Oregon is getting ever closer to being able to call itself the psilocybin state, with the latest moves seeing trained therapy facilitators granted licenses, several manufacturers awarded permits to grow the mushrooms, and the first laboratory coming on board to test products for potency and safety.
Rose City Laboratories, which has its roots in cannabis dispensary quality control, will be the first lab to test licensed psilocybin products and evaluate their potency and purity before they go out to therapy centers for supervised administering.
“We have been patiently waiting and preparing for this decision and my team has done an incredible job to make the Laboratories’ procedures compliant,” said owner Dan Huson. “I couldn’t be prouder.”
This comes a month after the state issued the first licenses to growers, awarding those to the woman-owned Satori Farms PDX, and Satya Therapeutics, with many more set to be granted this year.
“We congratulate Tori Armbrust of Satori Farms PDX LLC for being issued the first psilocybin license in Oregon’s history and for representing women leading the way for the emerging psilocybin ecosystem,” said Oregon Psilocybin Services (OPS) section manager Angie Allbee. Though manufacturing permits aren’t cheap; Armbrust laid out US$10,000 for the license and will need to pay $10,000 every year to renew.
At the same time, Oregon saw the first graduates get through the official training course to become psilocybin therapists. Psilocybin won’t be sold like cannabis at dispensaries; it’ll require those aged 21 and over to instead attend a licensed therapy session and center to take the drug in a supervised setting with a trained professional, who is on hand to offer support and guidance.
More than 100 students, many healthcare professionals, graduated in March, after six months of intensive training in the woods outside of Portland. As licensed practitioners, their role will be to screen clients and work with them before and after their experience.
In mid-April, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) licensed the first three facilitators, who will be able to work in the service centers once they’re also given the state go-ahead.
“We want to congratulate the first facilitators to be licensed in Oregon,” said Allbee. “As your work in providing non-directive psilocybin services takes shape, we thank you for your dedication to client safety and access as we move closer to opening service centers.”
In November 2020, the Pacific Northwest state became the first in the US to legalize licensed psilocybin therapy, when voters passed the Measure 109 ballot, with almost 56% ticking yes. As well as decriminalizing possession of psilocybin mushrooms for recreational use, the vote paved the way for licensed practitioners to help administer the psychedelic treatment to individuals aged 21 and over.
Of course, the magic mushroom rollout hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Last November, 25 of 36 counties, and more than 100 municipalities, banned psilocybin treatment. However, the 20 most populated regions of Oregon, including famously liberal city Portland, will allow it.
It’s expected to be used in the treatment of trauma, anxiety, depression and addiction, among other conditions. Despite its ban in more regional parts of the state, access will be open to everyone across the country, and patients won’t need a medical referral or a prescription to attend a service center.
Psilocybin is still listed as a Schedule I drug at the federal level, with the Drug Enforcement Administration deeming it has a “high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision”.
In 2018, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave psilocybin a Breakthrough Therapy designation, green-lighting its use, however legislation and logistics of the burgeoning treatment industry has made the rollout a slow process.
The first treatment clinics are expected to open their doors later this year.