According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as of March 2020, more than 750,000 people have died since 1999 from a drug overdose. Two out of three drug overdose deaths in 2018 involved an opioid. Opioids are substances that work in the nervous system of the body or in specific receptors in the brain to reduce the intensity of pain. Overdose deaths involving opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetic opioids (like fentanyl), have increased almost six times since 1999. Overdoses involving opioids killed nearly 47,000 people in 2018, and 32% of those deaths involved prescription opioids. (https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/index.html)
It sounds a bit scary that the over-the-counter medications that we take are being listed on the CDC’s website in the same category as heroin.This is a part of why Pekoe exists: to offer an alternative to heavy prescription drugs that could ultimately do more harm than good.
As we explore more ways to manage pain and to treat symptoms from the source we began our search, not by trying to find a contemporary synthetic alternative, but by rediscovering ancient traditions that once connected people to their bodies and the natural world in a healthy way.
Enter: psychedelic mushrooms. People often associate them with bell bottom pants, peace and love, hippies, and the 70’s but this entheogenic plant (entheogenic meaning “to come into being” or “to inspire or generate one’s own divinity”) has a much deeper history than that.
A handful of cities are already voting to decriminalize the use of psychedelic mushrooms. Since 2019 Ann Arbor has joined other cities like Denver, Oakland, and Santa Cruz to bring psilocybin therapy to the forefront of the fight against depression, with the FDA calling psilocybin therapy a “breakthrough therapy”. What is psilocybin, you ask? Psilocybin is the non-addictive naturally-occurring psychoactive component in “magic mushrooms”. It basically puts the “magic” in “magic mushrooms”.
Mushrooms are not the only entheogenic plants with healing qualities. There are many plants all over the world that have these restorative properties including: Peyote native to Mexico and southwestern Texas, Ibogaine native to West Africa, and Ayahuasca native to the Amazon. All are plants that have been used for their medicinal qualities by the indigenous people of their area.
We are discovering the greater uses of these plants for the first time but there are many studies done alongside indigenous peoples all around the world that have proven the benefits of entheogenic plants.
If the purpose of medicine is to help heal the body of disease we owe it to ourselves and those we care about to seek out medicines that do not cause more damage than they prevent.
To learn more about the natural healing properties of entheogenic plants please visit https://www.decriminalizenature.org/