Military veterans trying to overcome the horrors of war are increasingly finding themselves in an unlikely position — persuading Republican politicians to legalize the healing power of ancient psychedelic plants.
DailyMail.com spoke with former Marines, Navy Seals and others left traumatized by America’s brutal campaigns overseas who have turned to psilocybin mushrooms and other natural drugs to help fight their inner demons.
But no red state has yet followed suit.
That’s changing this year, with veterans in conservative states like Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma pushing Republican politicians to back legalizing drugs that have for decades been tied to hippy counterculture.
They reframe hallucinogens like psilocybin, Ayahuasca, DMT, and ibogaine, and to a lesser extent MDMA, or ecstasy, and ketamine, as medicines — not the trip-inducing drugs beloved by recent generations of thrill-seekers.
‘You don’t want people looking at you, like you’re off believing in fairy tales and magic shaman potions,’ William Wisner, a 16-year veteran Army cavalry scout, from Missouri, told DailyMail.com.
‘There’s definite reluctance on how people will view that.’
Wisner is campaigning for Missouri to let veterans and others suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), treatment-resistant depression or a terminal illness, access psilocybin in clinics and care homes.
It would follow Oregon, which in January became the first US state to legalize adult use of the naturally occurring psychedelic, which has shown significant promise for treating severe depression and other mental health conditions.
Wisner, who hails from the ‘extremely conservative’ Ozark Mountains, says it’s a challenge in a state that’s backed a Republican in every presidential vote since 2000 and favored Donald Trump by a 15-percentage point margin in 2020.
‘The best way to really do this is to just share your own experience in a very blunt, direct way. Lay the cards out on the table,’ said the 48-year-old, who served from 1992 to 2008.
Wisner says he inhaled toxins from weapons systems in South Korea and guarded a disused nuclear site in Iraq — exposures that left him battling a ‘mystery illness’ of fatigue, depression, crippling self-doubt and other woes.
Healthcare under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amounted to ‘zombie pills’ that either don’t help or left users crazier, he says. By 2010, he was living in a St Louis shoebox apartment, doing odd jobs to pay child support to his ex-wife.
At a low point, a friend in 2017 recommended Ayahuasca — a boiled blend of an Amazonian vine and dimethyltryptamine (DMT)-containing plants traditionally used by indigenous tribes in medical and spiritual ceremonies.
‘It was paradigm-shifting, completely life-changing,’ he said. ‘You can put to bed things that need to be put to bed.’
He testified about this before a Missouri House committee this week. (Full Story)