Magic mushroom ingredient may ease severe depression, study suggests


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We should make all drugs legal.

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I couldn't agree more.

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I too agree, but good luck with that one, people.

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I don't oppose legalizing magic mushrooms but I would never support legalizing all drugs, as some readers above me are calling for. Drugs like heroin and cocaine should never be legalized and I doubt any responsible medical professional would argue in favor of that.

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I doubt any responsible, medical professional would argue in favor of that.

First off, legalization is not a medical issue, it is a legal one.

But, to counter your point, these medical professionals say otherwise:

And if medical professionals aren't enough to sway you, how about judges, police officers, prison guards and other law officials?

From the LEAP page:

We believe that drug prohibition is the true cause of much of the social and personal damage that has historically been attributed to drug use. It is prohibition that makes these drugs so valuable – while giving criminals a monopoly over their supply. Driven by the huge profits from this monopoly, criminal gangs bribe and kill each other, law enforcers, and children. Their trade is unregulated and they are, therefore, beyond our control.

History has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use nor abuse. After a rapist is arrested, there are fewer rapes. After a drug dealer is arrested, however, neither the supply nor the demand for drugs is seriously changed. The arrest merely creates a job opening for an endless stream of drug entrepreneurs who will take huge risks for the sake of the enormous profits created by prohibition. Prohibition costs taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year, yet 40 years and some 40 million arrests later, drugs are cheaper, more potent and far more widely used than at the beginning of this futile crusade.

We believe that by eliminating prohibition of all drugs for adults and establishing appropriate regulation and standards for distribution and use, law enforcement could focus more on crimes of violence, such as rape, aggravated assault, child abuse and murder, making our communities much safer. We believe that sending parents to prison for non-violent personal drug use destroys families. We believe that in a regulated and controlled environment, drugs will be safer for adult use and less accessible to our children. And we believe that by placing drug abuse in the hands of medical professionals instead of the criminal justice system, we will reduce rates of addiction and overdose deaths.

Dealing with drugs as a criminal issue, rather than a health issue, has been an absolute unmitigated disaster.

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On the issue of legalizing drugs, I had an experience in Norway that I think is worth relating. I met a young couple in the train station of Oslo. They asked me to buy them breakfast, which in Norway consisted of a cup of coffee and a piece of toast with goat cheese on it. I had some time to pass while waiting for my train, so I agreed. We talked while they ate, and while I waited. It turned out that they were both heroin addicts. They looked a little dirty, but otherwise healthy. They said that when they wanted a fix they only had to go to the hospital, rather than commit crimes for money to support their habits. I do not know if the hospital gave them heroin, or something else, or if they were even telling the truth, but it seemed that they were telling the truth. I found the whole thing very interesting. Here in the states I have talked with people who said they supported their habits with multiple burglaries per day, or prostitution. ( I like to talk to people.)

On the subject of psilocybin and other hallucinogenic drugs, I think that it has a use for more than just people suffering from depression. I have met troubled people, caught in self-destructive routines, who seemed to be aided in breaking their bad habits through the infrequent use of hallucinogens. Obviously there are dangers involved, including possible harm to oneself or to others while high, and the possibility of flashbacks. It would seem to be advisable to be administered clinically. Still, I have to wonder whether if a sociopath such as Hitler had been treated with hallucinogens, would he have benefited.

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I've had a couple of great experiences on Magic Mushrooms (a long time ago now). The full evaporation-of-ego-and-sense-of-petty-self-in an inter-planetary-cosmic-sense-of-universal-connection-to-everyone-and-everything. Dissolving into the universe and feeling the excruciating beauty of existence and experience. The mountains and the rivers breathing and falling outward into the cosmos etc, etc, et al. Those experiences have never left me, because they were kind of things I KNEW deep down already, but you lose sight of or they get squashed by your flexing ego and general detritus of day to day life. I don't doubt the positive effects on these folks.

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They were legal in Japan until 2002. They were so much fun! I wish they didn't become illegal.

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Yeah, I know a couple of people who had terrible experiences on them, but not many. My overwhelming impression was that they were very 'clean'. They are mushrooms after all. The first time I took them I just picked them from the ground.

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Drugs like heroin and cocaine should never be legalized and I doubt any responsible medical professional would argue in favor of that.

David Nutt (see story above) is a responsible medical professional. He argues for decriminalization (but not legalization). I'll assume you know the difference. Anyway, this clip is quite interesting, I think.

Nutt's long-held position has - I was going to say got him into trouble, but that's not really true - been controversial and resulted in his removal as a government adviser; his reputation and his scientific credentials are fully intact.

The fact is, he was appointed because the government at the time wanted the respectability that a scientist and an expert in drug addiction would give them, but without giving ground on official policy. The clash between scientific analysis and government policy over drugs is inevitable. The two positions are incompatible, and you either want the science, or you want the emotion-based, pandering policies that have served us for most of the last century.

The science can not actually provide the foundation for the policies, because we have extremely harmful drugs that are legal, and largely harmless drugs that are illegal. It is appropriate for a scientist like Nutt to say, as he has done, that alcohol is more harmful than heroin.

It is inappropriate for a government minister to give a knee-jerk response to such inevitably controversial statements/studies without first spending some time considering why one of the country's foremost drug addiction experts would say such a thing. The first question they should be considering, if they don't already agree, is "Could he be right?"

But enough of David Nutt, he is only one of many, many responsible medical professionals (also senior police, judges, lawyers etc) who have argued for decriminalization or legalization. Not because they think we should all be taking heroin and cocaine, but because they believe the situation we could have with these substances decriminalized or legalized would be preferable to what we have now.

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I came across this report from the New York Time about psilocybin, aka LSD.

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I came across this report from the New York Time about psilocybin, aka LSD.

They are entirely different drugs. Psyilocybin is that. LSD is Lysergic acid diethylamide. Different chemical structures, different compounds, and different (though slightly similar) effects.

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