Psilocybin has been in the news quite a bit lately, but it’s not the first time. Since the late 1950s, researchers have been interested in the effects of psilocybin use in the treatment of mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
In 1959, a Swiss chemist by the name of Albert Hofmann became the first person to extract pure psilocybin from “magic mushrooms.” The company he worked for, Sandoz, went on to sell the pure extract to clinicians and therapists to be used in psychedelic psychotherapy.
Again in 1959, doctors at the Sainte-Anne Hospital in Paris, France, also wanted to see the effects of psychedelic therapy on their patients. This time, however, it wasn’t used in the treatment of mood disorders, but instead was given to a young woman who suffered from the eating disorder Anorexia Nervosa. An article about the experiment published that same year stated that the patient experienced an “immediate and lasting improvement.”
These experiments led to a whole host of others performed by clinicians and scientists around the world. However, in 1968, the substance was criminalized in the US, which quickly put a stop to the study of the effects of psychedelics on mood and psychiatric disorders.
Recently, though, psilocybin has made its way back into the news, as researchers are once again picking up where they left off more than 50 years ago. Last November, for example, Compass Pathways, a UK-based pharmaceutical, and mental health care company, completed Phase IIb of their clinical trials on psilocybin therapy. These trials produced incredible results in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder, reopening the desire to continue to research the substance’s therapeutic potential.
This has led to many states in the US proposing bills to decriminalize the use of psilocybin for mental health treatment. In fact, Washington State lawmakers have recently proposed a bill that could legalize psilocybin use in the state.
What is the Psilocybin Wellness and Opportunity Act?
The Psilocybin Wellness and Opportunity Act is a proposed bill by lawmakers in Washington State. It is sponsored by Senators Jesse Salomon and Liz Lovelett. Under the act, individuals 21 years and older would be able to legally engage in “supported psilocybin experiences”. In other words, if the bill passes, the legislation would allow the use of psilocybin and psilocin, the two main psychedelic ingredients in what is commonly known as “magic mushrooms”. However, consumers would need to experience the psychedelics under the supervision and with the support of a state-licensed, specially-trained facilitator known.
This carefully monitored use of the psychedelics will be offered in licensed service centers, so consumers will need to make their way to the facilities. However, under certain circumstances like medical conditions that prevent travel, remote access to facilitators and at-home psilocybin delivery may be possible.
Under the Act, the Washington Department of Health will be able to issue licenses to qualified psilocybin manufacturers, testing labs, and the supportive framework in place–service centers and facilitators. Additionally, when the bill passes, the Washington Psilocybin Advisory Board will come into being, whose main mandate will be to advise the Department of Health on creating the rules and regulations that will be integral to the Act’s implementation.
How the Bill Normalizes Psilocybin Use
Once a drug considered to be reserved for hippies–and whose use was considered taboo and on the fringes of societal acceptance–is now being recognized as a legitimate alternative treatment for medicinal purposes. However, the beauty of the Psilocybin Wellness and Opportunity Act is that it opens the door for all adults of legal age to experience the effects–for any reason. Psychedelics will not be reserved for limited medical diagnoses–people without any medical condition can enjoy the services as well.
While there have been documented medicinal breakthroughs for mental health and depressive disorders, many consumers have reported other, more generalized benefits from psilocybin use. These include enhanced feelings of connectedness that have allowed them to feel more at one with nature or opened their eyes to nuances in their interpersonal relationships. Others have seen a boost in their wellness or creativity, while still others say their use of the psychedelic compounds has led to religious experiences.
As you can see, the idea of legalized psilocybin may be a hotly debated topic, but it’s one that scientists, clinicians, and mental health professionals the world over have been pushing for, for more than five decades.
The Psilocybin Wellness and Opportunity Act may be the first of its kind for the US, but it’s certainly not the last. As more and more research is done, the world will finally begin to see the incredible therapeutic benefits that “magic mushrooms” can have on those struggling with mental health issues.
For more information about our history with psychedelics – and particular – check out our article, A Brief 500,000 Year History of Our Relationship with Psilocybin Mushrooms, which can be found right on our Beard Bros website.