Minnesota is gearing up to be the next state to legalize select psychedelics for medical use. Back in May, Governor Tim Waltz signed two large-scale drug-related bills – one that would create safe drug consumption sites throughout the state, and another that establishes a psychedelics task force that would prepare the state for a possible future legalization.
The task force is made up of 23 members including a handful of veterans, one named Stephan Egan who claims that psychedelics helped him deal with treatment-resistant PTSD and depression. After five combat tours, Egan stated that he felt a lot of anger, frustration, and faced many challenges reassimilating into society. After he began experimenting with magic mushrooms, he felt almost immediately noticeable changes.
“I’m not going to say that my life immediately got better after I took those, you know, that psilocybin,” Egan said. “But I will say I had the opportunity to make my life better because of that experience.” But he says he knows seven former veterans who died by suicide in recent months. “And had they had the ability or the opportunity to experience access to that medicine?” he wondered. “Things could have been different. It’s totally possible.”
Also on the board is Dr. Ranji Varghese, who has been treating a small group of patients with ketamine at his clinic in Eden Prairie. According to Varghese, “Classic antidepressants are lifesavers, but they don’t release the unconscious. Therapy can, but slowly. Psychedelics have a rapid anti-depressant effect and give patients the freedom to address root issues. “It’s going to be a catalyst to allow these fixed and rigid ways of thinking to dissolve temporarily so that unconscious material can sort of bubble up to the surface.”
Added that, “It has a powerful way of inducing something called neuroplasticity which is the brain’s ability for change, and if we can strike while the iron is hot we can perhaps motivate those patients while this plasticity is occurring to engage in behaviors that are pro-social, that are anti-depressant, to basically hardwire the brain into these new ways and patterns and behaviors.”
Other members of the task force include officials and experts, including the governor or a designee, the health commissioner, the state attorney general or a designee, two tribal representatives, people with expertise in substance misuse treatment, public health policy experts, and more.
It seems like Minnesota will be the third state to legalize psychedelics, check back for more updates as soon as they become available!
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