By Cara Murez
Health Day Reporter
MONDAY, November 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Colorado voters narrowly voted to authorize the medicinal use of “magic mushrooms” in Colorado.
“I’m impressed with what we’ve been able to achieve,” said Veronica Lightning Horse Perez, a leading advocate for the legalization of psilocybin, the main psychoactive compound in mushrooms. “Over a million people voted yes for it. To think that a lot of people see the value of these drugs, that a lot of people know they can be used to heal – that’s huge.”
In 2018, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration called psilocybin a “breakthrough therapy” that has accelerated the development of drugs containing the compound.
Psilocybin may have potential to treat a variety of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), drug addiction, and eating disorders. Clinical trials to explore this further are ongoing.
A movement to legalize psilocybin is growing: voters in Oregon approved legalizing its therapeutic use in 2020, while it was decriminalized in Washington, DC and more than a dozen other cities. NBC News reported.
Another 19 states have passed laws legalizing their possession, although none have yet been approved. These include Missouri, Iowa and Kansas. More than a dozen other states are trying to further study its health benefits, including Florida, NBC News reported.
Meanwhile, the Hawaii State Senate has approved the creation of a task force that plans to make the drug available to adults as a mental health treatment. Connecticut adjusted its state budget to fund programs that would use the drug when working with veterans and retired first responders.
The Oklahoma House of Representatives is introducing a bill to the Senate to authorize scientific research into psilocybin. It would enable government-run clinical trials for adults with certain medical conditions, NBC News reported.
“More and more people are beginning to recognize and understand that psychedelic therapy is not a radical field. It’s becoming more mainstream,” said Oklahoma State Assemblyman Daniel Pae, who co-authored the law NBC News.
Texas has already passed a similar law to study the drug.
In the meantime, psilocybin remains illegal at the federal level and in most states. NBC News reported.
Importantly, the new Colordao law does not allow retail sale or use in a variety of circumstances including schools, in public, or while driving a vehicle.
Denver-based addiction counselor Kevin Franciotti told it NBC News that the action gives Colorado “the opportunity to be a leader in steering American drug policy in the right direction.”
Still, opponents of the Colorado measure demanded not to pre-empt FDA approval.
“I hope the rest of the country can learn the hard lessons of my state’s push,” said Luke Niforatos, who heads two national organizations that have opposed the measure. “As the years go by, and as we learn more about this experiment, hopefully we’ll say we’re going to let the FDA and scientists run the medicine, not companies.”
The National Library of Medicine has more on psilocybin as a therapeutic.
SOURCE: NBC News