It is likely that “magic mushrooms” will not be available at local pharmacies any time soon. But if its inclusion in the medical resource WebMD is any clue, the movement to decriminalize what is formally known as entheogenic plants it may be gaining strength.
This March, by unanimous vote, Hazel Park became the third city in Michigan to decriminalize entheogenic plants, after Ann Arbor i Detroit. Entheogens are psychoactive substances that induce alterations in perception, mood, or behavior. These include psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, ibogaine and cactus peyote.
“I got the impression it was a relatively divisive issue, but what I found when I reached out to community stakeholders and residents and other people I know and trust, everyone was there unanimously,” he said. Hazel Park Councilman Luke Londo, who is openly bisexual. As an elected official of the local community, Londo, who worked with Descriminalize Nature Hazel Park when drafting the approved resolution, described it as an opportunity to implement positive change.
Decriminalization is different from legalization. Decriminalization does not legalize a drug; it means that the use or possession of the drug is unlikely to be investigated or that consumers will be prosecuted. The designation makes the drug a lower priority for law enforcement.
Londo himself is a psilocybin user and has found that its use relieves his depression and anxiety. In fact, many studies of entheogenic plants for therapeutic use have found positive effects in people who experience depression i anxiety disordersas well as substance abuse i TEPT . It has also been reported, in a to study of psilocybin, which repeated use will generate great tolerance; however, it does not appear to have the potential for physical dependence.
Londo pointed to what he called the “complicated relationship” the LGBTQ + community has with substance abuse and encouraged responsible consumption for those who decide to do so. Addiction is more than twice as common in the LGBTQ + community than in the general population. At the same time, Londo noted the effectiveness of entheogens in treating addiction when used in modest doses.
“I’m someone who takes an antidepressant on a regular basis,” said Londo, who is not currently in therapy but has seen a therapist in the past. “I have a medication for when I have acute anxiety, but psilocybin. I’d say the best way to really characterize it is a reset. It really provides that level of clarity and self-introspection.”
While psychedelics have been in the news lately for their use in treating many psychiatric problems, entheogenic plants and fungi have been traditionally used of indigenous peoples in their spiritual practices for thousands of years. This is the setting where Carmen Marie Alfaro prefers them. Alfaro is a biased / non-binary person of the Wixarika / Huichol people living in Hesperia, north of Grand Rapids.
“I think I’ve always felt the kind of spiritual need to find other ways to interact with what I would consider to be the divinity of creation and the beauty of all that is,” Alfaro told Pride Source. “So I joined a Detroit-based sweat hostel community, the health and family services of American Indians.”
At the time, Alfaro said, they identified themselves as a transgender man. For 10 years they were under hormone replacement therapy without regret. However, as a result of an experience with entheogens a year ago, Alfaro now understands his gender identity in a different way.
“The first time I came out of that sweat ceremony, I was crying,” Alfaro said. “I had no idea what to expect. We’re in a dark, hot tent, playing drums and singing Lakota, and I had no idea it would make me regret my hysterectomy. So my trip with herbal medicine basically it made me decide to try them on to explore this thread.It was like a sweater that was starting to fall apart and I wanted to stretch it and see what would happen and go out on the other side.
“Since then,” they continued, “I’ve actually made the decision not to abandon the transition, but maybe get back to being more comfortable with my body and how it is. And now that’s more exactly Two-Spirit in because of the effects that HRT has had on me. “
For anyone considering using entheogenic plants or fungi, Alfaro urges people to seek out a supportive community. They named the organization Chacrunathe institute of drugs with psychedelic plants, as a single resource.
“I haven’t been lucky enough to participate in many ceremonies at the moment,” Alfaro said, “but I’d rather be in peyote ceremonies with the guidance of a teacher, who I’m now making my way back to. Now that I have mastered how I am, I can contact and connect with others again “.
Like Londo, Alfaro is part of the movement to decriminalize entheogenic plants. So is Julie Barron, a psychotherapist with a master’s degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology and Music Therapy who practices in Ann Arbor. Barron is co-director of Decriminalize Nature Michigan and a member of the board of the national organization Decriminalize nature. Barron believes that entheogenic plants should never have been illegal in the first place.
“We’re trying to go back,” said Barron, who created the Michigan Psychedelic Society in 2017. “They are plants and fungi that grow naturally on earth, and we feel as humans, as animals, as part of this ecosystem, that we need to have an open and direct connection and the ability to use anything that comes from the earth. ”
“The substances we are talking about are really very safe,” he continued, and then explained what he considers the real reason for the opposition to his decriminalization. “It’s really a potential point of consciousness or a potential access point that I think the powers that be are concerned about could get into the hands of humans.”
Barron advocates the use of entheogenic plants for mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. He also believes that they can serve as mechanisms to promote personal growth and spiritual development.
“It’s different for everyone,” Barron said. “I work very closely with people as they find out what the path of their plant is.”
Barron said the only people for whom entheogenic plants are especially risky would be anyone with a disorder characterized by psychosis, such as schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. This is because they induce a state of psychosis.
“These substances are no joke,” Barron warned. “They are accelerators. They are shocking. And people need to have a good knowledge of dosing. ”
Barron also said that while it may be true for some, most people should not expect instant results.
“Don’t just assume you’re going to have a psychedelic experience and change,” Barron said. “You’ll have to do months, and potentially years, of work after an experience to make a real change in your life.”
Decriminalize Michigan has released a electoral initiative by 2022 that would decriminalize entheogenic plants statewide.