Energy was revving up at day two of the Telluride Mushroom Festival. A highlight included watching the movie “A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin.” The movie followed a group of patients who had enrolled in private funded research based on the effects of psilocybin (magic mushrooms) on depression. Psilocybin was used in more or less normal therapy settings and with the addition of the mushrooms the effects delivered dramatically positive results in minimal time. All of the patients had also been exposed to normal therapy over long periods of time as well as a comparative point.
The patients observed that psilocybin delivered results in the first session what take anti-depressants and normal therapy weeks or even months to uncover. The therapy sessions also focused on taking a lifestyle approach to the client. What were the difficulties of that person’s life and how were they overcome? How did things like guilt, regret, being terrified of interacting with others play out in a person’s life? Were people able to trust others and what did that look like? Were there relationships that were in fact more approachable if gone at differently? What were people carrying around with them every day? These are not the most uncommon questions or approaches applied in normal therapy sessions but with the administering of psilocybin the discussions were front and center and took on a more dramatic and intentional meaning during the patient’s thought processes and expressions. We all can at times go through the mundane motions of answering questions about our life in therapy or with friends and have nothing ever change at all. The psilocybin provided an atmosphere that made people more open to different ways of perceiving and thinking. It stops the brain in old cycles and starts up new ones. Learning to unlearn and the learn again is the value here.
During these sessions props like music and images were used to guide people towards dealing with their fears. It forced people into challenging experiences. Experiences that confronted, rather than danced around issues, hence the intensity of making one psilocybin therapy session feel like weeks and even years of what they had previously done in normal therapeutic settings. When clients went home they still had the support of being allowed to check in with their psychedelic, psilocybin therapist. After sessions, they were told to focus on whatever it took to keep them in their post psychedelic light and free space. This usually included people doing things they loved, spending more time outside, and being free of the normal stresses that often plagued them. They mentally would walk up to their depression and fears but not fall over the edge like normal but rather be free and happy from the psilocybin therapy. The drug has been known to change patters in people. To change the way one deals with problems and allowing other solutions to present themselves. Patients often went from thinking negatively with familiar attitudes that entailed “why bother thinking” to actually being happy, connecting with others and their environment, and utilizing their days.
A panel discussion occurred later in the day surrounding past, present, and future uses of medicinal mushrooms. The speakers included Cornelia Cho, Steve Farrar, Denis Benjamin, Robert Dale Rogers, and Michele Ross. The panel concluded that disease and cancer is related to someone’s genes, lifestyle, and also a result of long term nutritional deficiencies. If the entire history of the universe was divided up into 24 hours humans have lived on the Earth for but a few seconds. Fungi in mushrooms have been around for 18 hours and have evolved the ability over that extra time to deal with disease. We should trust them in allowing them to combat the diseases in us that negatively affect our lives.
Every individual should have a specialized treatment plan. We get side effects because the medical industry tries to apply a standardized product for everyone and this simply does not work. Medicinal mushrooms like turkey tail and reishi enhance our immune system and brings about death in cancer cells. Such mushrooms, as well as many others help with the extreme toxicity of chemotherapy that wreaks havoc on our immune systems. For fighting something as threatening as cancer one would believe we would want the fully functionality of our immune systems at work.
One of the blatant inconsistencies of our countries drug policies is how fearful we have become of illegal drugs that rarely harm us and lead to deaths vs the legal prescription drugs that cause immeasurable daily suffering. Hundreds of thousands of people die a year from ordered and directed use of prescribed pharmaceuticals and hundreds of thousands more suffer immensely from other ailments from the same drugs. Homeopathic drugs don’t cater to these atrociously negative statistics. The trust and reliance our culture at large has for big pharma is appalling as we take for granted that we are a culture addicted to prescription drugs, somehow being different than being addicted to the much lower and less harmful substances of illegal drugs. We are vastly over medicated. 70% of the world’s psychotropic drugs and 80% of the world’s OxyContin is consumed in the U.S. These are outrageously horrible numbers and will make our culture one day remembered for casually having a serious epidemic addiction problem that we simply went along with.
Why is this the case and how did it get like this? Before WWII all pharmaceuticals came from natural products and we lived in a very homeopathic medical system. The FDA was created around this time as the public demanded it to a reaction to some accidental deaths within the medical industry. They wanted an organization that overlooked the medical industry and stood for what was accepted as appropriate medical practices. The main rule was that you couldn’t paten natural and homeopathic products. This instantly created a new money making entity within the medical industry. It opened the door for chemists to isolate certain chemicals and components from natural products and make astrological amounts of money as being FDA approved. When something became approved the homeopathic product was simply discarded as money could only be made from the extracted patented chemical.
The money issue also influenced what people did research projects on. There was no money in negative studies being done as that mostly didn’t promote the selling of any products. Grant money for research was also not given out for this reason. People want returns on their investments and how many medicines have become the status quo because nobody’s willing to put up the money to challenge them and not make any money as a result? It is also common practice in the medical industry that you can pay money to get a medical article published. By following the money, we can deduct that the FDA and the medical industry’s moneyed interests have dramatically benefited while leaving behind the health of the people.
The panel ended with a great quote by one of the panelists regarding moving forward as responsible beings and entities. ‘Positive scenarios come out of more observations and less reason being applied while negative scenarios come out of less observations and more reason.’ The FDA and the American Medical Industry definitely apply reason over observations along with a predatory approach to making money at all costs. People will continue to be left behind.