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As psychedelic mushrooms-lovers enjoy first Denver Shroom Fest, psilocybin therapy still unregulated

Shroom-lovers enjoy first Denver Shroom Fest as psilocybin therapy still unregulated
Shroom-lovers enjoy first Denver Shroom Fest as psilocybin therapy still unregulated 02:59

As lovers of magic mushrooms gathered to celebrate recreational use at the first-ever Denver Shroom Fest in RiNo Sunday, questions arise about the safety of the mushrooms' as-of-now still unregulated therapeutic uses.


"I'd be underground, yeah, I would have definitely ate a bullet," said Marine veteran Troy Leonard.

After leaving the Marines, Leonard struggled with PTSD.

"Just started noticing something was different about me, couldn't remember anything, was angry," said Leonard.

But when a friend suggested microdosing psychedelic mushrooms, his life changed.

"180-degree difference, like all my relationships with friends and family just got amazing. Stopped being angry, stopped having troubles," said Leonard.

It's why Leonard pushed for the mushrooms' decriminalization. When voters said yes, he founded "Valor Minds" with other veterans.
The group sells non-psychedelic tinctures and gives away psilocybin microdoses to anyone over 21 who is struggling.

"We just give it to them and kinda explain how to do it and just watch them. It went from veterans to first responders to really anybody with PTSD. I had a lot of friends that had a lot of trauma in their life, and I was like, this isn't the magical pill, but you can try it. And it's been the success story for many people," said Leonard.

While Proposition 122 decriminalized the use of the mushrooms, the sale is still illegal, and there's currently no official training, guidelines, or certification to practice psilocybin therapy.

It leaves clinics like HCU Mushrooms to come up with their own safety standards.

"We test the psilocybin separately, we grind it into a powder," said Martha Montemayor, certified nutritional consultant for HCU Mushrooms.

"We're a medicinal microdose clinic, so we're a private member association. It's like joining the Costco of mushrooms, then you get measured dose medicines that were designed by me," said Montemayor.

Montemayor has taken a "Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies" training on the therapeutic use of the mushrooms.
"We do have a doctor visit involved and we are a true medical clinic," said Montemayor.

Others use the mushrooms for fun.

"I'm a fan of psychedelics!" said Jonathan Cherkoss, co-founder of Denver Shroom Fest.

"Guy likes mushrooms!" agreed co-founder Eric Burden.

Denver Shroom Fest's founders say the decriminalization has led to safer access for all users.

"The mushroom itself hasn't changed, just the accessibility, the information, the testing. Harm reduction follows all those things," said Burden.

By the end of the year, Colorado will adopt rules to establish qualifications and training requirements for natural medicine facilitators and begin reviewing applications.

Both Valor Minds and HCU Mushrooms will seek a license. Montemayor is already involved in safety research.

"I am super excited to do more studies on microdose psilocybin and really establish Colorado as a center for responsible use," said Montemayor.

While the state develops regulations, Denver's Department of Excise and License has formed their own workgroup to explore what policy and licensing laws should look like in the city.

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