Buying mushrooms illegally from a legit dealer in the US means making sure they have several uniform bags of the product. You want to make sure they're grown safely in a lab or farm. There are too many people who will go out and just pick mushrooms, which is incredibly unsafe.
Unless you're an actual mycologist, it's difficult to tell what's safe and what's toxic. There are even cases of mushrooms in the US that are toxic look exactly like an edible food variety in Asia; even down to identifying characteristics like spore prints. Entire families have gotten sick or even died as a result.
So from just a safety perspective this would be a good move. Humans used psychoactive substances for centuries, usually under the supervision of a shaman or some type of religious figure to undergo a journey. It's not so different than psychologist today looking to use mushrooms to treat serious mental conditions. We have the advantage today of knowing we're not really going on some kind of cosmic journey, but merely acknowledging how dependent we are on our minds giving us our rational view of the world; and seeing how that can be easily and radically changed.
I don't have a position on legalizing psychoactive mushrooms, but I don't think this is a good argument.
For example, humans also used lead to sweeten wine for centuries, but that's not evidence that lead is harmless.
I'm sure we could come up with many more such examples.
Mushrooms and leaded wine both have effects that their users long considered good. The difference between them, for purposes of this argument, is that for leaded wine we've since discovered very bad effects that completely outweigh the good effects, whereas for mushrooms we haven't.
I have issues with this. I've personally had very bad mushroom trips that have had effects that lingered for a year or longer. I'm not saying keep them illegal, but I don't for one second believe it's a black and white issue, either.
Further, the ban/not ban dichotomy is also fuzzier in practice. We can restrict access according to attributes of people, or restrict consumption to private settings, or otherwise. These decisions must be informed by the net benefit.
There will always be irresponsible people, however we shouldn't intrude on the freedoms of everyone for the faults of a few.
The fallacies in your conclusion are:
> freedoms of everyone
> faults of a few
Whether intoxication leads to freedom is debatable.
Secondly, casualties from alcohol abuse are hardly "a few".
You say people susceptible to the detrimental effects, perhaps from a preexisting tendency for lack of inhibition and aptitude are responsible. Whereas they are literally irresponsible. Further, your comment in response to my question could be understood to uphold the right to a buzz over thousands of deaths a year.
Do you have any other examples on the thousands of years timescale?
Well, the Wikipedia page says that lead was being used as a sweetener as late as the 1850s, and this page suggests that we have records of the practice going back to at least 160BCE, so "thousands of years" doesn't seem inaccurate?
> Do you have any other examples on the thousands of years timescale?
Off the top of my head, tobacco? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco#Traditional_use
I dunno, I'm not an anthropologist, but I'm not trying too hard...
The risk of using the wrong item is separate from the risks inherent in the genuine item; in that context, it makes sense to use "safe" for the genuine item as a rhetoric device.
Of course, none of these mushrooms are safe; there are unsafe doses of their ingredient.
Nothing is safe without reference to dose; not water, not salt, ...
Unless something has changed within the last year, this is no longer the case (in Amsterdam at least). They do sell something called "Magic Truffles" but AFAIK they're no where near as potent.
It was possible to buy mushrooms there until a few years back but apparently it was putting stress on paramedics and police due to "drug tourists" having freak outs from performing a "trifecta", cannabis, ecstasy and shrooms in one weekend and having a little episode.
> Apart from the visual appearance there is no difference between magic mushrooms and magic truffles. The so-called truffles are objectively no real truffle (as those belong to the genus Tuber), but sclerotia of psilocybe mushrooms growing below the ground. Therefore, they are nothing more than an underground part of the fungus and completely identical to the part above the ground, the so-called fruiting body, which we call the actual mushroom. Both contain the hallucinogenic molecules psilocybin, psilocin and baeocystin, both are absolutely effective.
The species commonly sold and used as magic mushrooms (primarily Psilocybe cubensis) do not produce sclerotia. Conversely, the species that commonly produce sclerotia (Psilocybe mexicana amongst others - there's a lot of taxonomic uncertainty, partly because the mushrooms themselves are required for identification), although they can and do produce mushrooms, are never reported to be found being sold as mushrooms in commerce - only as sclerotia.
Further, there are consistently reported subjective differences in the experiences engendered by Psilocybe cubensis magic mushrooms and P. mexicana et al. sclerotia. Whether or not this is due to small differences in the profile of the various alkaloids, an as yet unidentified other psychoactive component, or simply psychological priming due to users being told they are different, we do not know.
No you can't (anymore). They are illegal since 2008. I remember when they became illegal since me and my friends used to experiment with them, but a few unfortunate accidents/deaths involving tourists combining them with other (illegal) drugs lead to their prohibition. *
Seems weird that some drugs and some countries are moving away from legalisation but it's got to be evidence based imo
That's why decriminalization is beneficial: mycoligists can earn a living and others can get high safely. Governments banned psychoactive drugs because people got ideas like draft dodging, protesting against the Vietnam war and writing some of the best literature of that time.
Likely even longer; if you're curious about some of the anthropology and botany behind mind-altering substances, Wade Davis's One River is excellent: https://www.amazon.com/One-River-Wade-Davis/dp/0684834960?ie.... It focuses on the first half of the 20th C in particular.
As far as I know, it's impossible to know for sure when humans began using mind-altering substances like psychoactive mushroom, peyote, or ayahuasca, but it's likely been a very long time.
Happens in vancouver every few years. Always the same. Grandma arrives from china. She picks what she thinks are the same mushrooms she saw in china, puts them in the soup, and the entire family spends a night in hospital. Google "vancouver BC death cap mushroom".
"They’re (Death Cap) also mistaken for the Asian semi-tropical Paddy Straw Mushroom. That’s of particular risk to recent arrivals from Asia who may not be a aware that there’s a deadly look-alike to the Straw Mushroom."
And maybe a less corrupt system (which allows for knowledge such as the following to persist) is the reason:
The ones grown outside can naturally protect themselves from potentially toxic bacterial infections, while the ones grown in jars can't. So in areas of the country (e.g. the mid-Atlantic region) with easy-to-identify psilocybin species, it's actually much safer to find them outside than to grow them. Yes it takes more work, but knowing how to identify the local plants/mushrooms/trees is also a basic part of being an adult.
To quote Gary Snyder's life advice, "Stay together, learn the flowers, go light."
A previous cannabis legalization effort in California, IIRC, proposed to make cannabis consumption a protected employment class.
You don't even have to go to the middle or south of the state. Look at the current gnashing of teeth over marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco.
You should look at the history of Chestnut blight in the US. Due to the blight the US government directed people to chop down chestnut trees by the millions. If instead, they had allowed the blighted trees to continue to live, we may have discovered some genetic mutations that would have allowed the species to survive. Proactive regulation is not always the best move.
No. I think them being illegal to posses is working to reduce field collection. This strategy is used for many other endangered plants (such as orchids) and seems to work. If people want to use psychoactives, then "magic" mushroom and morning glory seeds (or Hawaiian wood rose seeds) have a much lower impact on the environment and people should be steered towards those options by making them legal (most already are; carrot) and coming down on anyone who illegally collects Lophophora with a prison sentence (stick).
> You should look at the history of Chestnut blight in the US.
First of all, the species is not extinct. In fact, if you live in Silicon Valley, there is a chestnut orchard with some American chestnut trees just a short drive away in the Santa Cruz Mountains. There are many other populations and ongoing work to try and breed resistant trees.
Second, trees were cut down to create a biological equivalent of a fire break. The idea was, if there was a gap of 10-20 miles in front of the advancing disease front where trees were removed, then it might be possible to contain the disease. In hindsight, this might seem like a overly drastic measure, especially since it ended up only delaying the spread and not stopping it completely, but based on what was known about the disease at the time, and the huge importance of the American chestnut as an economic resource, it was a risk people were willing to take.
> Proactive regulation is not always the best move.
Yes, but sometimes it actually is the best move. I believe it is in this case.
If you mean that people are going to go blind, well that doesn't happen unless you adulterate your own moonshine with industrial methanol, which would be idiotic. People don't get methanol poisoning from homemade alcohol; that's very hard to do when ethanol is a methanol antidote.
what is costly here - water, sugar or yeast? or 4 typical cooking pots needed to perform actual distillation? (an old USSR way where non-government distillation was illegal, and thus you couldn't have at home any special hardware for distillation :)
>and it's much easier just to buy hard liquor.
completely agree. Back in the USSR it was done only because where was an issue with getting the liquor - not available and/or government would price it too high. (Because of tight availability and high price the hard liquor - a bottle of vodka - was basically "liquid money/gold" widely used as payment/barter for various services/goods.)
>If you mean that people are going to go blind, well that doesn't happen unless you adulterate your own moonshine with industrial methanol, which would be idiotic.
unfortunately happened a lot during the USSR "almost Prohibition" in the mid 198x. Methanol, insecticide, whatever other killer chemicals - just to increase the "kick" per given volume - really reminds the today's situation with added fentanyl in heroin in US. That craziness was pretty much gone once the "almost Prohibition" was lifted.
Also, I'd never heard of that prohibition. It's pretty crazy how often history repeats itself in various ways.
I've had powerful, formative experiences that pushed me in new directions such that my values, viewpoints, and knowledge of the world were shaped in ways that feel increasingly significant as I grow older and pursue a fundamental understanding of the world around me. Much of this stems from endeavors that occurred entirely separately from any psychedelic experience, but I find it hard to imagine that I would have explored certain topics and ideas with the same enthusiasm, without those formative experiences.
A few of the topics that I'm referring to are the nature of consciousness and identity, theories of the mind, cognition, the structure and relations of ideas and concepts in the brain, and how such things change over time.
I believe it has also had other significant positive personal effects in terms of how I relate and empathize with others as well as process difficult personal issues, but this is harder to describe.
I don't think these effects happen automatically -- rather, psychedelics are a powerful tool that, with great care and responsibility, can likely be very beneficial for many individuals.
Like any powerful tool, it can be misused or abused, but as humans it is our job to make the most of the positive benefits while safeguarding and being responsible about the negative effects. I do think that many people today don't realize the extent of the positive benefits, and have an exaggerated view of the potential harms.
Ideally, society can carefully and judiciously integrate the positive benefits these substances provide, as we learn more about them in the coming decades.
tl;dr it's bogus. Lots of anecdotal reports of its efficacy though, but again, why don't these amateur recreational users blind their doses? They're prone to placebo otherwise.
As a matter of fact, I took a microdose of shrooms an hour ago. I don't need to blind my dose, I can tell when I'm buzzed. I'm not arguing that it's noticeably improving my intelligence, performance, stamina, or anything, but it is most definitely making my afternoon more enjoyable.
That understates the ludicrousness of homeopathy. Homeopathy is dilution to the point where there is an extraordinarily low probability of even a single molecule of the active ingredient being in a dose, not merely no “appreciable” amount.
And, yes, this is very different from microdosing, in which the dose used definitely contains the drug of interest, just at much lower than typical recreational dosing.
Whether the latter has an appreciable drug related effects rather than placebo effects may be an open questio, but it's very different in nature from the former, which absolutely will not have such effects except due to massive fraud (i.e., not performing the stated dilution.)
That is exactly what microdosing is.
> A microdose of psychedelics [is] enough to feel buzzed
No it isn't. If you've taken enough to feel buzzed then you took too much, according to proponents of microdosing. Here is a quote from a sticky on Reddit's /r/microdosing:
> If you are feeling any changes that remind you even vaguely of tripping/being high, you've taken too much.
> DevO on October 15, 2017 at 12:31 am
> Niels, Micro-dosing is taking amounts too small to be psychoactive, but at the same time the substance still has effects that are beneficial in many different ways for different folks.
Here's a quote from from James Fadiman, the person who came up with the whole idea of microdosing in the first place: (at https://sites.google.com/view/microdosingpsychedelics/faq-on...)
> A dose that feels as if you are right at the edge of a psychedelic experience is too high.
As far as I can tell, there is one school of microdosing, and you're not in it. I wish you were right, because the whole idea of "sub-perceptual" doses is obviously bullshit, but I'm not seeing it.
I'm not ignoring and belittling the progress because of the lack of formal verification. I'm belittling it because even amateurs refuse to take the first step towards confirmation of effects.
Granted, there is confusion over terminology here but _small amounts_ ie. sub-balls-to-the-walls-tripping-with-visuals of psychedelics can definitely be helpful and contribute to increased well being, concentration, problem solving, energy, mood, etc.
Why would nature not have us operate at peak efficiency with regards to problem solving, unless there was a side effect. I'm very interested in micro dosing, and nootropics, but I would have to think there is a downside.
There are things that are not on by default within us humans. These came to mind quickly:
For example modulating your breath (deep slow breathing) can give your consciousness a boost or help induce relaxtion.
Meditation exercises or when you calm down to slow breathing and pay attention to sensations and thoughts has been shown to modify brain matter , and according to eastern scriptures and personal experience, increases awareness.
Touching the roof of your mouth with your tongue (taoist technique to connect the two main channels) has been shown to boost performance. 
Ymmv but long term daily use may contribute to increased sensitivity to emotions and have you be 'way out there, mayne' a bit too much. Not very scientific, I know.
Classic psychedelics have a lot in common, the differences are mere nuances.
I mean the Psilocybin content can vary depending on how the mushroom grew and was stored and deteriorate over time.
Whereas with LSD, even when the tabs are weak, there is at least something on there, at least that'd be my explanation.
My experiences are several years in the past, so memory is hazy, but LSD always felt 'sharper' with fractal like infinite details on textures and the like. Mushrooms on the other hand felt more 'organic', but the head space was quite similar.
I tried microcoding with mushrooms once and I think the effects were similar as to what people are describing with LSD microcoding.
However the whole microcoding seems to edge between placebo and real response, almost by definition.
There is also no agreement as to what constitutes microcoding afaik.
If I had stayed for one more winter I would have gone on a shovel-armed homicidal spree.
I've also driven a tow truck in those conditions. Leaving your warm truck cab and cup of coffee to go hook up a car when it's -20F outside: not magical whatsoever.
Usually I see kids soliciting through Facebook groups nowadays. Well, their parents do it for them.
I suppose my kids one day will go door to door renting out our family robot to move the snow.
I just don't know what they're thinking.
One pill makes you larger, one pill makes you small, and the ones that mother gives you don't do anything at all...
Your thinking might be more worldly than you realize. This--Nintendo--was banned in China until 2015.
Now take the cultural stigma of psychedelic use and place it on Nintendo. Is it now any less ridiculous that mushrooms are banned here?
'Tyranny over the individual' was never have a legitimate role of government in the first place.
While we're gaining some rights back (LGBT, prohibition), and losing others (privacy, free speech), maybe it's useful to connect these issues.
I am hopeful that if the decriminalization and legalization of psychedelics continues, and if they ever become anywhere near as popular as they were in the 60's, they will usher in a renaissance of artistic creativity and positive social and political transformation.
It likely won't be a replay of the 60's, but it could still be very positive, as more people begin to see through the bullshit of the current social and political systems, and start to create positive alternatives.
That said, there could be and probably will be some backlashes and regressions as the media start to swarm like flies over sensational drug-related stories and phenomena, much like they did around psychedelic demagogues like Leary, Kesey and Manson (I hate to use Manson in the same sentence as the rest, but they all had a role in fomenting the anti-drug hysteria of the 60's and 70's).
We've been lucky so far that no such demagogues or scandals have emerged in recent years, but as drugs become more popular and socially accepted, I have no doubt that some psychedelic drug-related scandal or expose is going to outrage the public and there will be calls to make these drugs illegal once again.
Legalization advocates have tried to play it safe by pushing the medicinal benefits of these substances, and by running carefully conducted research studies, but once these drugs become more popular, you know that most people aren't going to be using them wisely or carefully, and some will be using them irresponsibly or even destructively.
For all the art that occurred, there were some huge downsides. Getting high and communing with nature is all well and good, until a certain percentage start climbing the trees. We remember the pop songs can came from those times. We forget the broken bones and twisted ankles.
Yes, there certainly were many negative consequences of drug abuse during that era. They still continue, and I don't want to minimize that at all. It's critically important that we help people to use these substances constructively and knowledgeably, rather than ignorantly, irresponsibly, and destructively.
I do have some hope that it'll turn out better this time because the means of communication and distributing useful information is so much more effective these days than it was in the 60's and 70's. We now have the internet and resources like erowid to help, not to mention NGO's like Dance Safe that do drug testing at concerts. Much more could and should still be done, though, to make drug use safer and more constructive.
On the other hand, we shouldn't let the negative, destructive aspects of drug abuse blind us to the positive potential of constructive drug use. Many of the cultural, social, and political things we value today came from or were greatly influenced by psychedelics.
You talk about communing with nature -- yes, there's that, but that's not the empty, navel-gazing activity that many offhandedly discard it as. From communing with nature comes a higher regard and value of nature, the desire to be free from pollution, for eating healthy food, a greater concern with one's environment and a greater care for plants and animals. These are all positive things that we desperately need more of to counteract the forces within our society which are destroying the environment, polluting our food and water, and destroying bidiversity.
Such concern with the environment, which is relatively mainstream today, was considered kooky and weird in the 70's when it took root, and it was influenced by just such a "communing with nature" that psychedelics opened people up to.
That's just one, political example, where psychedelics had a positive effect on the world. Odds are that most of the music we listen to was greatly influenced by psychedelics and other drugs, as were many of the books we read and movies we watch. The internet and technology was influenced by psychedelics.
If we expand this to non-psychedelic drugs, the influence is even greater, as much of the history of the world is the history of humanity's encounter with plants and other substances which we would consider drugs. It's such a huge part of who we are, and the abject failure of prohibition shows that it's nearly impossible to deny access to these substances without massively negative social consequences -- ones I would argue that greatly outweigh the negative consequences of drug abuse itself.
Do you think people are closer to being self-centered, profit-driven "rational agents" today than in the 60s?
I think you might be conflating the Super Mario series with your assessment of psychedelics...
I think that moving to legalise drugs (harmless or not) is the normal, rational decision to make and the fact that is receives so much push-back saddens me.
I would be curious to what lead you to your conclusion? The press is pretty bad at painting this picture as most articles I've seen try to tickle people's sensibilities rather than present objective facts.
In the US you guys have incompetent people running the show and despite throwing enormous amounts of money you still get abysmal results. You can't be seriously talking that USA has honestly tried to deal with drugs when you have whole genre of stoner movies (Pineapple Express, etc) and when Snoop Dogg alone smokes weed like a chimney.
The incompetence in dealing with this is stunning. It's akin to homelessness problem in San Francisco. SF spends ~$30k per homeless per year and the problem only gets worse. Maybe, just maybe, those who are in charge are complete morons? At 30k per year you could rent everyone a room in a nice place. But currently it sure as hell doesn't look like homeless people have 30k worth of goods and services provided to them.
I'm saying that statement "criminalization doesn't work" is false. I foresee people saying "but we tried, and it didn't work for us" and immediately try to counter it by saying that you haven't actually tried at all. I'm saying that you have rigged your drug policy to fail.