America's first licensed health clinic to sell 'magic mushrooms' opened in June in Oregon and has been swamped with surging demand. The waitlist for the clinic exceeds 3,000 people, some of whom are searching for ways to treat depression and PTSD.
No prescription or referral is needed for Epic Healing Eugene, but customers must be over 21 to receive psilocybin services.
AP News said some customers complained the 'mind-bending' experience is too costly:
"A client can wind up paying over $2,000, which helps cover service center expenses, a facilitator and lab-tested psilocybin. Annual licenses for service centers and growers cost $10,000, with a half-price discount for veterans."
Even though The Oregon Psychiatric Physicians Association opposed legalizing psilocybin in 2020, voters thought otherwise and also decriminalized the possession of hard drugs.
Epic Healing Eugene's owner Cathy Jonas told AP that providing legal access to mushrooms is a 'dream come true':
"The plant medicines have communicated to me that I'm supposed to be doing this thing."
State regulators decided that 50-milligram doses would be allowed. Jonas said she offers 35 milligrams of pure psilocybin or about 6 grams of dried mushrooms.
Each customer must consume the shrooms in the vicinity of Epic Healing Eugene and must remain on the property until the drug wears off. So forget about tripping in the forest with friends.
One of Jonas' customers described being in a "kind of infinite-dimension fractal that just kept turning and twisting" after consuming 35 milligrams of shrooms.
"It was kind of mesmerizing to watch, but it got so intense," said the client, who didn't want to be identified to protect his privacy.
The client continued, "I started to have this experience of dying and being reborn. And then I would kind of see large portions of my life going by in a very rapid way."
Several studies have revealed psilocybin is a possible treatment for psychiatric disorders.
Roland Griffiths, a professor who studies the neuropsychopharmacology of consciousness at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, received approval in 2000 to carry out the first experiments on psilocybin since the 1960s. He found in a survey of early study participants that more than half regarded it as one of the most meaningful experiences of their life.
"The mystical experience itself does seem to be really important for therapeutic effects, but we published survey data to suggest it's not actually the mystical experience itself, but the personal insights you can encounter or gain during that mystical experience that actually lead to therapeutic change," Barrett said, adding, "The idea here is that mystical experience can create the opportunity for personal insights."
Since then, other more recent studies have shown promise in using psilocybin-assisted therapy to treat psychiatric disorders like depression. Some have been used to identify their usefulness in smoking cessation (alongside talk therapy). They have also shown some usefulness in alleviating anxiety in people with terminal cancer.
Another study, one published last week, found that the psychedelic drug MDMA can reduce symptoms of PTSD:
"It's the first innovation in PTSD treatment in more than two decades. And it's significant because I think it will also open up other innovation," said Amy Emerson, CEO of MAPS Public Benefit Corporation, the research sponsor.
Before the Food and Drug Administration can prescribe MDMA, the Drug Enforcement Administration would need to change its classification from Schedule 1 to have "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse."
Psilocybin is still illegal federally, but several states are considering adopting Oregon's decriminalizing approach to drugs.