Washington State citizens can rejoice to know their elected officials are making waves in the mental health world. Last month, a pair of Washington State lawmakers introduced new legislation that would legalize “supported psilocybin experiences” in those who are 21 years old and older.
If it goes through, the Psilocybin Wellness and Opportunity Act will make it legal for Washington residents to consume products that contain psilocybin and psilocin under the supervision of a trained and state-licensed psilocybin service administrator.
Psilocybin and psilocin are two of the main active ingredients in psychedelic mushrooms. In recent years, there has been an increase in interest in the potential therapeutic uses of psilocybin in a controlled environment.
Various medical institutions, both national and international, have shown that psilocybin can help treat “a variety of behavioral health conditions,” per Senate Bill 5660 that is sponsored by Sens. Jesse Salomon (D) and Liz Lovelette (D), “including but not limited to addiction, depression, anxiety disorders, and end-of-life psychological distress.”
Hope is possible for those who have otherwise believed themselves to be “treatment-resistant.”
When asked about the “magic” mushrooms in question, Salomon said, “It sounds kind of ‘magical,’ but the research is pretty positive. It’s pretty amazing and hard to believe the long-term success for addiction recovery, depression, and anxiety that we’re seeing.”
The way it works is that psychedelic drugs break down barriers in the brain, allowing for new communication networks. This neuroplasticity makes it easier for people to understand and break bad habits and opens their minds to new ways of learning.
Washington State isn’t new to the innovative treatment field for mental health conditions. Psychedelic ketamine use has already been legal for some time in treating depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, etc.
Bill 5660 would differ from the state’s ketamine use, however. If this bill passes, it would mean that residents would not need a doctor or licensed counselor to prescribe psilocybin.
“Native, Indigenous societies have been doing this for thousands of years,” said Salomon. “We have to give them a way for their traditional shamans and practitioners to do this. We don’t want the barrier to be too high because asking someone to be a traditional healer and a Ph.D. is asking a lot of anyone.”
The bill is expected to appear before the legislature’s health care committee soon. Check back for updates.
Kaeli Swaggerty holds a B.A. in English from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Connect with her about bringing awareness to mental health issues on LinkedIn.
Wilkinson, Eric. “Bill to Legalize Psilocybin for Therapeutic Use Introduced in Washington.” king5.Com, 25 Jan. 2022, https://www.king5.com/article/news/politics/state-politics/psilocybin-magic-mushrooms-legalization-bill-introduced/281-3849f67f-0695-483b-8353-6b2d09afce2d.
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