With Denver and Oakland having recently passed psychedelic decriminalization measures, it may seem as if the psychedelic reform movement is following a similar trajectory to cannabis — which over the past two decades has seen legislative victories on both the state and local level in the form of decriminalization and adult-use or medical legalization policies. In fact, throughout much of the past half-century, cannabis and psychedelics have been connected not only by similar legislation, but also by media, culture, and scientific research. As both became more widespread throughout popular culture around the time of the Vietnam War — many argue drug use was seen by many as an act of political rebellion — in response, Richard Nixon launched the “Drug War” to criminalize these substances under a dubious system called the Controlled Substances Act. Both cannabis and a range of psychedelic drugs were placed in Schedule I alongside potentially lethal substances like heroin, thereby continuing a campaign that had begun with during the “Reefer Madness” era of the 1930s, which sought to vilify cannabis by associating it with psychosis and consumers of color.
With the willing help of a media establishment that harnessed the power of fear to sell news, the Drug War put a hard stop on the research that academic institutions had been doing on psychedelics, and continued to expand for decades under multiple administrations and misinformation campaigns. While both cannabis and psychedelics have remained popular among the fringes of society until recently the mainstream public has still mostly regarded them as a gateway drug — in the case of cannabis — or as a dangerous brush with psychosis from even a single psychedelic trip.
Today, however, the general public, scientists, and even politicians are beginning to take cannabis and psychedelics seriously as powerful medicines for conditions like anxiety, PTSD, addiction, and depression, or simply as therapeutic aids for the betterment of well people. In other words, public opinion is inching toward destigmatizing these substances, regarding them as they once were not just prior to prohibition, but in some cases, for thousands of years, as they have been integral to indigenous communities and ceremonial practices. Even so, as public opinion shifts, both psychedelics and cannabis remain federally illegal, with the recent exception of hemp-derived CBD.
While cannabis has seen a string of consistent victories over the past several years with adult use or medical marijuana legal in 33 states and Washington D.C., the big wins for psychedelics appear to be much more recent. However, while Denver and Oakland’s decriminalization measures passed as recently as May and June, respectively, MAPS (the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) has held FDA-approval for more than a decade to research MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of PTSD. Moreover, academic institutions like Johns Hopkins or UCLA are studying psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for end-of-life anxiety, depression, and addiction.
Ryan Munevar, campaign director for Decriminalize California, an organization dedicated to statewide decriminalization of psychedelic fungi, believes that there are many lessons the psychedelic activist community can learn from cannabis decriminalization and legalization.
It’s important to distinguish between legalization and decriminalization, he says, and where and when one may be more optimal than the other. “We don’t want this to look like the Prop 64 model, which is legalization,” Munevar says. “Decriminalization means basically that you can cultivate, manufacture, distribute, donate, possess, transport, and consume within the state of California. Basically everything but sales. Once you turn on sales, that’s when the regulation kicks in on the government side, with the potential for hyper taxation and regulation from the permitting process.”
Munevar suggests that in the case of psychedelics, a push for medical or recreational legalization too soon could lead to unintended consequences for those who need access to these plants and fungi. “When they started pushing for the original medical legalization model, the big [pharmaceutical] players were doing that so they could do research on cannabis and make things like marinol and other analogs.” Essentially, large pharmaceutical interests were pushing for regulations to change around research, but only so that they could extract and patent an alternative, rather than ensuring that all who need it could access the medicine they need affordably.
There may already be parallels in psychedelics. Compass Pathways, a privately held company, has been angling to become one of the first legal providers of psilocybin in America and Europe; they’ve received a “breakthrough therapy designation” from the FDA that has put them on the fast track to success. Many in the psychedelic community, however, are wary of their tactics, which as Munevar describes, involve some troubling elements. “The problem isn’t that they’re developing an analog model, the problem is that they’re trying to in essence trademark and patent every part of that process that you can, and then they’re going to charge up to $500 a gram [psilocybin currently retails for approximately $10-$20 per gram]. For far less than that — about $125, you could teach someone how to cultivate psychedelic mushrooms with a pressure cooker and some birdseed.” In the decriminalized model Munevar advocates for, the at-home mushroom grower could legally do exactly that.
Tomas Avalos, organizing director for Decriminalize California is similarly optimistic about the historic opportunity to sustain the current momentum. He’s noticed a large increase in volunteer and member interest since the Denver and Oakland measures passed. “What’s going to change this is having conversations, that’s really what changed with cannabis. Starting to have conversations, and continuing them until they included medical professionals and eventually Sanjay Gupta and CNN.” Gupta famously and consistently opposed marijuana, and even wrote a Time article in 2009 titled “Why I Would Vote No On Pot”, in which he referenced and quoted many of the traditional government talking points that had already been debunked by that point, such as the ideas of cannabis being linked to a high risk of addiction and mental health risk.
Yet, in 2013, while producing a series for CNN on the subject, he was introduced (on camera) to the stories and experiences of people like 3 year old Charlotte Figi, whose parents used CBD treatments to greatly reduce the 300 seizures a day she was having as a result of Dravet’s Syndrome. Once he became aware of the incredible medical value and potential of cannabis, Dr. Gupta publicly apologized for his previous ignorance and failure to properly research and listen to patients. The resulting three-part series Weed is now seen as one of the most influential recent turning points in changing mainstream opinion and knowledge about cannabis. The first-hand stories and experiences it displayed communicated that someone who has been helped by medical marijuana could be someone in your own personal circle. That sort of personal relationship to a person or experience has been a major factor in recent large scale social change, whether it be on gay marrriage, cannabis legalization, and now psychedelic therapy.
For psychedelic consumers and other advocates of cognitive liberty that wish to get involved, the time to have these conversations is ripe. Munevar notes that psychedelic communities are forming all around the country, and it is easier than ever to find one in your area or use online tools to form one. An example he recommends is SPORE, which is based in Denver but is in the process of opening chapters across the country. He recommends researching individual organizations, what sort of legislation they’re pushing for, and who it benefits before choosing to join or support them.
Avalos notes that the model Decriminalize California and other developing psychedelic groups are using is open source, “so people can go out there and make change by using our structure, while incorporating their own ideas and creativity.” He notes that the open source and collaborative approach has been and should remain the standard within the psychedelic community, and says he’s been inspired by the diversity of age, culture and experience of the many who showed interest or signed up to volunteer while promoting the cause passing out stickers and literature recently at the San Diego Comic-Con and Young American Libertarian Conference in San Jose. “At the end of the day, it’s people who want to make change or make a difference, regardless of background. It’s open to everyone and for everyone and there’s no boundaries to that.”
What Is It Like To Be High On Psilocybin Mushrooms?
Do you want to try magic mushrooms but hesitate because you don’t know what’s coming? The majority of individuals who consumed psilocybin mushrooms exhibit psychedelic experiences, which makes a newbie wonder what it’s like to be high on them.
So, let’s first discuss what this psilocybin mushroom is and then its after effect.
What are Psilocybin Mushrooms
Psilocybin mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, are fungi comprising psilocybin and psilocin. These compounds induce powerful hallucinations due to their psychedelic properties. The best-known shrooms are the Psilocybe Cubensis due to its ease of cultivation and availability.
These mushrooms were initially popular as a recreational drug, but lately, people are using for medical purposes to treat ailments and disorders like stress and dependence. The impact of ingesting psilocybin mushroom on the mind and body depends on the dosage, frame of mind, environment, and health. Based on these points, every individual will have a unique experience of the high. However, we can guide you through the more common impacts people have seen to prepare you for the “high.”
What to expect:
The most common way of consuming psilocybin mushrooms is either drinking it as tea or as a capsule. Each of these consumption methods has different effects. Taking mushrooms in tea form has a faster effect than eating them or swallowing a pill.
Also, it is essential to note that the concentration of psilocybin Canada compounds in the shroom and its storage conditions can affect the shroom strength and, therefore, change the kind of “high” you experience. Keep reading to know what to expect to be “high” on psilocybin mushrooms, depending on the dosage.
Level 0: Microdosing (0.2 – 0.5 g):
Most people consume a microdose of dried mushrooms weekly. Consuming a microdose of shrooms can increase the nirvana experience, increase creativity, focus, and reduce stress. According to a PubMed article, a dose of 0.2 mg/kg for cancer patients showed a positive impact on improving mood and anxiety. The natural consequences of microdosing involve mood boost, peace of mind, self-forgiveness, and enhanced motivation.
Level 1: Mini-Dose (0.8 – 1 g) :
A dose up to 1g of shroom is the right amount to get familiar with its effect without getting you on a full-blown trip. This dosage gives a similar feeling as getting a mild high on weed. At this level, you will get a pleasant feeling and a very subtle loss of control over the mind. You might also get mild visuals and enhanced senses without losing touch of the surroundings. This dosage for a perfect high while enjoying a party with friends. The standard effects involve heightened reactivity to light, mindfulness, increased appreciation of daily activities, and empathy.
Level 2: Museum Dose (1 – 1.5 g):
This dosage will intensify the euphoria, accentuate the sensations, increase creativity, see bright colors, and the body will feel lighter. A person taking this dose will be able to engage in social events like viewing art in a museum without coming into notice.
The high at this level is the onset of visual and aural illusions. You will start noticing moving objects coming to life and will see geometrical shapes when eyes are closed. At this dosage, it becomes challenging to socialize. The usual results include soul-searching, an improved enjoyment of art, mood amplification, and pupil dilation.
Level 3: Moderate Dose (1.5 – 3 g):
1.5-3grams is the recommended dosage level for people who want to encounter the full psychedelic effect directly. At this point, the hallucinations, geometric patterns, and moving objects are no more subtle, but you will start feeling it for real. The “high” causes time dilation and contraction, which causes one hour seems like an eternity. Other common effects include difficulty with cognitive tasks, philosophical insights, compulsive yawning, dizziness, nausea, and synesthesia.
Try this dose of shroom with your close friends in a safe environment.
Level 4: Flying with the stars (3 – 4 g):
Add some more spice to the previous level by increasing the dosage to 3 to 4 grams. At this level, the high comes with extreme hallucinations, a blend of colors and shapes that hit your awareness. You feel like soaring through the sky and flying with the stars.
Level 5: Megadose (4 – 5 g):
A dose of psilocybin above 4 grams gives intense hallucinations, ego death, and deep introspections. You will completely lose contact with reality, unaware of the location and time. The prevalent signs at this level include spiritual awakening, compromised motor skills, confusion, intense panic, and stress.
All these experiences mentioned above at different dosages allow you to turn into your inner self to analyze personal relations, complications, concerns, and faiths. Breathe deep and exercise on giving attention to your thoughts. If you are feeling anxious and distressed, then take your focus to something else. The high will let you experience a change in perception and thinking. So, embark this “high” to focus on pleasant thoughts.
The “high” from psilocybin mushrooms start showing within 20 minutes and can last up to six hours or more. The experience starts slow and gradually intensifies with time.
Getting back to normal from a “High” can be therapeutic. It makes you relaxed and appreciative of getting the control back on your thoughts. It is quite an exciting time to get a clear understanding of things and recognize complicated concepts.
During the trip, you are continuously analyzing and finding a meaning to everything. When you slowly get back from the euphoria, you will realize that everything was imaginary. The fear, anxiety, and judgments are artificial and constructed. This understanding is a significant improvement in the mental health of a person.
It is helpful to note down all the events and happenings you confronted during the “high” as it can help you observe, reminisce, and learn new things. Psilocybin mushrooms can influence the brain receptors to have a positive impact on your thoughts and look at things differently.
Now that you know what to expect when you are high on Psilocybin Mushroom give it a try and friends. So that in case you are not able to handle the euphoria, someone is there to guide you. If you are a beginner, always begin trying this drug from a microdose, and in case you are under any medications, consult with a health professional first before attempting.
About the author: Rebecca is a cannabis and health industry consultant who frequently writes about the latest trends in the industry with only one motive that is to create awareness about healthy living. She has been writing for a long time now and is becoming a recognized name in the cannabis industry.
Dr. Bronner’s Psychedelic Mushroom Trip
David Bronner, Inheritor To His Grandfather’s Legacy and Soapmaking Empire Brings ‘Constructive Capitalism’ To Regenerative Cannabis Farming and Therapeutic Psilocybin Activism
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps remain an iconic and distinctively American staple brand and curiosity, their wordy labels ubiquitous from Northwestern co-operative farming communities to the upscale bodegas of gentrified North Brooklyn. The boldly colored packaging includes Dr. Bronners ‘Moral ABCs’, a religious, political and labor unity manifesto represented by the overall slogan that the company still uses, “All-One!”. The path of the brand, the label, the eponymous Doctor and his descendants leads from Nazi persecution and American struggle to the steps of the White House and the battle over psychedelic mushrooms.
Over 70 years after German immigrant Dr. Emanuel Bronner founded the company out of his California apartment in 1948, his heirs, particularly his grandson David, have carried his crusading spirit into the battles for hemp, cannabis, psychedelics and sustainable living.
Dr. Bronner himself was a fascinating and irrepressible entrepreneur; born into the German Jewish Heilbronner family of soapmakers, he immigrated by himself to Wisconsin from Germany in 1929, dropping the ‘Heil’ from his name due to the word’s association with the Nazis, as Hitler rose to power in the 1930’s.
Emanuel started publicly speaking about his ambitions for uniting humanity under a single utopian religious and governmental system, with mixed reactions. While many connected to him personally and intellectually, his intensity could be a double edged sword. After a dispute over his right to preach at the University of Chicago triggered his legendary sense of righteous indignation, he was involuntarily hospitalized at Elgin State Insane Asylum, from which he escaped in 1945. He fled west, and launched his American soapmaking operations in 1948 from his Los Angeles apartment. Meanwhile back in Germany, the Heilbronner’s factory was nationalized and liquidated by the Nazis, and Emanuel’s parents were deported to concentration camps, where they were murdered in the mid-1940’s.
As he spread his soap and gospel, Emanuel Bronner further honed his marketing and outreach skills. In 1950, he came up with the idea of directly printing “The Moral ABCs” that he had innovated onto the labels of his peppermint castile soaps, after realizing while preaching Pershing Square that many people were taking the free soap samples he offered, without bothering to stay to hear him philosophize. The Moral ABC’s are rooted in Dr. Bronner’s own stream of intentional consciousness, interwoven with references to thinkers and leaders including Einstein, Thomas Paine, Karl Marx, 1972 Olympic swimming legend Mark Spitz (who sued and eventually received a settlement when he found that he had been included on the packaging without permission), as well as Jesus and the ancient Hebrew sage Hillel, who Dr. Bronner referred to as ‘Rabbis’, seeing himself as a continuation of their Rabbinic tradition and philosophies. The label became the most recognizable characteristic of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps as they spread the globe, and has been alternately celebrated and ridiculed. When updating the logo in 2014, a company spokesperson acknowledged that the label – which can’t be changed beyond some design updates since a provision was added to the company’s charter that states that it must remain the same – “might just be one of those things that is ‘so bad, it’s good.'” The advertising industry has been split about whether it falls on the side of “atrocious” or “genius“, but to generations of global fans and customers, the case has been long settled.
Another is its versatility; Dr. Bronner’s soaps work as shampoo, toothpaste, laundry detergent, shaving cream, pest control and more, advertising at least 18 uses on the label. As demand rose for naturally sourced and organic products through the 60’s and 70’s, Dr. Bronner’s soaps, which had been decades ahead of the ‘conscious consumerism’ and holistic wellness product trends, expanded and moved operations to Escondido, California. The non-conformists that became their base market were intrigued and inspired by the universalist exhortations, laughing or shrugging off the more subjective bits, such as his advocacy for Chinese birth control methods.
Dr. Bronner’s commitment to fair and equitable business practices made him a beloved employer, allowing many to appreciate or overlook his pronounced quirks. For example, he had an almost compulsive habit of reporting communist activity he deemed suspicious to the FBI, and made many attempts to meet Dr. Albert Einstein, sometimes claiming him as his uncle. It is also likely, according to the Dr. Bronner’s website, that he simply adopted the ‘Doctor’ honorific and that “with his intensity, scientific knowledge and thick German accent, no one argue(d).”
Emanuel Bronner ran the company until his death in 1997, even as his eyesight deteriorated into complete blindness through the 60’s and 70’s, a condition he attributed to the shock treatments he had received at Elgin State. His sons Jim and Ralph took the reins and continued to embrace the ethos of their father’s mission and business structure. Jim was a brilliant chemist in his own right, inventing a foam concentrate in the 80’s that is still used in fighting forest and structure fires. Ralph served as Chief Outreach Officer, his own uniquely accessible personality displayed along with his fathers in the 2006 documentary ‘Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soapbox.’ Not long after his father’s death, Jim received a terminal cancer diagnosis, and spent the last year of his life transitioning management of the company to his son David, who would go on run the company with his mother Trudy and uncle Ralph, soon to be joined by his brother Michael. Ralph Bronner, beloved by staff and customers alike for his warmth and generosity, remained in his position with the company until his passing in 2015. Michael Bronner is an author, philanthropist, and activist, and remains President of Dr. Bronner’s.
When David Bronner joined the family business as the end of a century neared, he was a 24-year-old Harvard-educated mental health counselor and hemp advocate. With an established national and international market, David and Dr. Bronner’s entered the 21st century already well along their path of corporate and communal activism toward a better planet.
Activism For Hemp and Cannabis Leads Brother David to Regenerative Organics
In 1999, the company added hemp seed oil to their soaps, and supported the eventually successful early 2000’s campaign that protected hemp products from a DEA status as a schedule 1 drug. Illogical and restrictive federal policies against hemp and cannabis didn’t end there however, and in 2012 David Bronner was arrested for locking himself in a steel cage in front of the White House while extracting oil from hemp, in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to convince President Obama to rethink some of America’s self destructive plant policies. He had previously been arrested in 2010 for symbolically planting hemp on the front lawn of the DEA museum with 5 other activists. Hemp was finally legalized in the most recent 2018 Farm Bill.
David Bronner, working with his family and team, has since incorporated the company’s guiding principle of ‘conscious capitalism‘ into activism for LGBT+ rights, sustainable agriculture and the “liberation of cannabis.” Since 2003, Dr. Bronner’s has formalized their practice of giving all profits not needed for business to progressive causes and charities, and in July of 2015, Dr. Bronner’s became a state recognized Benefit Corporation (B. Corp) in California, a ‘for-profit corporation that has positive impact on society and the environment according to legally defined goals.’ That act further solidified the commitment to locally and globally beneficial work that Emanuel Bronner incorporated into their foundation, and which his heirs and descendants uphold. Indeed, when browsing some of their innovations it’s almost unbelievable for an American corporation; in 2003 they created the first 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, and they have a detailed commitment to sustainable sourcing and cultivation of their products. They also have some of the most worker friendly business practices, including 100% health coverage, which they instituted in the early 90’s, and a maximum 5-to-1 compensation cap between top salaried employee and lowest-wage warehouse position, meaning that even David, the CEO (Cosmic Engagement Officer) can only make up to five times as much as his lowest paid full time worker. By comparison, the average CEO in the US ‘earned’ about 250 times as much as their typical (not lowest paid) employee in 2018. Dr. Bronner’s is a rare corporation that has put into action the often empty commitments to workers and the earth that other corporate actors fund misleading PR campaigns about.
Besides hemp activism, Dr. Bronner’s has been a longtime supporter of cannabis legalization, accessibility and agriculture, and David’s new project in that space perfectly reflects the holistic agrarian outlook he lives. “Brother David’s Sacred Allies is a not for profit brand platform to promote independent sun & earth farms.” He told us, further elaborating that the primary goal is to establish a recognizable holistic agriculture certifications for farmers, especially cannabis farmers who are growing organically, but can not get Organic certification due to cannabis remaining a federal Schedule 1 drug, a continued and unjust hypocrisy. David clarified that “These are independent farms, we have no ownership whatsoever, we are promoting a certification that means the cannabis was grown purely in sun and soil, with no chemicals, using fair labor practices. We feel like all the best cannabis farmers are already growing regeneratively, so it’s a way of certifying what they do in a way that communicates that transparently to consumers at point of sale. For example, when they see the Sun+Earth certification, they know that their medicine has been produced to the highest standard. Brother David’s is a not for profit intentionally because we want to communicate that we are in cooperation, not competition with the other brands certified as Sun+Earth and Regenerative Organic, we just exist to promote those standards, and help subsidize certification costs to fund allies advocating for better and less burdensome regulations for small family farmers.” The Sun+Earth certification is specific to cannabis, while Regenerative Organic applies to all non-scheduled agricultural products.
Most recently, the Bronner name has been in the media due to their $150,000 donation and David’s public and personal support of Oregon’s Psilocybin Service Initiative, which would allow psilocybin therapy in the state, in controlled therapeutic settings with state licensed therapists. That measure was a rewritten version of the previous mushroom bill, and the announcement of the amended version set off a wave of mostly positive reactions online and in the psychedelic community. David spoke to NUGL on the phone about his support for the therapeutic model of psilocybin, his vision for the future of psilocybin, and some of the dissenting opinions around the current bill from within the psychedelic community.
“I think psychedelic therapy is pretty crucial for humanity to heal itself,” he told me “We need to wake up to, grapple with and solve the huge environmental and social problems that we’re facing, and I think widespread psychedelic experience and healing is going to be a crucial part.” He speaks from personal experience with the fungus, referencing his own struggles with anxiety and depression. “It’s definitely been a big part of my path, and that of many people I know, helping to process really difficult emotions and experiences, learning to reintegrate and love ourselves and each other, to connect with nature and realize we’re one with the miraculous living reality we’re in.”
One reason David supports the therapeutic model is that he recognizes the vast need for more intense and deep reaching therapeutic experiences and medicines than what the American regulatory system currently allows for; “The pharma drugs and therapies out there are pretty inadequate, just scratching the surface of the root problems, and psilocybin assisted therapy can really help people and help solve the underlying issues, or work through them in a much more fundamental way than just medicating the symptoms,” he said. “Speaking as somebody who doesn’t have an acute diagnosis of major depression or end of life anxiety, or an acute addiction, I think for our brothers and sisters that are suffering from any of those, this is really game changing.”
David believes that psilocybin assisted therapy can and will change public perception about the fungi and other natural and plant medicines. “The therapeutic model is based more on the indigenous approach of creating a safe container with a shaman present to really optimize the experience, it’s not like partying at a concert.” Not that partying with psychedelics at a concert is necessarily a bad way to experience psychedelics, in his view. “Certainly though that can also be a deeply meaningful or religious experience, it’s not as reliable as a therapeutic model where you’re really controlling the set and setting and minimizing distracting factors in the environment, and really enabling full release through the experience”
Consensus Building, Dissent, And the Fear of ‘Corporadelics’
As mentioned above, the measure currently up for consideration in Oregon – known as PSI 2020 – was rewritten and amended, with a few crucial changes that not everyone agrees with. Those controversial changes include a measure mandating indoor growing – which may exclude low income people without the means for a costly indoor setup, and could also stand to benefit a donor to the campaign who produces exactly that sort of indoor equipment. Many have criticized the level of influence that Tom and Sheri Eckert, the married therapists sponsoring the original and amended bill have had over the campaign and eventual licensing process. The Portland branch of national plant medicine advocacy group Decriminalize Nature, whose Oakland and Denver affiliates have been a fundamental part of the successful legislation there, publicly stated their objections in a letter they posted online. David Bronner published his own response to the backlash, and defended the measure and Dr. Bronner’s support for it on the company blog. In our conversation as the discussions played out, Bryan Kim director of public outreach for Decriminalize Nature Portland told me; “Our position toward PSI and the changes made is that we are not at a point where we don’t think people should vote for it. Getting a medical model, and a high quality one, in place is really important. The main point of contention is that we are at a point of critical support (for psilocybin), and that I think it’s very important for the average person to understand the distinction in approaches. It’s critical that as we’re moving forward into the future, we’re talking about who’s going to benefit from these legislative changes, and who’s going to be left behind.”
Kevin Matthews, the Denver activist best known for spearheading the psilocybin campaign there cautioned in a September 12 webinar about a potential monopolistic takeover by ‘corporadelic’ interest Compass Pathways, who have raised eyebrows and concerns that many of their tactics are aimed toward cornering the market on psilocybin research and market access. Matthews cautioned that “Compass intend to dominate the market in clinical research for the foreseeable future, and if the Oregon measure passes, it’s my intuition that they are going to have as much of a proprietary space in terms of supplying psilocybin to those service centers when they open up.”
David Bronner describes the conflicts over the bill as tactical, rather than fundamental.“I think there’s a large scale agreement on the end goal, the end goal is for psychedelics to be widely available for everybody that doesn’t have a contra-indication.” He notes that another bill being considered by the Drug Policy Alliance and aimed at broad scale drug decriminalization across Oregon, includes the decriminalization language removed from PSI 2020, and would include psilocybin and all other psychedelics. “On the one hand , you’ve got the Decriminalize Nature movement, which we 100% support. We do believe in cognitive liberty, and that you have a right to alter your consciousness as you see fit, whether that’s in your own home or in a forest or wherever. Conversely, we also understand the researcher concerns, they are concerned that (while they are) going the FDA regulatory approval route, if we go too far with what Oregon is proposing, that maybe there would be some (federal) backlash.”
A spokesperson for the Drug Policy Alliance clarified regarding the full drug decriminalization measure referred to by David, that they will not technically be introducing that bill, rather following and supporting the local lead; “The chief petitioners for the ballot initiative you are referring to are Janie Gullickson, executive director of the Mental Health and Addiction Association of Oregon, Haven Wheelock of OutsideIn, where she leads one of the oldest and largest harm reduction programs in the US, and Anthony Johnson, executive director of the successful Oregon campaign to regulate, tax and legalize marijuana. To be clear, this is an Oregon-led initiative…It is much too soon to determine whether or not we will move forward with this measure.”
Bryan Kim and others are sure to express that concern over potential bad actors does not extend to David and Dr. Bronner’s. “I want to be very clear; I live with several other Decriminalize Nature PDX people and our household is very big fans of his products. They as a company do a lot of great work, and I really appreciate that as a B Corp they have structured a for-profit business in a way that gives them a legal and structural focus on attempting to give back and make improvements within the system.” A spokesperson for Decriminalize California similarly criticized elements of the bill, while reiterating their respect for Bronner. “David Bronner has alway been fighting the good fight for drug policy reform. I believe his motives are righteous, and if more people in his position stepped up to support these kinds of initiatives, this war would end. Granted, I like the Decriminalize California model better than the (PSI 2020) Oregon model, but it’s up to the voters in Oregon to decide their own fate, and with time their policy will evolve to fit the needs of the people.”
The Holistic, Agrarian, Sustainable, Psychedelic Future
Holistic cannabis culture and psilocybin therapy are not disconnected goals to David. “There is similarity in that cannabis is also a plant medicine that’s very helpful in helping us relax and appreciate the present moment, each other, music and all the magic in our lives, and to get out of the ‘go go’ mode of consciousness that’s really interfering with connecting with each other and nature.” Coming from a less accomplished idealist, statements like that might sound myopic, but the legacy that David Bronner steadfastly maintains has withstood skepticism, mockery and even incarceration in the past, and among the wealthy and influential individuals eagerly affiliating themselves and their money with psychedelics, it is unlikely that any of the others are following as directly in the footsteps of their grandfather. David and Dr. Bronner’s current success and future goals are the outcome of exactly the sort of irrepressible faith in big ideas, good work, and being of benefit to people and the earth that he and his grandfather Emanuel have dedicated their life’s energy to. As for what David hopes to see in the near future of cannabis, psychedelics, and plant medicines? “I’m hoping for a day soon that in the same sentence where you’re asking someone about their meditation practice, you also ask about their medicine practice. Maybe it’s every five years, or yearly, maybe it’s once a quarter, but some kind of check in to the deeper levels of self, spirit world, getting the deep lessons and wisdom that come with intentional medicine practice.”
An ‘Addiction Interrupting’ Natural Psychedelic That May Hold the Key to Healing Parkinson’s
With plant medicines becoming more popular, thanks in part to the expansion of the global ayahuasca industry, a lesser known plant called iboga is showing promise for a variety of conditions, including opioid addiction and possibly Parkinson’s Disease.
Ibogaine is a psychedelic substance found in the African rainforests of Angola and the Congo, a root bark extraction of the ‘Tabernanthe iboga’. While it is still somewhat less known in the US than its relative Ayahuasca, its popularity and international following for the groundbreaking improvement it has shown for those suffering from opiate, alcohol and amphetamine addiction. Large dose treatment of ibogaine has shown ?particular success? in preventing opiate withdrawal symptoms, often after a single treatment. While there is potential for adverse or dangerous reactions for people with certain existing or untreated heart conditions, or who are on certain other drugs, that danger is not a major factor with ?proper precautions? and supervision. Ibogaine is used medically and therapeutically around the world. Countries including Australia and South Africa have allowances for medical and prescriptive use, while countries such as Gabon, The Netherlands, and Mexico have legal or unregulated access. All are becoming popular bases and destinations for therapy and treatment, especially with access severely limited by misguided government regulations in many parts of the world, including being completely illegal in France, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Ireland and others.
Ibogaine is a Schedule 1 drug in the USA, meaning that according to the ?draconian and irrational? logic of the ?Drug War?, it is a ‘drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse’, despite a ?growing? ?mountain? of ?evidence? to the contrary
The tectonic foundations for that mountain first converged in the US through Howard Lotsof (1943-2010). ?Lotsof is credited? as being “the first individual to observe the therapeutic effect of ibogaine in detoxification from heroin”. While experimenting with psychedelics as a 19 year old heroin addict in 1962, he was introduced to ibogaine by a chemist friend. When the multi-day trip ended, Lotsof became aware that he was not experiencing heroin withdrawals, and hadn’t for days. After confirming the same results with a handful of addicted friends, he committed to his belief that ibogaine could serve as an ‘addiction interrupter’, and began a lifelong mission of advocacy for ibogaine treatment and research within the scientific and activist community. Over the next decades, Lotsof inspired, educated and worked with many of today’s leading ibogaine researchers and activists in the US and Canada. Among them are NYU psychiatry and neurology professor ?Dr. Kenneth Alper?, who co-organized the First International Conference on ibogaine, and Dr Deborah Mash, who began conducting research into ibogaine after meeting Lotsof in the early 90’s, and is now widely considered one of the western world’s foremost experts on ibogaine.
Another of Lotsofs early collaborators is ?Dana Beal?. Dana is a founding member of the ?Yippie Movement?, and a tireless and ?legendary? activist for cannabis legality and access, human rights, and personal freedom. He and the Yippies are enshrined for their work in the recently opened Weed Museum in Los Angeles.
During our conversation, he was preparing to fly from New York City to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia the next morning to speak at the Ibogaine For Addiction Conference. He believes that the healing potential extends beyond even the ongoing success in therapeutic and addiction treatment. Recent reports and research indicate potential for ibogaine use in the ?treatment of Parkinson’s? disease, and Beal has been focused recently on promoting further research and ?awareness?. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder globally after Alzheimer’s disease. An estimated seven to ten million people worldwide have Parkinson’s disease, and almost one million people will be living with Parkinson’s in the US by 2020, according to the ?Parkinson’s Foundation?. While there is skepticism in both the mainstream and ‘alternative’ medical community, Beal remains confident; “It’s not a theory, it’s a result, I’ve spoken a patient who has reversed their Parkinson’s strictly with microdoses of ibogaine. There are also many patients who have achieved [positive] results with a regiment of large doses followed by a microdose regiment.”
Claims of a potential miracle natural remedy for elements of addiction and Parkinson’s disease are sure to raise as much suspicion as hope, and there are those in the medical community who are as dismissive of the neurological and medical potential of ibogaine as many were (?and still are?) of cannabis. Don’t forget that the mainstream acceptance and propagation of ‘facts’ and data by the medical and pharmaceutical establishment has been a leading factor in the criminalization of cannabis and suppression of its medical benefits. The often misguided gatekeeping of the so called healthcare establishment is also a significant contributor to decades of public ignorance of important data about the potential of LSD, psilocybin and other psychedelics, and contributes to the epidemic of opiate related addiction and deaths.
For those interested in an ibogaine experience, it’s important to remember to always do your own research, and apply the principles of ‘?set and setting?’. It’s also important to note that this is probably not the party drug to bring along to your next festival or recreational camping trip. Beal points out that “Ibogaine is not from the [chemical] sequence of psychedelics related to psilocybin and LSD, it’s more related to harmaline, one of the two main active ingredients in ayahuasca.” What that translates to for the user is an experience that most describe as self reflective and therapeutic, as opposed to the more joyful fun associated with other psychedelics. Ibogaine trips can last well over a day, and involve challenging moments physically and mentally. Awareness and education along with proper guidance and supervision are well advised with this powerful and mysterious medicine.
Written By Aaron Genuth, Contributor