Oregon Moves to Legalize Magic Mushrooms With 2020 Ballot Measure

Oregon Moves to Legalize Magic Mushrooms With 2020 Ballot Measure

The state of Oregon will soon vote on a ballot initiative to legalize psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in “magic” mushrooms, in a 2020 election. If passed, the measure would decriminalize possession, allow administration from licensed professionals, legalize the manufacture and delivery, and create a regulatory program for its clinical use.

The measure comes in the wake of widespread legalization and decriminalization of state laws related to cannabis, as well as a multitude of government-sanctioned studies exploring the use of psychedelics to treat depression, PTSD, drug addiction, and chronic headaches.

In addition to changes in the social and political climate surrounding these substances, public health regulatory agencies are starting to recognize the clinical benefits of psychedelics, including the FDA which recently gave psilocybin breakthrough therapy status for treatment-resistance depression, meaning it will expedite development and approval processes for the drug’s use.

This recent wave of legalization marks a progressive turning point, after decades of oppressive and inane drug laws that have filled prisons (many of which are private and for profit), spawned opioid epidemics, and unfairly targeted minorities. And now it appears that the tides are slowly turning, potentially leading to a day when medical professionals can precisely and sensibly utilize an ancient plant medicine with healing potential.

Psilocybin is currently Schedule I – the same classification as drugs like cocaine and heroine – but if passed, the amendment would move to reclassify it as Schedule IV, the same as anti-anxiety medications such as Xanax. However, the drug could only be administered by a professional in a clinical setting and patients would remain in that setting until the effects of the drug wore off.

Oregon is not the only state attempting to legalize psilocybin as similar ballot measures are being proposed in certain California cities, as well as Denver, CO. However, Oregon is now the first state to attain the required number of signatures for the measure to make the 2020 ballot.

The Oregon measure is being headed by Tom and Sheri Eckert, two psychotherapists practicing in the Portland area, who also founded the Oregon Psilocybin Society.

“A growing body of evidence demonstrates that psilocybin assisted therapy is safe and uniquely effective. We think that this novel approach could help alleviate the mental health crisis here in Oregon by addressing costly epidemics like suicide, treatment-resistant depression and anxiety, PTSD, and addiction to drugs, alcohol, and nicotine. Additionally, the measure would open doors for new research, create access to services for those interested in personal development, and reduce penalties for common possession of psilocybin,” — PSI Chief Petitioners Tom and Sheri Eckert

A number of government-sanctioned clinical trials with psilocybin and other psychedelic substances have proven successful recently, particularly by researchers at Johns Hopkins and London’s Imperial College, for treatment of PTSD, depression, and drug addiction. In one breakthrough study headed by Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, psilocybin was found to flip a “reset” mechanism in the brains of patients experiencing treatment-resistant forms of depression.

His work, as well as that of Dr. Roland Griffiths, has made drastic steps forward in the field of psychedelic therapy, opening up new modalities for patients who have exhausted all pharmaceutical options in treating severe mental illnesses.

Further anecdotal evidence has been found for the use of psilocybin in treating cluster headaches and chronic migraines. In fact, there is evidence that Albert Hoffman – the eminent discoverer of LSD-25 – was researching psilocybin as a potential treatment for headaches before it was criminalized in 1968.

 

For more on the history and use of psilocybin check out this episode of Psychedelica :

Psilocybin: The Magic of Mushrooms


New Studies Find Psychedelics Highly Effective for Alcoholism

New Studies Find Psychedelics Highly Effective for Alcoholism

New studies show unprecedented success in the treatment of alcoholism with psychedelic therapy.

The psychedelic revolution in mental health has produced overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrating the great efficacy of psychedelics in the treatment of various mental health disorders. Now, several new studies involving the drugs ketamine and MDMA are showing significant promise in the treatment of alcoholism.

Dr. Ben Sessa is a psychiatrist and chief medical officer at Awakn Life Sciences, an English biotech company that is at the forefront of the research, development, and delivery of psychedelic medicines.

The company is especially focused on the treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD, given how prevalent and challenging it is to treat.

“Alcoholism is a huge public health problem. It’s also a psychiatric condition that’s very poorly treated with very poor outcomes with traditional methods,” Sessa said. “Relapse to drinking after getting dry is around 80 to 90 percent at 12 months. That’s an embarrassingly poor statistic. Psychedelics offer a completely new approach; they offer the patient to explore the root causes of addiction, which so often is trauma. Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy is an intensive upfront piece of work that gets the patient better, so they don’t have to keep coming back. It is a completely different paradigm shift to the way we currently manage patients in maintenance therapies.” 

A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter and Awakn Life Sciences is the world’s first to examine the use of ketamine to treat AUD in a randomized controlled trial.

“Ketamine is a very well-established human medicine. It is indeed the only psychedelic that’s licensed as a medicine, as an anesthetic medicine, and has been used since the 60s as such. It’s an incredibly safe medicine. When it’s used at a much lower dose, it produces an altered state of consciousness. What we do in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy with ketamine, is we use this altered state of consciousness to affect a more effective and deeper form of psychotherapy. So, we’re using ketamine as an adjunct to psychotherapy to treat addictions,” he said.  

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