Vaccines, Marijuana, and Mushrooms
After camping with my boys at the site, I was greeted with this beautiful scene. It was great preparation for what turned out to be a week dominated by drugs!
First, I got vaccinated. Getting vaccinated was the best choice for my family’s safety. After diligently researching the pros and cons of vaccines over the past fifty years, the benefits far outweighed the risks.
During the actual vaccination process, I had this sense of pride observing the well-organized approach that was processing five thousand people per day. After last year’s embarrassing performance, I was pleased to see the US leading the world in this aspect of our COVID response, providing the vaccination option more quickly and efficiently than others.
My relationship with being American is shaped by my mother being British, and my experience living outside the US for a few years, in contrast with my deep roots in the area (e.g., my great grandmother times seven is Martha Washington). Periodically, I wonder what my life would be like if my parents had not decided to settle here, and it reminds me how much I love this country!
Next, I learned that Virginia legalized marijuana for recreational use starting July 1. I was really surprised our state was leading this charge, but generally support the movement. While I am sure there are naysayers and risks to marijuana’s general availability, it has a low capacity for addiction and toxicity. Plus, my research suggests criminalization has not been useful. I am hopeful this works out, and that some valley neighbors have success exploring it as a cash crop over time!
Finally, I got a call from a friend who has had a lot of trauma in his life. He described an amazing experience with therapeutic psilocybin – the main ingredient in magic mushrooms. If you are not familiar with psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, this TED talk by Johns Hopkins or the Fantastic Fungi movie are great primers.
The results are astonishing, and I am researching the role of psychedelics in wellness. There are articles in every national magazine and newspaper, as well as most scientific journals focused on mental health. In the past year, companies worth greater than $5B have gone public (or pre-IPO) to develop a psychedelic therapy industry. Certain compounds are in fast-track status within the FDA, and I am visiting a treatment clinic today.
Wow, the world is changing fast, and I say, “thank goodness”! Society has a lot of improvement opportunities, and standing still is not an option.
I am making great progress with project funding, and look forward to keeping the dialogue going, so please reach out.