“Drugs are bad.” It’s a common notion that, if you grew up anything like myself, you’ve been told and taught from an early age. It’s a belief that is socialized into us through both societal expectations as well as education, but is it entirely true? In Canada, Marijuana was recently legalized countrywide because of a new-age view of this age-old question. More specifically, because of the reality that society as a whole is beginning to understand that not everything we were once told is necessarily rooted in fact. Fortunately for us, we now have science to back these questions. Canada’s adoption of “the devils lettuce” is, in my eyes, more of a symbolic move than anything else. It’s a sign of both change and progress. A symbol indicating that we, as a collective, are much more willing to consider all of the wild and endless possibilities of our world with an open mind. It’s a sign of the thriving sharing economy in action. The world where we are now able to inform and make decisions for ourselves, though this access to information is something we almost certainly take for granted. We’re entering an era where we are beginning to understand that just maybe, all these things we were once told are finally worth questioning.

As a more accepting view on new substances slowly makes its way into the societal norms of both Canada and many Western American states by way of new Marijuana legislation, so too has a new dialogue on the possible benefits of several other therapeutic, though restricted substances. Though there are several thrown in the mix of this discussion, one that particularly stands out is the use of psilocybin mushrooms as both a tool and treatment mechanism. Over the past half century, mushrooms have come and gone from the arena of mental health. I personally first read about their use in University, when reading an assigned book about the use of guided LSD & Psychedelic therapy to cure alcoholism in the post-war prairies of Canada. Since that time, the speculation of this science has become very solidified. Psilocybin is proving one of the most effective treatment options for addictions and depression to date. It’s a substance that many places, including the state of Oregon, are fast-tracking toward legalization. What else? It’s entirely natural, growing straight from the soil of our earth and is undoubtedly much less damaging for the body than it’s synthetic peers.

Several of my favourite intellectuals, from Andrew Weil to Tim Ferris to Michael Pollan are members of an enormous list of advocates for the use of psilocybin. These individuals preach both the scientific benefits as well as the psychological results from their own personal experiences. Experiences which many of these iconic individuals credit for massive changes in their own lives. For myself personally, I have found this substance to be an incredible tool for both creativity as well as mental clarity. In the past, larger doses helped me understand my automatic tendencies in ways I would almost certainly never perceive without. In term, helping me to adjust and even change them. As I got older, preferring smaller, more minute doses has assisted me in reinforcing entirely new and more productive methods of habitual thought into my regular everyday life. Your thoughts, whether directly or indirectly, certainly do create your reality. The key to experiencing a new reality lies in a new train of thought, and that is what the real benefit here is. A common explanation of the psilocybin experience is that it is able to provide a graduate level education in the obvious. It’s an experience providing a natural ability to tune in to the elements of our lives that tend to reside barely outside our sphere of conscious awareness, our blind spots. There is a simple and obvious reason creative professionals around the world have been micro-dosing and undergoing guided sessions with this special substance for years. It is both a powerful and effective tool for the mind in numerous ways, including a strong ability to promote new connections between relatively unrelated regions of the brain. New connections mean new approaches, which then mean new results.

I cannot speak for everyone, but I personally live in a strange world. One where alcoholism is often glorified on television as well as in person, and the use of natural substances that may actually help people is, for whatever reason, defamed. In particular, substances like psilocybin that are still indirectly defined by their distant connection with a partying hippy movement from over 4 decades prior. We still provide boundless validation to the drunk executive pounding tequila at the work Christmas party and we praise the depressed student who has courageously approached their doctor seeking opioids as a cure for their distress. Yet, we continue to view one of the worlds most ancient and revolutionary cures for the mind as an antagonist. I’m not exactly sure how to view this dilemma. To me, this seems like a classic case of wrongful socialization. Just because our norms have always told us one thing, does not necessarily mean they are rooted in the proper values. Though we are certainly catching up pretty damn fast, we still have a long way to go, and things are definitely still a little tiny bit old fashioned. For the most part, drugs really can be pretty bad, and that includes the legal ones. But that doesn’t mean that the statement is necessarily all-encompassing. We really do live in a pretty special time. Technology, science and our understanding of the human psyche are each at their pinnacle. Not only this, but they are now converging. It’s a point in time when an open mind may be the best asset any individual person can possess. Nowadays change is coming at us with rapid speed, all we have to do is be ready for it.

“Taking LSD was a profound experience, one of the most important things in my life. LSD shows you that there’s another side to the coin, and you can’t remember it when it wears off, but you know it. It reinforced my sense of what was important—creating great things instead of making money” – STEVE JOBS

Andrew Weil On Psychedlic Therapy

How To Change Your Mind By Michael Pollan

How One Year Of Micro-Dosing Helped My Career, Relationships & Happiness.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor a professional researcher on this topic, and in no way am I promoting the use of state altering substances without professional supervision. This article is simply a reflection piece from a guy who is able to regurgitate some of the information and experiences I have collected on the topic of psychedelic therapy.