EL PASO, Texas - Keen to learn about all things fungi? You are in luck, as El Paso's first-ever Mushroom Conference is taking place Friday at 5 p.m. at Power of the Pass located at 1931 Mrytle Ave., on the corner of Eucalyptus and Myrtle. The conference aims to educate those who may be interested in learning about the variety of mushroom uses, kinds, and growing methods.
Aixarret Hernandez and Maximilian Esparza are the cofounders of Myceliumatters, which is the organization putting on the event. They both agree on the importance of teaching the world about the realm of mushrooms.
"It's really important to educate people about mushrooms, because a lot of people don't know they exist, and the legal ones exist like lions mane, turkey tail all of those are adaptogenic. And they have really good health benefits on people suffering from diabetes, anxiety, depression" said Hernandez who is studying mycology.
Esparza added, "there's a very negative stigma about them, whether they are legal, or psychedelic, so educating people on adaptogens first will warm them up to the trials happening on psychedelic mushrooms."
Continuing on Esparza's point, mushrooms often have a bad reputation in society, as they are thought to be mind-altering and dangerous drugs. However, not all mushrooms are made the same. Recent research is being done on the variety of uses and health benefits of mushrooms, from the psychedelic species to the ones you already cook up and eat.
There will be no psychedelic types of mushrooms at the event. Oregon and Colorado have legalized the use of psilocybin mushrooms, whereas California, Washington, Connecticut, and Michigan have allowed the limited use of psilocybin mushrooms. Research and the legality of psychedelic mushrooms will be discussed at the conference.
"Just this year in Texas, there was a bill passed to research psilocybin mushrooms. But its not legal- so it's these schools and organizations like the Dell Medical Center and Psychedelic Research Center [in Austin], there had to apply to work with this entheogen," Hernandez shared.
Looking ahead, the Myceliumatters founders are hoping research on the medicinal mushrooms will continue, and will hopefully be used in therapy one day:
"We hope psychedelic mushrooms in general will be medicinally legalized for therapeutic purposes because there is a lot of research showing they have a lot of benefits especially for Veterans,"...", and we're here to educate the Veteran community to bring surface these trials," Esparza stated.
Event organizers are collaborating with local mushroom farmers and growers and vendors who will offer visitors mushroom hot chocolate and tamales. The event is taking place on Veterans Day. Tickets are $20 online or at the door, but for Veterans with a military ID, tickets will only be $10. All ages are welcome to the event.