity to return to their lives and be more connected to their lives. “

While some promising research is underway, the criminalization of certain hallucinogen plants and psychedelic substances is a complex study. A 2002 article “It was generated before the use of psychedelics by Westerners in the 1950s and early 1960s was banned, and some may call it blasphemy,” he said.

Research on LSD and mushrooms surged in the 1950s and early 1960s, but LSD was banned in 1967, and the 1971 Controlled Substances Act listed psilocybin and heroin as Schedule 1 drugs for abuse. It means that it is likely.so 2020 Drug Enforcement Administration Resource GuideNatural psychedelic substances such as, ivogaine, DMT, peyote, psilocibine, and psilocin were listed as Schedule 1 drugs alongside LSD, fentanyl, heroin, and marijuana.

“The question is whether you now have the skills to not repeat what happened in 1967 … 1966 looks really familiar now,” Goldsmith said. “People were writing about how exciting and promising this was … you had the support of a celebrity — do you have some familiarity? And maybe people who shouldn’t have got it into trouble. And some of those cases can really turn the tide. “

Goldsmith, from his point of view, said decriminalization makes sense all over the world, but patience prior to widespread legalization until a better understanding of the effects of substances on mental health. I recommended it.

Promote decriminalization and legalization

In Massachusetts, legislative disputes are already taking place at the state and local levels. At the local level, national groups such as the Heroic Hearts Project, which supports psychedelic therapy for veterans, and Decriminalize Nature, a campaign to inform people about the value of hallucinogen plants and help them decriminalize, are organizing decriminalization. I will.

“Hallucinogen plants and fungi have long improved the spiritual relationship between nature and art and the legal advocacy that defines my career,” said Richard Guerra, co-founder of Decriminalize Nature MA, at Boston.com. Told to. “It’s time for others in the community to use them safely and fairly without fear.”

The direct impact of these town-by-town resolutions will vary from community to community. For example, Cambridge was arrested only once in 2020 for possession or distribution of hallucinogens and seven times between 2017 and 2019.

“Overall, our special investigation unit rarely encounters such drugs or seeks criminal accusations of psychedelics,” Cambridge police spokesman Jeremy Warnick told Boston.com. It was. “Employees most commonly seek personal treatment / treatment if they are reported to be under the influence of hallucinogens rather than arresting them.”

Boston lawyer and entrepreneur Chanel Lindsay, who led the cannabis legalization battle and helped write ballot questions, is excited to see further quests for hallucinogen phytotherapy, and new legislative advocacy I believe we should learn from the battle of cannabis.

“Corporate greed will always be a big force, especially in markets with new and innovative products that can be regulated in ways that create wealth concentration and corporate monopolies,” she said at Boston.com. Told to. “As we see in the cannabis industry, the true purpose of the enceogen movement, the desire to provide relief and enlightenment, has already been adopted by the power of the enterprise.”

There are two bills in the State Legislature, both submitted by Congressman Mike Connolly (D-26th Middlesex), which can have implications. Effectively decriminalize Possession of certain drugs, and Others establish a task force To ensure fair access to decriminalized hallucinogen plants.

“People can be grateful wherever you are in the political spectrum … We have such a big problem with our mental health and wellness, Connolly told Boston.com. “”[We’re] Hearing experts say they need a new tool … and it may seem unconventional, but after all, people looking at the data say it can’t be ignored. I will. “



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