The use of hallucinogens, such as magic mushrooms dates back to several centuries. The Neolithic cave painting found in the Sahara which is estimated to have been in existence since 7000BC is an ancient evidence of this. Many countries like Canada and the United States consider the possession of magic mushroom illegal, in fact, the government of the United Kingdom in 2005 made laws which declared it illegal. Hence possession of it could attract up to seven years imprisonment, and selling it could attract a life sentence.
In Hopkins University, research was carried out into the effects of the hallucinogen, and volunteers were made to take the mushroom. After 14 months, most of them said they felt better because of the effect of the magic mushroom, and two-third of the volunteers said they had the most significant spiritual experience ever because of the substance.
I think governments need to reevaluate their stance on the use of hallucinogens, as it is seen to have different effects on different people. Maybe the intake of the substance should be controlled to make sure that it is not abused.
Bruce Parry and his tour of different tribes
In the year 2005, the BBC televised a tour which Bruce Parry undertook around the world to observe many tribes still living very much according to their traditional culture in different countries. The tour was aired as “Tribe,” and in the US, it was later televised under the name, Going Tribal.
Parry spent a period of one month each with tribes in Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, Mongolia, Gabon, Brazil, and India, during which he fraternized with them and learned as many of their cultures as he could, and focused so much on learning about their spiritual beliefs. One of the tribes Parry lived with, the Sanema tribe, who live on the border of Venezuela and Brazil, believes that in the world of dreams, they are surrounded by spirits which dwell in the rocks, waters, animals, trees and other things around them. Most of their men are shamans. Under the guidance of a shaman, Parry was initiated into the fold and was made to drink Sakona, a hallucinogen made from extracts of Virola tree.
Perry later revealed his stance on drugs and hallucinogens when Sam Wollaston interviewed him for Guardian newspaper. He was quoted to have said that he does not support the intake of drugs or poisonous substances, but that he learned from his experience with hallucinogens. He claimed to have had deep revelations which drew him very much closer to nature, made him realize himself in a new dimension and made him begin to appreciate the world around him the more.
Parry’s search continues as he journeys to Amazon from Andres in the new two episodes of Tribe.
British Government Clamps Down on Use of Magic Mushroom
In January 2005, Len Cook, the British National Statistician was summoned to the House of Commons where he gave the statistics that one death only was recorded as a result of the use of magic mushroom, as compared to 582 and 5,737 deaths recorded as a result of abuse of crack/cocaine, and morphine/heroin respectively, in England.
That year, the British government made some amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, which illegalized magic mushroom, and made its consumption a criminal offense of the A-Class. Ironically, Cigarettes, which are poisonous, and causes over a million deaths per decade remains legal.
Also, despite the increased rate of alcohol-related health complexities, in the same year 2005, the British government made the alcohol liberal, thereby allowing vendors and liquor stores to operate for 24 hours.
Some critics expressed their grievance in an article published by BBC. They questioned the rationale behind the ban on the mushroom, since it has no bad effect on healthy people, and affects only those with mental health challenges.
One of the critics of the government’s policy, Chris Bovey, the CEO of Potseeds, an Online Retail Shop was quoted to have said that magic mushroom has about the same effect on people with mental illness, such as schizophrenia, as alcohol does.
The Magic Mushroom Experiences
Three different experiences are associated with the consumption of magic mushroom.
- Some people consume it once and never try it again because they do not like the experience.
- Some people get to abuse it by taking it constantly that it begins to affect their minds. This hardly happens with magic mushrooms; it happens more with some stronger types of hallucinogens such as LSD.
- The larger numbers of people who take magic mushroom get to love the experience, as it makes them have a new self-realization and enlightenment.
Feedback gotten from participants at the John Hopkins experiment has it that after a period of fourteen months, 64% of the subjects still felt the positive effect of magic mushroom, regarding general well-being, increased self-esteem, and creativity. 61% of the volunteers said they still felt some positive attitudinal change since the experience.
Just like other substances, hallucinogens can be slightly risky, but with controlled intake and enough enlightenment, people will get to experience their positive effects just as Bruce Parry did in his tours.
According to Parry, one of the effects of his journeys and experiences is that it made him have an open mind, and begin to explore other religious beliefs different from the Christian religion which he was born into. He has fast begun a search for other truths and has started to question the things people believe in ordinarily. He has also picked interest in new fields such as cosmology, genetics, the myths of creation and astrophysics amongst others.