Legalization of Entheogens


Recent blog post I wrote for Nurse Grown Organics…. <– Link

The term “plant medicine” is often associated with cannabis and marijuana, but it can encompass so many more substances that are naturally occuring. Plant medicine also includes natural herbal substances, extracting substances from vines (such the case with the psychedelic medicine ayahuasca), cacti (peyote), and even mushrooms (though we know that, technically, they are not plants).

We have seen significant changes in the legal status for these substances at the local level, despite many still being classified as narcotics by the DEA and FDA. In the past year-and-a-half we have seen decriminalization occurring in Oakland, Santa Cruz, Denver, Washington D.C.. Our own backyard, town, Somerville, MA, announced decriminalization this month. 

While these are great, it is still just the beginning. We need to remember that decriminalization does not mean that they are legal, they are just at the lowest priority for law enforcement to pursue charges. Also, these laws only cover small quantities of plants, often for personal use. If you have large amounts or cross state lines you may be facing federal or state charges. But, this is a great step forward. 

One of the largest efforts that I am most excited for is the passage of Oregon’s Ballot Initiative 109. This ballot initiative was the first of its kind, where Oregonians voted that despite federal regulations, they want to see psilocybin being allowed for legal, therapeutic purposes. The initiative goes one step further to articulate that licenced service providers within the state can prescribe and conduct treatment independently. 

While the rules haven’t been completely clarified yet, these service providers are expected to be mental health providers and therapists who will receive specialized training as psilocybin service facilitators. Fortunately, they won’t need to be medical providers and will not need to follow the traditional medical model. 

Fundamentally, this means lawmakers recognize that psilocybin is an effective tool, that it’s quite safe in certain set and settings, and there is no need for medical oversight of any therapeutic process. The exact details are currently being laid out under the oversight of Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and should be finalized by 2022. 

As it happens, this unexpected and exciting movement in Oregon led to the Canadian Health Ministry to announce that Canada, too, is looking to set up a similar program mirroring Oregon’s lead.

We are seeing more and more about entheogenic plants and substances being talked about on popular media such as 60 Minutes, Forbes Magazine, and Playboy. This means that the legalization movement is growing, and we as nurses need to stay informed. We need to have answers, or at least know where to go to find them. The fight isn’t over and we shouldn’t settle for just decriminalization. That being said, more people will be coming out of the shadows to talk and ask questions about entheogens. Stay informed.

Today is the first day of Ballot 110 in Oregon…. Yay!!

Have something you want to see or hear about? Send me a message and please share the link above….

Published by EntheoNurse

C.J. Spotswood, BSN, RN-BC is a third generation male psychiatric nurse. C.J. is a board certified psychiatric-mental health Registered Nurse who works in Maine General Medical Center’s Behavioral Health Suite in the Emergency Department in Augusta, Maine and at a private drug and alcohol rehab facility. C.J. is currently enrolled at the University of Southern Maine completing his Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practioner and has been practicing in mental health and substance abuse for almost 20 years. C.J. also teaches for the University of Maine at Fort Kent as an adjunct nursing faculty. C.J. approaches nursing from a holistic perspective in his nursing practice, (having graduated from one of the 14 recognized holistic nursing schools in the nation, at the University of Maine at Augusta). C.J. has incorporated this approach and helping others achieve optimal health through addressing mind, body, spiritual, and emotional health. An entheogen is a class of psychoactive substances that induce any type of spiritual experience aimed at development or sacred use. The term entheogen is often chosen to contrast recreational use of the same drugs. Together I have incorporated my professional nursing philosophy and my belief in entheogens to become "The EntheoNurse" C.J. has been studying psychedelic use in psychiatry while in grad school and presented at the American Psychiatric Nurse Association’s National Conference in New Orleans this past October on Psychedelics in Psychiatry: Exploring the Potential Use of Psychedelics for the Improvement of Persistent and Intractable Mental Health Symptoms to a crowd of over 500+ Psychiatric Registered Nurses and Nurse Practioners. C.J. has also presented this topic at Maine General’s Grand Rounds lecture (which was their highest attended Grand Rounds ever). C.J. has also presented this past September as part of Mt. Tam Psilocybin Summit, a worldwide celebration of the myth, magic, and science of psychedelic mushrooms. Here, C.J. presented on “When Disaster Strikes: Management of Worst-Case Scenario Situations with Psilocybin Use”. Currently, C.J. is writing a research paper on the use of Psychedelics in Psychiatry and will be seeking publishing for it in the near future. C.J. recently appeared on the podcast Nursing School Struggle discussing his unique nursing background and experience. He is also active on the Psychedelics Today FB group and has a few upcoming projects focused on psychedelics and nursing that he is working on. When C.J. is not busy trailblazing nursing’s use of psychedelics, school, or work he is spending his time with his wife Magen, usually visiting local breweries, and enjoying time with his 6 year old daughter Malarie.

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