In November of 2020, the state of Oregon passed a new measure that will eventually allow people to participate in legal psilocybin sessions. This comes after lots of encouraging evidence for psilocybin’s safety and efficacy, and it’s FDA designation as a breakthrough treatment for depression. People are excited to take advantage of this new law, but there are some things you should know before participating. Let’s talk about where you can get legal psilocybin in Oregon.
In the last few decades, psilocybin and other psychedelics have shown to be helpful for people with depression, anxiety, and more. Despite its association with the “hippie” counterculture, psilocybin and other psychedelic medicines are gaining credibility with medical researchers and rapidly gaining interest from the public .
Some researchers believe psilocybin could be the most effective psychedelic for treating mental health disorders . In mood disorders such as depression, psilocybin could be a great tool to permanently ease symptoms and improve lives for patients. Psilocybin has shown pain management benefits as well as mental ones. In clinical trials, it’s proved to be a helpful analgesic for migraines, chronic pain, and phantom limb pain .
Perhaps most importantly, psilocybin is generally safe. Of all psychedelics, it’s thought to be the safest. The Registry of Toxic Effects of Chemical Substances gives psilocybin a safety profile better than nicotine and aspirin . It has little potential for abuse or addiction and is generally well-tolerated in a controlled environment.
Given the positive evidence for safety and efficacy, we’re excited to see Oregon’s initiative to help people take advantage of psilocybin as a tool for self-growth and healing. Let’s talk about what this bill means.
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Is Psilocybin Legal in Oregon?
As part of the 2020 bill, Oregon decriminalized psilocybin. Other cities and states have decriminalized psychedelics, starting with Denver in 2019. Oregon is the first state to not only decriminalize the substance but to regulate and make it available for the public.
This is exciting news for the state of Oregon, which has some of the highest rates of mental illness in the nation . Nearly one in five adults in Oregon has a mental illness. The governor has declared a public health crisis due to the prevalence of addiction in the state. Between 2019 and 2021, the state planned to spend 2.8 billion on behavioral and mental health programs.
By creating this bill, Oregon is aiming to help not only people with mental health diagnoses but anyone who wishes to take part in facilitated psilocybin sessions. Unlike the medical card system for marijuana, anyone 21 and up will be able to experience psilocybin in certified service centers.
Since passing this vote, people have raised concerns over it’s wording. At first, we thought it would be offered as a therapeutic regimen under the strict supervision of a licensed therapist. But these therapists wouldn’t be protected from liability from the state or insurance. It would be hard or impossible to find therapists willing to practice without protection.
Since passing, the bill has been re-framed as sessions supervised by facilitators. In terms of access, this may help more people get access to psilocybin. However, facilitators will not be licensed or educated like therapists. Therapist may still play an important role in the preparation and integration process.
We’re still excited about improved access to psilocybin. This bill would not have been brought up for a vote without the advocacy of Sheri and Thomas Eckert. They’ve been working to pass psilocybin therapy legislation for the last several years. Both are therapists in Oregon and believe strongly that psilocybin can help people better than pharmaceutical therapy. In a 2017 interview with The Oregonian, Thomas Eckert said, “Where typically pharma-type interventions fall short, psilocybin is really breaking through with pretty amazing frequency”.
In November 2020, the state of Oregon passed Ballot Measure 109. This established a new regulatory body under the Oregon Health Authority: The Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board (OPAB). Thomas Eckert heads this group, who will develop a regulatory framework for the state.
Sadly, Sheri Eckert passed away soon after this vote. A new foundation has been formed in her honor to continue her important work of creating “equitable access to psychedelic education and services”. Her husband Thomas continues to work towards her vision by heading up the advisory board and leading the implementation of this new law in Oregon. Learn more about Sheri’s foundation at sherieckert.org.
Between January 2021 and December 2022, the board is tasked with standardizing the manufacture, transportation, delivery, sale, and purchase of psilocybin in the state of Oregon. They’re also developing a system to track the manufacture, sale, purchase, and transfer of psilocybin so that it won’t be transported into other states.
As the first state to implement a system like this, the board has a big job ahead. They’re researching dosage, potency, strains, and synthetic vs. whole mushrooms.
Manufacturers will have specific guidelines and standards, and will need licenses before starting to make psilocybin. Facilitators, who will assist with psilocybin sessions, will need licenses as well. Service centers will host psilocybin sessions and will also need to get licensure before offering these services.
Where can I get psilocybin therapy in Oregon?
For now, it’s not possible to participate in legal psilocybin sessions in Oregon. You probably won’t be able to participate in these sessions until mid-2023.
Before anyone can go through a psilocybin journey, licenses have to be applied for and approved by the advisory committee. We’re not sure how long the licensure process will take for manufacturers, facilitators, and service centers. For people who are looking to be part of the manufacturing and distributing process, Oregon will begin taking license applications for service centers and training programs on January 2, 2023.
Even once these licenses and systems are in place, the process for getting psilocybin therapy in Oregon is still not immediate. Participants will need to have a preparation session before taking psilocybin. With the amount of interest in psilocybin, there may be a wait for these services. As the first state to implement a system of this kind, we’re excited to watch Oregon integrate this exciting approach.
What to Know About Oregon’s Psilocybin Bill
We’re excited for the residents of Oregon to be able to get legal psilocybin. There are a few important things to note about this bill.
- Psilocybin is still a Schedule 1 drug under the FDA. This legislation does not protect licensees or users from federal law. We’re not sure how this will affect users and therapists.
- You won’t be able to get psilocybin for private or home use. This bill grants access to psilocybin for licensed distributors, to be used in the context of facilitated psilocybin sessions . Participants will be able to take part in psilocybin journeys in controlled environments (“service centers”) under the supervision of licensed service facilitators.
- Psilocybin will not be funded by the state or insurers. We’re not sure how much psilocybin sessions will cost. The state of Oregon has voiced its commitment to providing access to as many people as possible, but there will still probably be an up-front cost.
- This bill does not provide workplace or housing protection for licensees and users. For instance, you could be fired from your job or evicted for using psilocybin.
Is Psilocybin Right for Me?
Only you can know if psilocybin can work for you. And it’s not right for everyone. For instance, people with a history of psychosis may be triggered by psychedelic substances. By developing a relationship with a trained psychedelic therapist, together you can make the decision to pursue psilocybin therapy.
There are specific diagnoses that psilocybin has been especially helpful for so far. Psilocybin has proven itself as a useful tool for depression. It’s given relief even for people suffering from major depressive disorder and treatment-resistant depression . One study even compared psilocybin with escitalopram (Lexapro), an antidepressant. Even though psilocybin was given once, and the Lexapro was taken every day, psilocybin performed better in the long-term .
We’re still early in the process of understanding the potential for psilocybin and other psychedelic therapies. The body of research and legislature on psilocybin is growing rapidly. Who knows what other diagnoses could be treated with psilocybin therapy? Check back in on our articles page to stay up-to-date on the latest research and laws on this exciting subject.
Learning more about choosing therapy on our blog. To understand whether psilocybin could be a good fit, you can search for a psychedelic provider on our search page. If you are a practitioner wanting to offer your patients the healing benefits of psilocybin and other psychedelic drugs, take a look at our free resources and paid courses.
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- Griffiths, R. R., Richards, W. A., McCann, U., & Jesse, R. (2006). Psilocybin can occasion mystical-type experiences having substantial and sustained personal meaning and spiritual significance. Psychopharmacology, 187(3), 268–283. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-006-0457-5
- Published: Dec 13, 2021. (2021, December 13). Mental health and substance use state fact sheets. KFF. Retrieved December 21, 2021, from https://www.kff.org/statedata/mental-health-and-substance-use-state-fact-sheets/oregon/#:~:text=The%20
- Acker, L. (2017, December 5). This couple wants to make it legal to use psychedelic mushrooms in Oregon. The Oregonian.
- Davis, A. K., Barrett, F. S., May, D. G., Cosimano, M. P., Sepeda, N. D., Johnson, M. W., Finan, P. H., & Griffiths, R. R. (2021). Effects of psilocybin-assisted therapy on major depressive disorder. JAMA Psychiatry, 78(5), 481. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2020.3285
- Carhart-Harris, R., Giribaldi, B., Watts, R., Baker-Jones, M., Murphy-Beiner, A., Murphy, R., Martell, J., Blemings, A., Erritzoe, D., & Nutt, D. J. (2021). Trial of psilocybin versus escitalopram for depression. New England Journal of Medicine, 384(15), 1402–1411. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmoa2032994