Yesterday, CNN reported on Denver’s progress decriminalizing magic mushrooms. First and foremost, it’s encouraging to see CNN covering this story and highlighting its importance.
However, this article, like many, illustrates a continued need for the mainstream media to educate themselves about psychedelics, specifically magic mushrooms and psilocybin. See Three Key Points for Journalists Reporting on Magic Mushrooms.
The CNN article, written by Mallory Hughes and Jacqueline Howard, reported:
“The group claims psilocybin, a naturally occurring fungi, can reduce psychological stress, reduce opioid use and remain non-addictive.”
The potential for these benefits is real. We applaud Ms. Hughes and Ms. Howard for increasing awareness for that potential. But, psilocybin is not “a naturally occurring fungi.” Rather psilocybin is one active component found within a collection of naturally occurring fungi.
For an uninformed person, this may seem like a trivial or technical linguistic mistake. However, the distinction between (a) magic mushrooms and (b) the several active molecules found within mushrooms is important. Journalists have recently learned this lesson with cannabis, which (like magic mushrooms) provides a cocktail of active molecules, which work together to provide the effects experienced by the user.
If you are a reporter and would like to discuss any of the above points (or other particulars about the science and vocabulary associated with magic mushrooms), please feel free to contact us. We are dedicated to supporting and propagating good, scientifically valid information in this area.