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California bill looks to legalize magic mushrooms, other powerful psychedelics

Photo by Joe Amon/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

California Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has introduced a bill that would legalize several psychedelics, including "magic mushrooms," according to KTLA. The drugs, which can predominantly be used to treat depression or addiction, are part of the senator's vocal push to end "racist" drug policies.

“These drugs literally save lives and are some of the most promising treatments we have for PTSD, anxiety, depression, and addiction." said the senator. "We need to end the outdated, racist, failed War on Drugs and finally pursue drug policies that help people instead of incarcerating them,” he added.

Mushrooms, also known as psilocybin, have been found to be a treatment for depression or PTSD in some studies, including a 2022 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Psychedelics the bill would legalize include: psilocybin, psilocyn, dimethyltryptamine, mescaline (excluding peyote), and ibogaine.

Psilocybin and psilocyn are both present in magic mushrooms. DMT is another psychedelic found in plants and is a powerful hallucinogen that has been tested as an antidepressant in the United Kingdom. The drug's effects have often been touted by comedian Joe Rogan as "having a meeting with God," explaining his understanding of and his experiences with it over the years.

Ibogaine is another plant-based drug that has been used to treat addiction, including treatment of opioid addiction. As the American Addiction Centers points out, it is not authorized for use as a treatment drug in the United States.

Senator Scott Wiener's office released a lengthy statement citing several studies in support of his bill.

“Studies show that psychedelics have great promise in treating mental health and substance use disorders. In two different clinical trials, psilocybin was shown to reduce symptoms in patients with treatment-resistant depression," the statement reads.

"A John Hopkins study showed a decrease in depression and anxiety in cancer patients using psilocybin. In both 2018 and 2019, the FDA issued Breakthrough Therapy distinction to psilocybin (the active ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms’),” the office mentions.

The office of the senator also pointed out that some of the drugs can be used to treat substance abuse, even cigarette smoking.

Municipal decriminalization of psychedelics was successful in Santa Cruz, Oakland, and San Francisco. Oregon and Colorado have passed statewide decriminalization of such drugs.

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