The Psilocybin Movement is Like the Cannabis Movement (Except When It’s Not)

There is a bona fide movement underway with psilocybin. Decriminalization occurred last year in Denver, Oakland and Santa Cruz, and that was just a start: nearly 100 other cities are looking at decriminalizing psychedelics. At the state level, ballot measures are out for signature in California and Oregon. Federally, legislation has been proposed to allow research into psychedelic drugs, alongside calls for decriminalization.

On the commercial side, well-funded private companies (for- and non-profit) are pushing ahead with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) psilocybin studies, patent acquisition, and registration of other intellectual property. Many of these private companies are set to go public. Others are public already. All in all, a race is underway to explore the attributes of psychedelic mushrooms and to leverage their promise in commercial applications.

Because psilocybin and other entheogens are Schedule I drugs in the United States (and strictly controlled under international law), the comparison is often made between what is happening with psilocybin and what happened with marijuana over the past few decades. It’s not a terrible comparison, but it’s not perfect either. Below is a high-level survey of psilocybin, contrasting the lay of the land with historical cannabis progress.

Like cannabis, psilocybin will

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