Recently, a lot of buzz has grown around psilocybin, the psychoactive substance found in “magic mushrooms” or “shrooms.” Some people are saying that using it in a therapeutic setting significantly improved their depression, PTSD or addictions. Others are trying psilocybin on their own for therapeutic purposes or just using it recreationally.
Indeed, a 2022 study found a significant increase in psilocybin consumption over the previous 20 years. Psilocybin is the most widely used plant-based psychedelic in the U.S.
As the potential for therapeutic results from psilocybin has grown, many jurisdictions have decriminalized possession of the drug. The states of Colorado and Oregon have legalized possession of psilocybin and several other psychedelics. An Indiana Senate Committee recently advanced a bill that would allow research on psilocybin therapy, although psilocybin remains illegal in Indiana.
As society becomes for tolerant, you might expect that drug busts involving psychedelics like psilocybin would be way down. You might, but you would be wrong.
3 times the seizures – particularly in the West and Midwest
A recent study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence found that psilocybin drug busts are actually up significantly since 2017. In the five-year period between 2017 and 2022, law enforcement seizures of psychedelic drugs more than tripled, according to NPR.
How can this be? Well, even in jurisdictions that have decriminalized their possession, the sale of psychedelics remains illegal. Therefore, people found with more than a certain weight of magic mushrooms (a gram in Indiana) can be charged with a felony. In the majority of cities and states, magic mushrooms are still illegal.
Interestingly, the study found that law enforcement agents in the western states seized the largest amount of psilocybin (42.6% of the total). Agencies in the Midwest seized 41.8% of the total magic mushrooms seized.
Again, Indiana law still prohibits possession, along with cultivation and sale, of magic mushrooms. You might hope that changing attitudes would reduce law enforcement interest, but that does not appear to be happening.
Be cautious about experimenting with psychedelics
Although psychedelic therapy does seem promising, a public health expert interviewed by NPR want to remind people that there are still reasons to be cautious. For one thing, use of psychedelics is associated with increased risk of psychosis and suicidal ideation, along with impulsiveness.
Furthermore, research into psychedelics’ use and side effects is in its early stages. That means there haven’t been studies about the risk of combining them with other drugs, including mental health medications.
Overall, be cautious before experimenting. It’s still illegal in Indiana. If you have been charged with a crime, your first call should be to an attorney.