Oregon Sets Stage to Legalize Mushroom Therapy for Addiction Treatment

by Thaddeus Camlin, PsyD

Good news for people interested in effective treatment innovations, Oregon recently set the stage to legalize mushroom therapy for addiction.  The measure will be on the ballot for voters in the fall of 2020, and if passed, Oregon could be the first state to legally offer psilocybin treatment.  Years later, our first piece on mushroom therapy for addiction remains one of our most heavily trafficked editorials.  Thanks to the intrepid spirit of Oregonian voters, the days of jetting off to mycology retreat centers in paradisian locations with legal grey areas on drug policies and paying tens of thousands of dollars for psilocybin treatment may be coming to a close sooner than expected.

Research continues to mount in support of mushroom therapy for addiction and a number of other mental health conditions.  Psilocybin, the magic in the mushroom, is proving to be effective in the treatment of intractable depression, debilitating anxiety, and the trauma that generally fuels many of the psychological and medical problems people experience.  Top institutions like Johns Hopkins, New York University, and the University of California San Diego are currently involved in the arduous task of researching the healing effects of the schedule 1 fungus, and results to date have discerning minds excited.

The Oregon Psilocybin Therapy Initiation (Initiative Petition #34) will not make magic mushrooms widely available for recreational use.  While gas station employees pump their gas, Oregonians will not be able to pop into the mini-mart to buy heroic doses of the fungus famed for its ability to squeegee one’s third eye.  The Oregon Psilocybin Therapy Initiative will allow the Oregon Health Authority to develop a two-year process that involves training and certifying practitioners of the groundbreaking approach to treatment.  Only license holders will be able to provide mushroom therapy.

Oregon’s Psilocybin Initiative is far from a done deal, but even if it does not pass it is an encouraging step towards improving treatment for people who suffer.  Just like the process of legalizing cannabis, the process of legalizing psychedelic-assisted treatments is a matter of when, not if.  No doubt there will continue to be roadblocks on all fronts in the efforts towards sensible drug policy in the United States, and Oregonians stand poised to knock a foundational brick out of the drug war’s wall of egregious human rights violations and oppression of personal freedom.