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Denver could soon become the first US city to decriminalize ‘magic’ mushrooms

Denver could soon become the first US city to decriminalize ‘magic’ mushrooms

  • On May 7, Denver, Colorado, residents will vote on whether to decriminalize psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in “magic” mushrooms.
  • Decriminalizing the illegal substance could help keep families together and encourage more research on psilocybin’s medical uses, Kevin Matthews, the Decriminalize Denver campaign director, told INSIDER.
  • In a phone poll of 172 Denver residents, 45% said they support decriminalizing psilocybin.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.

On May 7, Denver, Colorado, residents will decide whether the city will be the first in the United States to decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms. Residents will vote on whether to eliminate the possibility of felony charges for people found possessing the substance.

Kevin Matthews, the campaign director of Decriminalize Denver, the initiative spearheading local decriminalization efforts, told NBC 9 in January that his team collected 8,000 signatures to advance the measure to the May ballot. In Denver, 4,279 signatures are needed to move a measure along, and the city’s elections office has 25 days to verify the signatures.

Psilocybin is currently a Schedule 1 drug in the US, meaning it is considered to have has no medical use and a high potential for abuse. As a result of this, psilocybin is largely unavailable in the country and is illegal to possess. Decriminalization of the substance in Denver means psilocybin would remain illegal, but people 21 and over who possess it would have a lower likelihood of being arrested and put in jail.

Psilocybin decriminalization could protect families and encourage research

If passed, the policy would make anyone 21 or older who possesses psilocybin the “lowest law enforcement priority,” NBC 9 reported.

According to Matthews, the measure could keep more families together. “The main reason we are doing this is to keep people out of prison,” Matthews told INSIDER. “[We] don’t want to have people lose their children, and we believe it’s the best and necessary first step to reintegrate psilocybin back into society and encourage more research as well.”

Psilocybin research has been limited in the US, but some preliminary studies have found that the psychedelic drug has the potential to treat anxiety and depression.

In one 2016 study, researchers at Johns Hopkins University gave 29 cancer patients magic mushrooms in combination with psychotherapy sessions to help with depression and anxiety they reported as a result of their diagnoses. The patients who recieved psilocybin reported immediate reductions in anxiety and depression.

Matthews told INSIDER that a vote for psilocybin decriminalization could spur more research on the drug’s potential medical uses. Through campaigning, he has spoken with many proponents of the substance who said psilocybin has helped them with depression, cluster headaches, and anxiety. Matthews also told NBC 9 that psilocybin has helped him with his own depression.

Read more: A team of Johns Hopkins researchers is calling for magic mushrooms to be made legally available as medicine

In a phone poll of 172 Denver residents that his team conducted, 45% said they were in favor of decriminalization.

“We need people to come out of the psychedelic closet and share their experiences,” Matthews said. “There is a deep cultural misunderstanding of psilocybin and what it does.”

While growing psilocybin at home will remain illegal in Denver even if decriminalization passes, residents cultivating small amounts won’t have to worry quite as much about being sent off to jail, according to Matthews.

He said that his team wants to create a “healthy relationship” with the city, so the decriminalization plan includes creating a panel of attorneys, health professionals, police, and city council members who can evaluate whether Decriminalize Denver’s efforts help keep families together and free up government funds that are typically used to prosecute people in possession of psilocybin.

Peter Kotecki contributed to a previous version of this story.

Read more:

Winter Makeup Essentials for Dull, Dry Skin

Winter Makeup Essentials for Dull, Dry Skin

Winter has come (*wink* *wink*) and our skin is truly feeling it. Can you relate? The cold temperatures in the Berkshires have the tendency to make our skin dry, dull and even flaky. Luckily, our fearless leader, Jane has some recommendations for products that will help hydrate, brighten and nourish your skin. Check out her winter beauty essentials below.

Feed Your Dry Winter Skin

The body is wise and feeds our vital organs nutrients first. Unfortunately for our skin, that is the last place our body feeds so it is important to include nutritional supplements as part of your holistic skin care routine. The Skin Omegas supplement, supplied by Advanced Nutrition Programme, is made from premium, highly purified omega-3 fish oil and omega-6 from evening primrose oil to deeply nourish and hydrate the skin. The fatty acids also help to maintain skin integrity and a healthy lipid layer to lock moisture in. Skin Omegas has the added benefit of vitamin A, a  wonderful skin-loving antioxidant.

” I use Skin Omegas as an internal moisturizer,” says Jane. “I find it essential in combating winter’s dryness.”

We recommend pairing two capsules per day with food to help maintain your skin’s hydration and for a smooth, luminous complexion.

skin omegas skincare supplements

Fortify & Hydrate Dry Winter Skin

For an intense boost of hydration and gorgeous, glowing skin try BeautyPrep Hyaluronic Serum. It’s a lightweight, non-greasy serum packed with nourishing marine ingredients, soothing botanicals and powerhouse ingredient hyaluronic acid, which can work wonders to rejuvenate and hydrate the skin.  After cleansing and toning your face, apply one or two pumps to your face, neck and décolleté, morning or night.

BeautyPrep Hyaluronic Serum

Brighten Your Skin & Your Day

For a little color and a radiant complexion, Jane turns to three winter makeup essentials.

Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder

Nearly 25 years ago, Jane developed Amazing Base Loose Mineral Powder— our very first product— and it has been essential for people with dull, dry skin ever since. Amazing Base is an airy mineral foundation, and gives the skin a luminous, sheer to medium coverage. It also provides broad spectrum sun protection, which we still need in winter! Layer it on top of our hyaluronic acid foundation Liquid Minerals for extra hydration benefits or for more full coverage.

Amazing Base

Related Post

13 startups that make daily rituals like brushing your teeth and taking vitamins more enjoyable

13 startups that make daily rituals like brushing your teeth and taking vitamins more enjoyable

Insider Picks writes about products and services to help you navigate when shopping online. Insider Inc. receives a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through our links, but our reporting and recommendations are always independent and objective.

dripkit coffee 2

Dripkit Coffee
  • The comfort and consistency of rituals bring us back down to earth.
  • They take many different forms, from putting on a favorite record to shaving.
  • Online startups are adept at selling the entire experience of these beloved rituals. At the center is a product that solves daily problems while providing a respite from the stresses of life.
  • We took a look at startups you already know, like Casper, along with ones that may be unfamiliar, like Dripkit, to illustrate how companies are using the comfort of rituals as a selling point.

Rituals are an important part of daily life. In the midst of what can often feel like a rollercoaster of work and personal obligations, they allow you to hop off for a brief moment, take a breather, and regain a sense of stability.

Even something as innocuous as making a cup of coffee or watering a house plant can improve your mental wellness. It may seem like you’re simply going through the motions, but it’s exactly those repetitive movements and consistent practices that provide the all-too-needed comforts of familiarity.

Everyone’s rituals look different (mine include writing in my journal, winding down every night with music and a book, and going to my favorite bagel shop every Sunday) and take various forms, from skincare to cooking.

Online startups across a variety of categories are great at tapping into this love for consistency and comfort, selling not a product, but the entire experience of owning it, using it, and making it part of a recurring ritual. They hope to be there for you as one of the constants in your life.

Learn how these 13 startups are selling the experience of a daily ritual:

Sleeping: Casper


Shop mattresses and more at Casper here

Getting ready for bed is a universal ritual enjoyed by all – we’ve met few people who don’t look forward to climbing into bed each night. For the last few years, Casper has been making the process inviting with its supportive, comfortable mattresses, but a recent new product, the Glow Light ($89), is intended to get you to dreamland even faster. The adjustable light will help your body wind down at night and wake up gently in the morning, while the ambient light sensor turns it into a portable night light.

Brushing your teeth: Quip


Shop electric toothbrushes at Quip here

We hope you’re brushing your teeth twice a day. If the idea doesn’t enthuse you, Quip is a startup that might inspire you to concentrate on and enjoy your teeth-brushing habit more. Its sleek, American Dental Association-approved brushes are easy to use, can mount to your wall or mirror, and have replaceable brush heads available through a subscription. They come in a variety of colors and sets so you can get your loved ones in on two minutes of blissful respite at a time.

Washing your face: Panacea


Shop skin care at Panacea here

When you say “skin-care ritual,” I imagine you must mean a routine that involves no less than eight products and perhaps a song and dance thrown in there, too. While I appreciate that these long rituals have their own pros, some might consider them excessive, and will more realistically be drawn to companies like Panacea. Panacea’s three-step kit consisting of a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen will get you out the door in five minutes, but your skin will still feel nourished and pampered because they’re made with clean, lightweight formulas.

Taking your vitamins: Ritual


Shop multivitamins at Ritual here

This growing vitamin startup has “ritual” right in its name and makes taking your daily multivitamin the most simple it’s ever been. The Ritual vitamin contains nine essential nutrients that women most commonly lack in their diets and costs $30 for a month-long supply, encouraging you to clean out your vitamin cabinet for good.

Relaxing through scent: Vitruvi


Shop Vitruvi essential oils and diffusers at Amazon and Nordstrom here

Fragrance is a highly effective way to set the mood of your surroundings, and startup Vitruvi is the new brand of choice for anyone looking to create a soothing atmosphere. Breathe in its delightful essential oils, which include grapefruit, eucalyptus, and peppermint, and you’ll be transported to a place far, far away from your stresses. To fill your entire room with the scent, get its elegant ceramic diffuser, and make a habit of using it often.

Staying active: Fitbit


Shop Fitbit fitness trackers at Amazon, Target, and Best Buy here

Running one long and exhausting burst of a couple dozen miles is ultimately less effective and helpful than splitting up that mileage over a period of multiple days. A Fitbit fitness tracker motivates you to get up each day and continue your running streak by recording your activity and sending reminders to keep it up. Even if you’re not a runner, it’ll tell you to leave your office chair and take a stroll outside. Before long, you’ll look forward to these daily walks or runs and see them as a welcome break.

Caring for a plant: The Sill

The Sill

Shop indoor plants at The Sill here

Can’t commit to a human being or animal? Plant parenting is on the rise for a number of reasons, but one is that it allows for the satisfaction of caring for a live being – just without the huge cost or commitment. You can shop all types of beautiful, mood-lifting house plants at The Sill, which will ship them to your door and show you how to keep them alive. Checking up on your succulents or snake plant and watching them thrive may just become the highlight of each day.

Shaving: Harry’s


Shop shaving products at Harry’s here

Whether you shave daily, weekly, or monthly, it’s a ritual that you don’t necessarily enjoy, but it has to be done anyways. Ineffective tools and high costs prevent us from fully embracing this common ritual, but grooming brand Harry’s solves both with its super sharp blades and affordable kits. To make sure you’re never caught with a dull blade, it also offers subscriptions. On the women’s side, its new brand Flamingo sells the same ideals of affordable quality.

Listening to music: Vnyl


Shop vinyl records and players at Vnyl here

While headphones plugged in during a commute or at work often translate to idle listening, sliding a record out of its sleeve and placing it carefully on the player signals intent and full commitment to the music-listening experience. Vnyl, a record subscription service and maker of the Trntbl smart record player, personalizes the music discovery process by sending you records based on your music profile and preferences. The event of listening to a new vinyl becomes more exciting because it’s almost certain you’ll love it.

Drying off: Weezie


Shop towels at Weezie here

Hair wrapped in a towel as you get ready for a night out. Falling asleep in a large towel post-shower. Wiping off makeup, dirt, and grime after a long day. If you experience any of these scenarios regularly, you’ll love the luxe towels from Weezie. You can add custom embroidery (and you have many more stylish options than other custom services) so your rituals feel even more personal and enjoyable, but even by themselves, the towels are wonderfully soft, fluffy, and absorbent.

Enjoying a meal: Year & Day

Year & Day/Instagram

Shop dinnerware at Year & Day here

Don’t buy nice table settings and save them only for special occasions. Year & Day wants you to use its European ceramics for everything from canapés to greasy diner leftovers – and trust us, these sturdy, simple, and beautiful pieces of dinnerware make a difference in how you enjoy any type of food. The startup shows customers how each bite and sip, no matter the event, matters – and its plates, glasses, serving tools, and utensils will help you appreciate that.

Taking your dog for a walk: Wild One

Wild One/Instagram

Shop pet accessories at Wild One here

Taking your dog out for a walk every day takes a toll on its leash and collar, so you want ones that are tough and durable, but also comfortable for your dog. Both owner and pet enjoy the walks taken with Wild One’s Walk Kit ($105), which contains a collar or harness, leash, and poop bag carrier. They’re made from non-toxic materials and importantly, are stain-, odor-, and dirt-resistant, so your pet can continue exploring the great outdoors without being held back.

Drinking coffee: Dripkit

Dripkit Coffee

Shop coffee at Dripkit here

One of the most revered rituals of all time, making and drinking coffee is an instrumental part of many people’s days, but is prone to falling by the wayside when traveling. Dripkit lets you savor a fresh cup of pour over coffee anywhere, anytime, with its single-serve packets that reduce prep and clean-up. All you need is water to make this coffee that tastes consistently great. On the site, you can shop individual bags or gift subscriptions.

4 ways you could increase your chances of having an orgasm

4 ways you could increase your chances of having an orgasm

Hollywood sex scenes make having an orgasm seem like a breeze when, in reality, it's not.

Hollywood sex scenes make having an orgasm seem like a breeze when, in reality, it’s not.
CBS Television Distribution

Hollywood sex scenes make having an orgasm seem like a breeze but, in reality, consistently reaching climax during sex can be difficult – if not impossible – for some.

A 2015 Cosmopolitan survey of 2,300 women between the ages of 18 and 40 found that only 57% of women reported having orgasms “most or every time” they had sex with a partner. Additionally, 27% of those surveyed said they faked an orgasm in order to end the sex because they knew they weren’t going to orgasm.

Although there is no perfect equation for achieving an orgasm during sex, there are ways to increase your likelihood of climaxing. “Generally, an inability to orgasm tends to be due to a lack of clitoral stimulation, inhibitors like anxiety and body image, or lack of self-esteem,” sex and relationship therapist Ian Kerner told INSIDER. Confronting those roadblocks, however, could lead to a more satisfying sex life filled with orgasms.

Here are four ways you could increase your chances of orgasming during sex.

Ask for more clitoral stimulation

For many people, vaginal stimulation isn’t enough to reach orgasm. Only 15% of Cosmopolitan’s sex survey respondents said they were able to orgasm through vaginal stimulation alone, while 20% said they needed both clitoral and vaginal stimulation, 12% needed oral sex, and 9% needed their partner’s hand to reach orgasm.

For many people, vaginal stimulation isn't enough to reach orgasm.

For many people, vaginal stimulation isn’t enough to reach orgasm.
trumzz/ iStock

According to Kerner, “a lot of women say they don’t get enough arousal through foreplay,” so incorporating clitoral stimulation, one form of foreplay, may help.

In an interview with Health magazine, Debra Herbenick, PhD, a sexual health educator from the Kinsey Institute, said the outer part of the clitoris known as the glans has about 8,000 nerve endings (twice as many as the penis), so stimulating that area can lead to large amounts of pleasurable sensations.

Take your meditation practice inside the bedroom

The brain is often overlooked when it comes to its sexual function, but according to Kerner, it plays just as important a role as the genitals. “Some women find that it’s hard to turn off stress, anxiety, or that part of themselves that is worried about stuff,” he said. If you catch your mind wandering during sex, it could be a sign you need to exercise mindfulness in the bedroom.

Read more: Young adults are having less sex than previous generations, and people are blaming everything from bad sex to straight people

Bedroom mindfulness doesn’t happen overnight, but with practice, it can help a person zone in on the moment. To do this, Kerner recommended focusing on each body sensation you feel during foreplay and sex, and touching your partner to feel more grounded.

Try role-playing to distract yourself

If you still have trouble staying in the moment, Kerner said adding unexpected elements could help distract you from your racing thoughts.

“Role-playing, sharing a fantasy, or engaging in kinky behavior is something some people find really enjoyable and they often lose themselves in these face-to-face interactions,” he said.

Read more: Being dehydrated can lower your libido and even make sex painful – here’s why

Even if you’re not ready to act out your fantasies with your partner, Kerner said simply describing the fantasies to each other can be enough to get you out of your mind and focused on reaching orgasm.

Give yourself compliments

Another way to feel more present during sex is to be comfortable in your own body. Giving yourself little compliments can boost your self-confidence and make your time in the bedroom more carefree.

A 2016 study in Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology found that women who had higher self-esteem also had more frequent orgasms. Your self-love meter won’t raise overnight, but practicing appreciation for yourself and your body can help your feel more excited about sex over time.

Above all else, communicate with your partner

“Turn your partner into an ally rather than struggle with desperation,” Kerner said.

Kerner said the best thing you can do to enjoy sex and increase your chance of orgasming is to communicate openly and often with your partner. “Turn your partner into an ally rather than struggle with desperation hoping they’ll guess [what you want],” Kerner said. That could mean sharing a sex-related insecurity, explaining something they did previously that you didn’t like, or describing something you do like.

“If you can lead with vulnerability instead of fear or anxiety people can respond to that positively,” Kerner said.

If you find yourself dealing with body dysmorphia or other serious body-image issues, however, Kerner said talking with a therapist is the best option, as they have professional training and experience in dealing with these issues.

Breast implant manufacturer Allergan just recalled one type of implant after hundreds of Americans developed a rare cancer linked to the devices

Breast implant manufacturer Allergan just recalled one type of implant after hundreds of Americans developed a rare cancer linked to the devices

In a new letter to healthcare providers, the FDA said it wants to raise awareness of a rare cancer that's associated with breast implants.

In a new letter to healthcare providers, the FDA said it wants to raise awareness of a rare cancer that’s associated with breast implants.
  • On Wednesday, breast implant manufacturer Allergan recalled its BIOCELL textured breast implants after the FDA requested the company do so.
  • In February 2019, the FDA published a letter to doctors about a type of cancer linked to breast implants called breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL.
  • The FDA wants to raise awareness of the cancer, even though it’s very rare. It’s estimated to occur in one in 3,817 patients to one in 30,000 patients.
  • A doctor told INSIDER people with implants should report any concerning changes to their doctors.

On Wednesday, breast implant manufacturer Allergan removed its BIOCELL textured breast implants from the market after the Food & Drug Administration requested the manufacturer do so for safety reasons.

“Based on new data, our team concluded that action is necessary at this time to protect the public health,” FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy Abernethy said in a press release.

The request came after U.S. health officials urged doctors to stay on the lookout for breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma, or BIA-ALCL, a rare form of cancer that’s been linked to Allergan’s textured breast implants.

In a letter to healthcare providers published in February 2019, the FDA said it wanted to increase awareness of BIA-ALCL, which the administration first reported was linked to implants in 2011. Since then, more research has been published on this link, the letter said.

As of September 2018, the FDA has received 457 unique reports of BIA-ALCL, including nine deaths “which may be attributable” to the cancer, the letter added. It also called for doctors to report any cases of the condition to the FDA.

“Though the number of identified cases of BIA-ALCL is small compared to the estimated 1.5 million patients who receive breast implants worldwide every year, confirmed data … suggests that patients with breast implants have an increased risk of BIA-ALCL,” the letter said.

Right now, there’s still a lot of information that experts don’t know about BIA-ALCL, breast surgeon Dr. Deanna Attai, assistant clinical professor of surgery at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, told INSIDER.

But the FDA’s call to raise awareness and report cases of the condition could help.

“If they can get these cases reported, then maybe we can start understanding which patients are actually at risk… what’s the history of the disease and the outcome of the disease, and just make sure that patients and physicians are attuned to this potential issue.”

INSIDER spoke with Attai and with Dr. Elizabeth Min Hui Kim, surgical oncology director at Cancer Treatment Centers of America’s Breast Cancer Institute, to learn more about the condition. Here’s what you should know.

BIA-ALCL generally develops in the ‘capsule’ surrounding an implant

There's not enough evidence to know exactly why BIA-ALCL develops.

There’s not enough evidence to know exactly why BIA-ALCL develops.

BIA-ALCL is a type of lymphoma, not breast cancer, meaning it affects white blood cells of the immune system, Kim explained. Generally, the cancer is found in the “capsule” that develops around an implant, according to the FDA.

“Normally, our body doesn’t have capsules, but when the implant is placed, then the body produces this fibrous-like tissue layer around the implant, and that layer is called a capsule,” Kim said.

The FDA letter noted that the majority of people who’ve gotten BIA-ALCL had textured breast implants versus smooth ones. Textured implants develop scar tissue that makes them less likely to move around inside the breast, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Attai described their surface as being “pebbly” or “sandpapery.”

But some cases have been reported in people with smooth implants, too.

For now, Kim said, there’s still not enough evidence to know exactly why BIA-ALCL develops.

It’s very rare and seems to be ‘readily treatable’ when caught early

Both Kim and Attai said that BIA-ALCL is very rare. Currently, research estimates that the incidence of BIA-ALCL in people with implants can vary widely, from one in 3,817 patients to one in 30,000 patients, the FDA letter said.

Attai added that, based on reports that have been published in the last few years, this form of lymphoma appears to be “readily treatable” when it’s detected early.

It can show up years after implant surgery and the symptoms might include swelling

Some pain and swelling are expected immediately following a breast implant surgery, the FDA notes on its website.

But in most cases of BIA-ALCL, patients developed symptoms like pain, lumps, swelling, or breast asymmetry after they were fully healed from implant surgery, according to the FDA’s letter. In fact, the symptoms usually show up years after the surgery, Attai said.

Read more: 11 subtle signs you might have cancer

“It does seem that the majority of the cases …present with a relatively sudden onset of what’s called a seroma, which is a fluid collection,” she added. “Basically, what the patient would notice is all of a sudden one side gets fairly swollen, [and] maybe painful.”

People who have breast implants should ‘be vigilant’ about any changes

Breast augmentation is a common cosmetic surgery.

Breast augmentation is a common cosmetic surgery.
pruit phatsrivong/Shutterstock

Breast augmentation is the most popular cosmetic plastic surgery performed in the US, according to data from the ASPS. Breast implants can be used in other contexts, too, including augmentation surgeries for transgender people and reconstruction for breast cancer patients.

Kim suggested that people with implants reach out to their physicians to get information on BIA-ALCL. She also said people newly diagnosed with breast cancer should ask doctors about surgical breast reconstruction methods that use a patient’s own tissue, rather than implants.

“[This is] a potential concern, but I think it stresses the importance of long-term follow up whether you had your implants for breast cancer reconstruction or for cosmetic purposes,” Attai said. “We don’t have enough information to really make solid recommendations for an individual patient, except be vigilant and report any changes.”

Caroline Praderio contributed to an earlier version of this story.

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