OHA releasing ‘magic’ mushroom research this week

Oregon

Oregon passed a measure to legalize the therapeutic use of psilocybin or the compound found in “magic” mushrooms in November 2020.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — This week, the Psilocybin Board for the Oregon Health Authority is releasing research on the “magic” mushrooms’ effectiveness on behavioral health conditions like depression.

Oregon voters passed this measure in the November election. In January, the psilocybin section of the OHA started its years-long process to develop the licensing rules and regulations for psilocybin products and services as a form of therapy for mental health conditions.

The agency has two years to spell out how psilocybin can be used in the state.

Leaders at the OHA say the recent research in controlled settings and clinical trials shows that psilocybin can alleviate Major Depressive Disorder with lasting effects. There’s also some research showing it alleviates anxiety — particularly anxiety associated with a terminal illness.

Furthermore, the health protection administrator told KOIN 6 there’s now promising evidence showing psilocybin can help treat addiction to substances like alcohol, tobacco and opiates.

“It’s a very exciting opportunity to be a part of something that can alleviate the suffering of so many people, particularly in the state of Oregon,” Center for Health Protection Administrator Andre Ourson said. “It’s something that we do in public health. We want to better the health of Oregonians and this measure is just another tool to do that.”

He did stress the research isn’t fully complete yet but that it’s been positive so far.

OHA information on psilocybin

The OHA will begin accepting licenses for use in January 2023 — meaning people like behavioral health professionals can apply to administer the product to patients with depression and other mental health disorders.

A manager for the program says this week they’ll be publicizing the medical, psychological and scientific studies and research they’ve reviewed so far this year.

“We have a long-standing stigma against Psilocybin based on a number of historic events,” Oregon Psilocybin Services Section Manager Angie Allbee explained. “So I think that we have to focus as an agency on the safety, efficacy and equitable access for services.”

Allbee went on to say that psilocybin has the potential to help a lot of Oregonians suffering from depression to anxiety — so the health authority wants to make sure the system they create can accommodate everyone to have access to this option if it’s right for them.

We are still over a year out from this treatment being available and it wouldn’t be for recreational use —  it would only be administered and used in safe, well-regulated therapeutic settings. But, the OHA says they’re proud to be on the forefront of this in the United States.

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