Also known as “magic mushrooms”, psilocybin is gaining mainstream recognition following its recognition in Colorado in 2022.
The plan of the University of Colorado Anschtz Medical Campus is to conduct the first modern-era psilocybin clinical test for depression. The hospital is collaborating with the FDA on the study despite it being classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic.
At present, psilocybin mushrooms are grouped with illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine.
Jared Polis, Governor of Colorado, signed a bill allowing the growth and sharing of magic mushrooms, along with the establishment of regulated therapy centers.
Initial changes are expected by early next year, though Colorado’s system for the legal use of psilocybin will take years to fully implement. The commitment of Governor Polis is to deliver on the will of the voters and ensure a smooth implementation process.
In order to establish licensed centers for psilocybin use, enabling legislation will be required. The 2023 Psychedelic Science Conference, to be held in Denver, expects around 10,000 attendees, including notable speakers from various fields. The focus of the UC Health Study will be on the efficacy of psilocybin in treating treatment-resistant depression. Only 66% received treatment, though approximately 8% of adults in the US experienced at least one depressive episode.
The aim of the UC Health Study is to improve access to treatment and develop new medications for depression. The removal of criminal penalties for possession will be the result of the impending decriminalization of psilocybin, which contains mushrooms and other psychedelics. Already, there has been no criminal penalty for possession under state and local laws since January 4, 2023. Under the provisions of the law, individuals over 21 are able to possess and use natural medicines like psilocybin, DMT, ibogaine, and mescaline. With restrictions for individuals under 21, one can grow psychedelic mushrooms and certain plants in private residences. Transportation, processing, and gifting of these drugs for personal use will be legal. After the drug laws are relaxed, anticipated black-market sales may pose challenges for law reinforcement.
The potential increase in driving under the influence of psilocybin and the associated risks are cause for concern. The application of federal prohibitions on psilocybin and other drugs in Colorado may potentially lead to conflicts with federal authorities. As “healing centers” may be established, retail sales of psilocybin will not be permitted. Supervised use of psilocybin and psilocin will be allowed in healing centers expected to open in a year. Important considerations for the future of healing centers are data privacy, cost, availability, and location.