Four years ago, Oregon voters chose to become the 3rd State to legalize cannabis for recreational use. It was an extremely special day that Oregonians will not soon forget. And last week, after Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum approved language for a ballot measure to allow licensed medical professionals to administer psilocybin for therapeutic purposes, they may soon have more reasons to celebrate.
The Psilocybin Service Initiative of Oregon, titled PSI 2020 is being led by The Oregon Psilocybin Society, who this month will begin gathering the 140,000 signatures needed to put it on the ballot for 2020. The measure would reduce criminal penalties for the manufacture, delivery and possession of psilocybin, the hallucinogen contained in psychedelic mushrooms. According to the Society, there’s a growing body of evidence the drug is safe and effective to treat illnesses such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and, ironically, drug addiction. Based off of scientific evidence, the only real negative up to this point has been that psilocybin is illegal, meaning there is currently no regulated, licensed, taxed recreational magic mushroom program in Oregon or any other state for that matter. And although some fascinating studies have shown its healing value, there is no medical psilocybin program, either.
Earlier this year the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted approval to Compass Pathways for a landmark clinical trial to test psilocybin therapy in patients with treatment-resistant depression. Compass, a life sciences company, has focused its early efforts on late-stage clinical trial development for psilocybin in patients with treatment-resistant depression. They advocate for advances in neuroscience, psychotherapy, psychopharmacology, and technology. According to Charles L. Raison, MD, a professor in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, one study suggested that patients’ personalities changed after being treated. More than a year after treatment, they were more expressive and less prone to depression. Another pair of randomized, controlled, crossover studies comparing a single psilocybin treatment versus placebo reported “amazing” results.
“One treatment just completely reduced depression and anxiety scores, from people being very clinical to reaching remission. No other treatment, and 6 months later, 60-70% people are in remission from a single treatment. It seems to have a long-term impact on people. Even normal folks seem to feel better after, and they take better care of themselves afterward,” said Raison.
Time will tell if PSI 2020 has the legs to turn into actual law, but the fact that we are even discussing it is a major shift in thinking and shows much promise for the future of legalized psilocybin. Happy trails indeed.