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What to know about psilocybin services

Psilocybin 101: What to know about Oregon’s psilocybin services

 

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psilocybin services, Oregon voters approved Measure 109 in 2020. The Oregon Psilocybin Services Act is the first law in the United States that establishes a regulatory framework for receiving psilocybin, also known as psychedelic mushrooms.

“This can be a life-changing opportunity for many people’s health and well-being,” said Angela Allbee, manager for the Oregon Psilocybin Services Program. “It gives communities a health and wellness option that might better align with their cultural needs.”

The law requires the state to issue four license types: manufacturers that cultivate and/or process psilocybin products; laboratories that test psilocybin products; facilitators who support clients through preparation, administration and integration sessions; and service centers where psilocybin products are sold to and consumed by clients in a supported setting. OHA is in the process of issuing those licenses to applicants, and you can see that progress here.

All four licenses must be in place before psilocybin administration sessions can be made available to clients. Oregon Psilocybin Services expects the first psilocybin service centers in Oregon to open their doors in 2023.

Allbee says that there are more than 90 pages of administrative rules that have been adopted to ensure client safety, access and equity.

“We are applying a trauma-informed and equity-centered lens as we administer this work and are working to emphasize client safety and access. Culturally responsive and equity centered services may reduce harm to clients that have experienced trauma from societal structures that have exhibited control through power and privilege, implicit bias, and institutional racism. Psilocybin services may not be for everyone, but we are committed to ensuring that partners, communities and members of the public have access to information.” Allbee said.

We asked Allbee a series of questions to help us better understand what legal psilocybin services in Oregon look like.

What is psilocybin used for, and are there different types for different needs?

Psilocybin is a naturally occurring psychedelic compound found in more than 200 species of mushrooms that grow naturally around the world. For centuries, Indigenous and Tribal communities across the globe have used psilocybin for spiritual, ceremonial and other purposes.

Psilocybin services will soon be an option in Oregon. However, psilocybin is still a Schedule I substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act.

Research suggests psilocybin may help address depression, anxiety, trauma and addiction. Studies have also found it may increase spiritual well-being. To learn more about the research on psilocybin benefits and risks, see the 2021 Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board Rapid Evidence Review and Cultural and Anthropological Information.

How is Oregon’s legalization of psilocybin different from our legalization of marijuana?

Although cannabis can be purchased at a dispensary and taken home for consumption, the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act is not a dispensary model. Psilocybin products cannot be purchased and taken off site for personal consumption. To access psilocybin services, clients must be 21 and older. Although a prescription or referral is not required, clients must complete a preparation session with a licensed facilitator before consuming psilocybin products at a licensed service center.

The Oregon psilocybin services model is not product centered. Instead, it focuses on clients accessing psilocybin services as a health and wellness option that begins with preparation, includes support before, during, and after administration sessions, and concludes with follow-up integration sessions. It is the continuum of care that is foundational to healing and wellness. In addition, licensed facilitators may bring diverse lived and professional experience that create opportunities to provide culturally responsive psilocybin services to communities around the state.

What form will the psilocybin be administered in?

There will be numerous ways to consume psilocybin, all of which rely on natural cultivation and processing.

  • Clients may eat dried, whole mushrooms.
  • Clients may drink tea.
  • Clients may consume edible food products, such as chocolate.
  • Clients may swallow capsules that contain ground homogenized fungi.
  • Clients may consume an extract.

What are the steps someone needs to take to use psilocybin under the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act?

The first step is to meet with a licensed facilitator for a preparation session. You can search for a licensed service center or licensed facilitator using our licensee directory. The prep session includes gathering information about you—the “client”—and reviewing and discussing the Client Bill of Rights, Client-Informed Consent, Safety and Support Planning, interpretation or accessibility needs, data sharing, and what to expect during and after the administration session. The facilitator will also discuss transportation planning because you will not be able to drive, ride a bike or operate heavy machinery after your administration session. You do not need a prescription or referral from a health care provider, but the facilitator can deny access for any reason. For example, if you have been diagnosed with active psychosis, take lithium or have taken lithium within the past 30 days, or if you have ideation of harm to yourself or others, the facilitator will deny access. There are other times when the facilitator might refer you to a medical or clinical provider, especially if you take a number of prescription medications or have complex diagnoses. If you and the facilitator both agree to move forward, they will help schedule an administration session at a licensed psilocybin service center. At the administration session, you purchase the psilocybin product from the licensed service center and consume it yourself in the presence of a licensed facilitator. After the administration session, you will be offered follow-up integration sessions to review safety and support plans, and to be referred to community resources and peer-support networks.

For more information on this process, check out the Access Psilocybin Services page on our website.

Will someone be there to help me during the administration session?

Yes, a licensed facilitator will support you in your journey. The Oregon Psilocybin Services Act ensures that psilocybin services will be non-directive, which means that licensed facilitators will not direct you or psychoanalyze you while you are in an altered state. They will help calm you, make you comfortable, and be present with you through the entire session but will not interfere with your experience unless you need additional support. For example, facilitators are allowed to engage in appropriate touch, such as on the hand or shoulder, and perhaps a hug, but only if that is agreed up on before the administration session. If you have toileting, mobility, assistive device support or interpretation needs, a client-support person may be allowed to be present with you for an administration session, but they would have to be prepared for the administration session by a licensed facilitator to learn about informed consent, the Client Bill of Rights, and how not to interfere with a session while supporting a client with specific accessibility needs.

How long are administration sessions?

After consuming psilocybin, a client must remain at the licensed service center for a specific duration of time, which is based on how much psilocybin product they consume. The client and facilitator both determine when it is safe to be released from the administration session, and the licensed facilitator will check on the client within 72 hours of the administration session and offer follow-up integration sessions.

How much will it cost?

Insurance will not cover psilocybin services at this time. Oregon Psilocybin Services does not set or regulate the cost of products or services. Each licensed service center, and the licensed facilitators who work for or with them, will set their own costs and manage their own operations and communications.

As part of our commitment to equity-centered psilocybin services, Oregon Psilocybin Services has adopted rules that require all licensees to submit social equity plans. This means that licensees could offer sliding-scale prices based on income or charge less to certain communities. That is up to the licensee, but when they renew their license every year, licensees must demonstrate how they have reached their social equity goals.

Additionally, we expect higher-dose administration sessions and one-on-one administration sessions to cost a bit more, and lower-dose administration sessions and group administration sessions to cost less. We have heard lots of different potential ranges. Some service centers may focus on affordability, while others may have pricier, luxury retreat-style models.

Will psilocybin services be available in all corners of Oregon, or will people have to travel?

Many people in Oregon will have to travel to access psilocybin services. The Oregon Psilocybin Services Act allows city or county governments to adopt ordinances prohibiting manufacturers and service centers from operating in their local jurisdictions. Proposed ordinances must be referred to voters at the next statewide general election, and if voters approve the ordinances, we are unable to issue any licenses there. Some ordinances have been temporary opt-outs, some have been permanent bans, some have prohibited both service centers and manufacturers, and some have been for just one or the other. You can go to the local government information section of our website to find out what is happening in your city or county.

Do you have to live in Oregon to access psilocybin services here? No. In fact, people all over the nation, and in other countries, have expressed interest in coming to Oregon to experience our psilocybin services. Even though there are unregulated psilocybin services in other countries where psilocybin is not illegal, many people want to come to Oregon because of the safety aspect. This model is highly regulated by comparison and may give people comfort knowing that the model has prioritized client safety. People want to know that abuses are being prevented in regulation. If there are complaints or they think that a licensee is violating one of our statute or rule requirements, they can lodge a complaint by phone, email or online, and if it is within our purview, we will investigate. We want to ensure that our regulated community is well educated and informed about requirements. But if a situation is egregious or violations are not resolved, we could impose civil penalties or revoke licenses. Hopefully, this will never be needed.

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