Oregonians, if you haven’t turned in your ballot yet, this is my personal plea to vote YES on Measure 109 so our state can move forward with medical psilocybin therapy. Psilocybin therapy has shown promising results in treating anxiety and depression and the passage of 109 will make Oregon a pioneering leader on medical psilocybin, similar to how our great state was one of the early adopters of medicinal cannabis.
PBS reported on a study detailing the potential of “medical mushrooms” helping patients’ anxiety:
Dr. Stephen Ross, the psychiatrist who led the NYU study, says he knew nothing of that history until a colleague, Dr. Jeffrey Guss, brought it up just a few years ago. “When I took a closer look, it astounded me,” says Ross. “It involved some of the best psychiatric minds of the day, and it was a complete new paradigm of care, with the idea of mystical states at its core.”
While the notion of a “mystical state” sounds fuzzy, researchers have developed a scale, the Mystical Experience Questionnaire, or MEQ30, to try and quantify it.On the MEQ30, participants are asked questions such as whether they’ve had “experience of unity with the ultimate reality,” or “awareness of the life or living presence in all things.” In the recent studies, a higher score on the MEQ30 – more mystical, as it were – correlated strongly to improvement.
In an earlier study at Hopkins, a majority of healthy volunteers who took psilocybin rated the occasion among the five most meaningful experiences of their life. These people were simply spending the afternoon in a room at a medical clinic, accompanied by two near-strangers. And yet, the sense of deep meaning comes up again and again.
Folks unfamiliar with psilocybin really only need to be educated about the promising benefits of the treatment, as well as the relatively safety of it. Measure 109 take a very methodical, careful approach that phases in the psilocybin treatment system over a two year span. The 109 campaign has done a great job racking up some prominent mainstream support that has helped spread the word.
Some people experienced with psilocybin have expressed concerns to me about the regulations established and the fact that 109 doesn’t decriminalize personal use outside of a treatment facility. Those of us that have long understood the need to end the failed and futile War on Drugs can be upset about reform measures not going far enough, or by the implementation of regulations.
However, in my personal opinion, we need to move forward with proposals that improve upon the status quo. Measures that make the ballot are compromises that won’t please everyone that could potentially be supportive, but no major reform law is going to please everyone. Patients from all walks of life, including our veteran heroes suffering from post-traumatic stress, could use a new therapy, especially when pharmaceutical drugs haven’t helped them. Please vote YES on 109 and we can continue to work on improving the law over the coming years.