Oregon Trains First ‘Magic Mushroom’ Facilitators

Oregon just welcomed its first group of facilitators to accompany patients taking regulated doses of psilocybin.

Key takeaways:
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    Oregon just welcomed its first group of facilitators to accompany patients taking regulated doses of psilocybin.
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    Oregon became the first state to decriminalize Schedule I drugs like heroin, methamphetamine, and psilocybin.
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    New research that shows psychedelic mushrooms can be good for mental health is making them more popular in ballot initiatives in other states.

The facilitators were trained in preparation for a public retreat scheduled for mid- or late-2023. The state’s upcoming psilocybin programs are expected to pave the way for more controlled-use psychedelic mushroom programs in the future.

In 2020, Oregon became the first state to stop criminalizing hard drugs like heroin and methamphetamine. During this time it also decriminalized psilocybin, or “magic mushrooms,” for medical purposes.

The two-ballot measure called Ballot Measure 109 passed by large margins and was fairly popular among Oregon residents.

After Oregon, voters in Colorado also passed a ballot measure that will let people use "magic mushrooms" in a controlled way starting in 2024. But in the United States, psilocybin is still federally classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, which describes drugs with no known medical use and a high risk of being abused.

Decriminalization is different from legalization. Someone charged with drug use in Oregon would have the option of paying a $100 fine or attending new “addiction recovery centers” instead of jail time.

As part of the growing psilocybin industry in Oregon, a Portland company called InnerTrek is training about 100 people in three groups to be licensed "facilitators." These people will make sure dosing sessions are safe and comfortable for patients.

​​Oregon is the first state in the U.S. to regulate the use of psychedelic mushrooms. However, before Europeans came to Mexico and Central America, indigenous people used psilocybin, along with peyote, and other hallucinogens, for healing rituals and religious ceremonies.

New research that shows psychedelic mushrooms can be good for mental health is also making them more popular in other countries. However, they are legal in only a few other places in the world, including Jamaica and the Canadian province of Alberta.

In a study on psilocybin for alcoholism, a compound in psychedelic mushrooms helped heavy drinkers cut back or quit completely, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry. Another Johns Hopkins study found that psilocybin treatment helped adults with major depressive disorder feel better for up to a month.

Though Measure 109 was widely supported, the Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) opposed it. The APA cites the fact that you do not have to be a medical professional to get a facilitator license as a possibly unsafe point in future psilocybin treatments.

In contrast, Tom Eckert, who created Ballot Measure 109, is now advancing it as the director of the InnerTrek program.

Wiener stated in a tweet, “Psychedelics help people heal from trauma, depression & addiction. Why are they still illegal in California?”

Popularity for psilocybin continues to grow. For example, Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco just introduced a bill to legalize psilocybin and other psychedelic substances in California.

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