Washington Senate bill seeks to legalize psilocybin for therapeutic use | Lifestyle

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Like the state of Oregon, Washington could be the latest state to legalize psilocybin, or “magic mushrooms,” for therapeutic use.

But unlike Oregon, the Washington legislature is hearing a Senate bill on the proposal.

Senate Bill 5263 draws some parallels to the Oregon law, but also has some differences.

On Monday morning, the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee heard testimony from the bill’s sponsors and people for and against the proposed law.

“This proposal holds a lot of promise for mental health support,” Sen. Jesse Salomon believes the bill could end Washington’s ongoing mental health and drug abuse crisis.

He is one of the sponsors of the bill.

“This creates a consumer-oriented, supervised protected service for people, so first it’s not a recreational bill of sale, this is a drug that’s different from marijuana,” he said.

SB 5362 would not require clients to have a specific diagnosis to receive psilocybin treatment. Furthermore, clinics are not the only places that could administer the drug, private residences, veterans’ facilities and houses of worship could also apply for a license to administer psilocybin.

Several people testified during the hearing supporting the potential mental health benefits of regulated psilocybin use, and one researcher even pointed to the benefits of ending drug addiction.

“We’re finding that psilocybin is incredibly effective in treating substance use disorders, along with many other mental health disorders, and we’re also seeing efficacy rates between 42-60% when treating substance use disorder with some of these preliminary disturbances,” UW researcher Kody. Zalewski said.

The bill was met with much support, even a doctor in the Netherlands testified in favor of the magic mushroom.

But others, like psychiatrist Dr. Avanti Bergquist, hope some language in the bill will be changed.

“First, there is not yet conclusive evidence that psilocybin can be used as a medicine, the medication needs conclusive evidence to ensure that it is definitely helpful and not harmful,” she said, adding that psilocybin should be listed as a “potential” treatment , “we. request that a psychiatrist with substance use treatment or psilocybin research be included on the advisory board.”

Bergquist also asked bill sponsors to make sure potential customers are informed about research on the benefits and risks of psilocybin use.

The Washington State Department of Health would also have to do a lot of work if SB 5362 passes.

It should establish an advisory board, oversee the facilitator and facility licensing, and ensure that there is a system to track mushrooms from the grower to the user.

One thought was to adapt the Council’s tracking system for alcohol and cannabis.

“And after consultation with the LCB we understand that the cannabis tracking system is not fit for purpose,” said Lacey Fehrenbach of the DOH.

Still, many advocates, including veterans, hope psilocybin becomes a treatment option in Washington.

“I know some of you think this is a little outside the box, and it is, but the Marine Corps taught me to be adaptable and think outside the box, and that’s exactly what we need to do to solve this mental health issue. crunch,” veteran Corey Champagne said.

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