In this May 24, 2019, file photo a vendor bags psilocybin mushrooms at a pop-up cannabis market in Los Angeles. Voters in Oregon voted in November to legalize therapeutic, regulated use of psilocybin.

In this May 24, 2019, file photo a vendor bags psilocybin mushrooms at a pop-up cannabis market in Los Angeles. Voters in Oregon voted in November to legalize therapeutic, regulated use of psilocybin.

Richard Vogel / AP

Oregon’s effort to create a new psilocybin-assisted therapy system has attracted attention from across the country.

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Experts from as far afield as New York and Texas have expressed interest in sitting on the state’s new Psilocybin Advisory Board, which will set the system up over the next two years.

But Jeff Rhoades, a senior policy advisor to Gov. Kate Brown, said there’s a heavy preference on using experts from within the state.

“We can’t wait to get started on it,” he said. “There is a lot of evidence about the therapeutic benefits of psilocybin, and I am really excited for Oregon to lead the way on this.”

Measure 109, approved by voters in November, allows therapy programs using the active ingredients of hallucinogenic mushrooms for people with depression, anxiety or addiction.

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But before such programs can start in 2023, state leaders must figure out how they’ll be established and regulated. To do that, they needs experts for an advisory board to oversee everything from where psilocybin clinics can be located to how the drug will be acquired.

“Really there’s just a lot of rules to be written and a lot to be figured out with regard to how sessions are going to go with patients,” Rhoades said.

The measure voters approved is 71 pages long and draws extensively from language used to legalize recreational cannabis in Oregon. Brown has included $5.6 million in funding for the measure in her recent budget proposal.

The state is seeking experts in hallucinogenic mushrooms, mental health, psychopharmacology, harm reduction, palliative care and many other disciplines to serve on the board.

“We’ve had some applicants come in already, but we’re going to need more and we want to have the most robust group of candidates to choose from to make sure we do this thing right,” Rhoades said.

Rhoades said there is a lot of evidence about the therapeutic value of psilocybin. But psilocybin remains a Schedule 1 drug, meaning the federal government believes it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Experts interested in serving on the state panel can email the state for more information: oha.psilocybin@dhsoha.state.or.us.

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