The State of Oregon is the first nationwide to legalize psychedelic shrooms in a therapeutic setting.
It wasn’t even a week ago that a new drug bill was approved in Oregon state, decriminalizing certain hard drugs– including cocaine, heroin, LSD and meth– in attempt to curb incarcerations and fight the drug epidemic through more therapeutic based methods. Now, a group called the Oregon Psilocybin Society (OPS) is pushing to legalization of psilocybin by 2020– the primary active ingredient in several species of psychedelic mushrooms.
The OPS identifies as “a new coalition engaged in promoting the science, safety, benefits, and risks of supervised psilocybin use”. Currently, the society is developing a ballot initiative called Psilocybin Service Initiative (PSI), in order to legalize and regulate the medical use of this psychoactive compound.
If approved, the measure would give access to psilocybin — a compound produced by over 200 mushroom species — to anyone over 21 years old. The proposal indicates that “any individual […], upon attaining medical clearance from a physician, could participate in a sequence of sessions, provided on-site at a state licensed Psilocybin Service Center.”
The Diversion Control Division of the DEA currently lists psilocybin as Schedule I. For the government, this means hallucinogenic mushrooms are a risk for drug abuse and thought to have no medical value. However, advocates assure the substance is safe and medically productive
A study called “Psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer: A randomized double-blind trial” published in 2016 in the Journal of Psychopharmacology demonstrated the healing power of psilocybin. The research evaluated 51 cancer patients with signs of depression and anxiety. Results showed “high-dose psilocybin produced large decreases in clinician and self-rated measures of depressed mood and anxiety, along with increases in quality of life, life meaning, and optimism, and decreases in death anxiety.”
There’s still a long road ahead for mushroom advocates. Tom Eckert, one leader of OPS, along with his wife Sherri Eckert, emphasized in an interview with VICE that many people are interested in their cause. “We’re strengthening our networks, doing more events, developing organization and outreach programs such that it will move into campaign apparatus—2020 is shaping up to be a very interesting year.”
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