Oregonians more interested in taking psilocybin for well-being than depression or anxiety

By Kristian Foden-Vencil (OPB)
March 1, 2022 7:03 p.m.

Oregonians who have expressed an interest in taking psilocybin are more focused on using the drug for general wellbeing than depression or anxiety, according to new data from the Oregon Health Authority.

Last month, state health officials asked people already on their psilocybin mailing list why they want to take the psychedelic drug, which is found in some mushrooms. Oregon voters approved the creation of a system for some legal use of psilocybin in 2020, and a state panel is now working to figure out precisely how that system should work.

FILE - In this May 24, 2019, file photo a vendor bags psilocybin mushrooms at a pop-up cannabis market in Los Angeles.

FILE - In this May 24, 2019, file photo a vendor bags psilocybin mushrooms at a pop-up cannabis market in Los Angeles.

Richard Vogel / AP

More than 4,400 people responded. They were allowed to give multiple answers to their reasons for potentially using psilocybin; 72% said they wanted to take it for general well-being and 64% for depression and anxiety.


The findings have repercussions because legalization was focused primarily on the use of psilocybin for medical help.

Angela Allbee, Oregon’s psilocybin services manager, said the system being created includes a preparation session, in which users would talk to a facilitator about why they want to take psilocybin. That would be followed by an administrative session, in which the drug is actually taken. After that, users could attend an optional integration session to talk about how the drug helped. All of those steps add cost.

“Psilocybin services could be cost-prohibitive for some folks and there’s a lot of discussions about how the external community can help address that,” Allbee said.

Of respondents interested in a license to manufacture psilocybin, 75% said they intended to hire fewer than 10 employees.

Allbee said she wasn’t surprised to get more than 4,400 people responding to the survey.

“I think that it really shows people are interested in psilocybin services,” she said.

The state has until 2023 to decide how the new system will operate.


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