9/20: The 4/20 Of Magic Mushrooms?

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9/20: The 4/20 Of Magic Mushrooms?

Everyone instantly thinks something similar upon looking at the date and time of 4/20. However there is a growing movement seeking to get 9/20 the same recognition, but for magic mushrooms. Psilocybin is proving to be a potential medicine that could revolutionize mental health, it needs to be freed from its chains.

An organisation named the 920 Coalition is at the spearhead of an effort to turn September the 20th into a holiday dedicated to "magic" psilocybin mushrooms. Much like 4/20, which has become an internationally known time of day and also a date (April 20th) that is associated with cannabis, 9/20 would become a day of the year dedicated to promoting awareness around a highly misunderstood substance. Unlike 4/20 events which usually involve thousands of people meeting in public places and casually committing civil disobedience by lighting up herbal rebellion, the founder of the 920 Coalition, Nicholas Reville, has stated that 9/20 will represent an educational day of action. Reville has said that 9/20 is a good time of year to forage mushrooms, as well as being a useful time of year to organise events, as it is the beginning of the school year.

The 920 Coalition states: "The 920 Coalition organizes events around the world each year on 9/20, focused on research and the role that psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms play in our society and health care system.”

Events that occurred this year in support of the day of activism included screenings, educational meetings and presentations. The Psychedelic Society of Ireland held a film screening in a park setting in Dublin, Student for a sensible Drug Policy presented a talk in Mexico City, and Psymposia created a psychedelic story-telling event.

The Coalition bears a slogan on their website that reads “Mushrooms are medicine”, asserting the motivation of cultivating momentum within this movement. However, these words cause a schism in how western culture perceives mushrooms and the active psychotropic constituent within them, namely psilocybin.

On one hand, the Drug Enforcement agency of the United States classifies psilocybin mushrooms as a schedule 1 drug. For a substance to be placed within this category it must meet the criteria of having high potential for abuse, as well as no accepted medicinal value within the United States. As the DEA is an official government agency, one would assume they would only operate on and display accurate and up to scientific knowledge surrounding mind-altering substances.

However, numerous universities around the world have begun studying the medicinal potential of psilocybin mushrooms. Reville told Vice that this research was a primary motivation in catalyzing the 9/20 movement.

One such study was conducted at Imperial College London in the United Kingdom. A paper titled “Psilocybin with psychological support for treatment-resistant depression: an open-label feasibility study”, documents the study which found psilocybin could potentially be used as a safe and effective medicine for treatment-resistant depression. The authors of the study also state: “Recent studies have assessed the therapeutic potential of psilocybin for various conditions, including end-of-life anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, smoking and alcohol dependence, with promising preliminary results.”

Additionally, a paper published within the Journal Of The Royal Society Interface titled “Homological scaffolds of brain functional networks” documents a study that found psilocybin increased brain activity and connectivity. The authors state: “The results show that the homological structure of the brain’s functional patterns undergoes a dramatic change post-psilocybin, characterized by the appearance of many transient structures of low stability and of a small number of persistent ones that are not observed in the case of placebo.” Commenting of this study, Mitul Mehta of King’s College London stated: “Through studies such as these we can really begin to tackle the questions of how we achieve coherent experiences of ourselves in the world around us, and understand what makes this break down.”

Further scientific analysis has even identified that psilocybin mushrooms may cause long term positive personality changes in individuals.

Research such as this completely contradicts the empty and invalid claims made by authoritative organisations such as the DEA. Scheduling psilocybin as a schedule 1 substance, claiming it has zero medicinal value and therefore restricting further research is acting against science and could even be called criminal activity.

For these reasons it is of optimum importance that movements such as the 9/20 coalition really take off, as a means of spreading awareness among the population and revealing the true nature of this medicine, which flies in the face of the current cultural narrative.