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Mental Health

Entheogens are Starting to be Decriminalized in Certain States

— October 18, 2023

Some areas of the U.S. are working hard to make sure entheogens are available for mental health treatment.

There should be no stone left unturned in the current battle against mental health issues. This is a crisis that both the United States and the world as a whole are facing, and there are currently not enough resources or treatment options available to help those in need.

And, unfortunately, some of the options that do exist for helping people with mental health struggles are deemed illegal. As one example, entheogens are illegal in most places yet have shown the ability to potentially help people with a range of mental health issues. These substances have already been decriminalized in Oregon and Colorado, and plenty of activism is ongoing in an effort to bring down barriers in other states, as well.

For the most part, the states with meaningful movements toward decriminalizing entheogens are not particularly surprising. These are among the most liberal states in the country, so it makes sense that California is joining that list. There is now a bill moving through the state legislation to decriminalize the use and possession of various entheogenic substances, and it is heading to the Governor’s desk for a signature.

Getting to this point required plenty of hard work, however. A ground called Decriminalize Nature Humboldt has played a meaningful role in collecting signatures and spreading the word regarding the potential benefits of removing criminal charges for those who wish to use these substances. If it gets all the way through the legislative process, this bill will take effect on the first day of 2025.

Entheogens are Starting to be Decriminalized in Certain States
Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

For some in California, this is an exciting time, as the decriminalization of such substances may mean they can finally make meaningful progress against the mental health issues that have plagued them for years. While science is still trying to catch up to the excitement, there are plenty of research studies that seem to indicate tremendous potential for this type of treatment for a range of mental health conditions.

For example, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one condition that may be improved through the use of psilocybin and other psychedelics. Without the addictive nature of other possible treatments, using entheogens could significantly benefit people with severe trauma, including veterans, along with those who suffer from PTSD, anxiety, depression, and more. As more and more science comes in, and the benefits and risks of using these substances for mental health are more clearly known, the success of this type of treatment should only improve.

Progress on these types of matters tends to come slowly, which is a shame for those who need help now. However, slow progress is better than no progress, and gradually relaxing laws and making useful products available to those who need them is a step in the right direction. As more and more people understand what things like entheogens can do for mental health, the stigma against using psychedelics can start to be eliminated, and more treatment options will suddenly be available for people who need them the most.


Decriminalizing entheogens for mental health

ScienceDirect: Entheogen

Psilocybin for Trauma-Related Disorders

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