Arizona may be a great place to live, raise a family, snowbird or vacation to, but rarely is the state seen as a trailblazer. There are a few items that demonstrate how forward-thinking we can be and how we can lead in different ways; the first female Supreme Court justice was born and raised in Arizona and Cesar Chavez led the fight for immigrant workers’ rights from our state, for instance. But the list isn’t incredibly long.
Our state may become a trailblazer in an entirely new way soon however, one which would have been considered entirely outside of the realm of realistic possibilities not much more than a decade ago however: Arizona might soon lead the way when it comes to magical mushroom studies.
Such mushrooms are a Schedule I drug, denoted as such due to allegedly having no medicinal benefits, an antiquated system developed in a time that was light on data and heavy on scare tactics. Its Schedule I and federally illegal status makes it notoriously difficult to study, although the active ingredient within such mushrooms, psilocybin, has been studied at length (thus underscoring the innate silliness of the system as it was constructed).
There has been plenty of anecdotal evidence that such mushrooms can have plenty of positive impacts in the short and long term. Specifically as it comes to PTSD, alternative treatments in the way of currently-illegal drugs have shown incredible promise at times. When it comes to psilocybin, however, the evidence is somewhat mixed, as there has been evidence showing significantly negative side effects. That underscores the need for more studies, however.
So why Arizona? For starters, a bill that made it through the legislature established an advisory council that will be tasked with setting the criteria necessary to qualify for $5 million in grant funding to conduct the studies. Having Republican backers in the state legislature is obviously critical, and Kevin Payne from Peoria seems to have stepped up to the plate in that regard. While the bill was co-sponsored by Democrats Stacey Travers and Jennifer Longdon, since the Republicans have control of both sides of the legislature, Republican support is paramount. And the fact that it has bipartisan support is unquestionably positive.
Our state might not be known as a traditional trailblazer, but it has become a haven for people who wanted to take a risk and make a change in their circumstances, for people who wanted to advance in life and build something new. In this vein, this potential study is on brand. And while magic mushrooms might be bad for a lot of the populace, obtaining data in a controlled environment to confirm or deny this can’t possibly be a bad thing.