We're a dedicated coalition of veterans from every service branch and background working to ensure that psychedelic care is accessible and affordable for all who can benefit. In 2022, we worked with the Human Rights Commission of Worcester to demand New England's second largest cities let vets grow and use their own plant medicine.
Plant medicines (also known as Entheogens) are naturally occurring plants and fungi that contain nonaddictive psychoactive molecules. They have been used by humans for their spiritual and medicinal purposes since as far back as 11,000 BC in Northern Africa and 3,000 BC in the Americas. The Nixon Administration classified entheogens as Schedule I drugs through the Federal Controlled Substances Act without scientific basis. Top Nixon Aide, John Ehrlichman, admitted that these Schedule I classifications, including cannabis, were done to purposefully criminalize Black Americans and people protesting the Vietnam War.
Containing the entheogenic compound known as mescaline, certain varieties of cacti such as San Pedro are used in legal religious ceremonies by the Native American Church. Prescribed for various ailments, including alcohol abuse, the cost of the entheogen is often reimbursed by the U.S. Indian Health Service.
Designated as a breakthrough therapy by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), psilocybin is the most commonly used entheogen in the United States. Most users who have experienced a guided psilocybin session describe it as one of the five most meaningful experiences of their lives, sometimes comparing it in significance to the birth of their first child.
Used in religious and cultural ceremonies in South America, this entheogen is brewed from several different native species to create a drink with dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI).
A West African plant used in traditional religious ceremonies for its compound, ibogaine. Often prescribed in clinics in South America, Mexico, the Netherlands, and New Zealand for substance abuse disorders, including addiction to opioids.
Countless veterans struggle with opiate addiction after being prescribed medications for traumatic injuries or turning to them to cope with other complex traumas. A recent study of 44,000 Americans found that psychedelic use is associated with a 40% reduced risk of opioid addiction.
Many veterans suffer from traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and other complicated nervous systems disorders, which plant medicines may help alleviate through their ability to generate new brain cells for users. A study by the American Academy of Neurology interviewed patients who tried psilocybin in the absence of any known cure for a related condition, cluster headaches. Five in seven reported psilocybin ended these extremely painful migraine and one in two reported a complete termination of the ailment.
Nearly 20 U.S. veterans take their own lives every day after long and miserable struggles with mental health. A 2020 meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials dating back almost two decades found that using plant medicines alongside counseling is substantially effective in treating PTSD, depression, anxiety linked to terminal illness, and social anxiety linked to autism. Other studies confirm this result, finding that plant medicine use substantially reduces psychological distress and suicidal planning and ideation.
Smoking kills one in five of our friends, family members, and neighbors, and veterans are no exception. Apart from premature deaths and quality of life implications, smoking also cost states hundreds of millions of dollars in Medicaid expenses every year. A 2017 study by Johns Hopkins medical faculty found that eight in ten smoking patients achieved were able to quit over a six month period—a 45% higher success rate than the most effective smoking cessation drug. Similarly, research suggests potential benefits for treating alcoholism.
Many veterans struggle to cope with returning to civilian society, and in this struggle can make mistakes can get them in trouble. Yet consider that a study of 25,000 U.S. inmates found that the single use of a naturalistic hallucinogens substantially reduced recidivism for people who had suffered substance use disorder. A 2022 study of 200,000 inmates corroborated these results, finding much lower rates of participation in vehicle theft and other crimes after use of plant medicine.
As grassroots veteran volunteers, we support state legislation that allows people to grow and share plant medicines amongst themselves. Because of five decades old laws against psilocybin, many veterans who could benefit from plant medicines are not familiar with them. Unfortunately, corporations are taking advantage of these old drug laws to try to “legalize” these alternatives in a way that they can charge $25,000 or more for treatment.