First Group of Psilocybin Therapy Facilitators Graduate in Oregon

Oregonians may soon be offered legal psilocybin therapy, as the first trained facilitators graduated last week.

The graduation ceremony for 35 students who completed psilocybin facilitator training organized by InnerTrek, a Portland company, was held on Friday, the Associated Press reports. The students must pass a final exam at InnerTrek to receive certificates and then take a test administered by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) for facilitator licenses. Since January 2, Oregon officials have received 195 license and work permit applications.

This news come after another Oregon facilitator training effort, led by the Synthesis Institute, a Netherlands-based company, was declared bankrupt last week, leaving over 200 students asking for refunds of their hefty tuition fees.

In 2020, the state voters passed Oregon Psilocybin Services Act, known as Ballot Measure 109, permitting the manufacture and administration of psilocybin for therapeutic purposes by individuals 21 or older. The act took effect on January 2, 2023, making Oregon the first state in the United States to legalize psilocybin.

Psilocybin, also known as "magic mushrooms,” is a naturally occurring psychedelic. While it is widely used for recreational purposes, increasing evidence shows that the substance may improve mood and have other mental health benefits.

Published in 2022, the largest study on microdosing psilocybin to date reveals that those taking small amounts of the psychedelic showed greater improvement in depression, anxiety, and stress than a placebo group.

Other studies, albeit small, suggest that psilocybin-assisted therapy has long-lasting antidepressant effects and can be used in treating alcohol use disorder.

Psilocybin was previously available in the U.S. as a prescription drug under the brand name Indocybin® but was removed from the market in 1966 and later classified as a Schedule I substance.

As more researchers globally are exploring psilocybin’s therapeutic properties, Australia approved the substance as a medication for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) earlier this year.

And while many researchers emphasize the need for more extensive research on psilocybin effects on mental health, service centers that are expected to open soon in Oregon may provide real-life evidence.

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