Mushrooms have come a long way in recent decades. Varieties once only found in nature can be cultivated, like Cordyceps, so their nutritive and functional properties are easier to access and more affordable. More farmers are growing mushrooms, so we can find Lion’s Mane at our neighborhood markets — not only in the woods. And more people are turning to nature and using mushrooms to support their emotional and physical health and well-being.* That’s one reason we were excited to learn that Oregon Measure 109 passed on Election Day 2020.
Mushrooms have been used for millennia to support various aspects of health, and the mushrooms we choose to use in our products have deep histories of traditional use bolstered by scientific research around the world.* However, those aren’t the only mushrooms with supportive qualities.* Oregon Measure 109 looked at a mushroom with a rich, deep history of use in religious rituals across Central America. Despite that cultural significance, these mushrooms have been outlawed in the US and other countries in modern times.
We are talking about psilocybin mushroom, sometimes called “magic mushroom.” However, using that term erases the profound cultural context of this mushroom, as well as the impact it can have on those who take it. And, as we’re seeing with the passage of Oregon Measure 109, many people have changed their lives and supported their health by taking it.* The well-known journalism Michael Pollan even wrote a book in which he documented what happened when he tried psilocybin, called How to Change Your Mind.
Psilocybin is a group of compounds found in some mushrooms that have the ability to alter “thoughts, perceptions, and emotions.”
What is Oregon Measure 109?
Recently, proponents for psilocybin have lobbied for it to be legalized so it may be used to treat conditions like addiction or depression.* Oregon Measure 109 legalized the mushroom as a “breakthrough treatment for anxiety and depression.”* The initiative was supported by experts, veterans, and residents in over 300 Oregon cities.
Those in favor said that passing it would:
The measure’s supporters cited dozens of mainstream national news stories on the use of psilocybin for emotional well-being. Professionals say that using this substance under the supervision of a trained expert can lead to breakthroughs — and with so many people living with mental health challenges, they felt it was important to offer this therapy. In studies, psilocybin has helped people cope with addiction, trauma, and more.
How Does Oregon Measure 109 Work?
Here’s the tricky part, according to those behind Oregon Measure 109: “Measure 109 depends on cooperation from the federal government to succeed because even after Measure 109 passes, psilocybin will still be illegal federally. In the past, the federal government has allowed states, including Oregon, to update drug laws even though the changes conflict with federal law. We anticipate the federal government will be similarly flexible regarding Oregon’s psilocybin therapy program – a program which would actually serve federal anti-drug abuse objectives by prohibiting sales of psilocybin to the public while offering psilocybin therapy only at state licensed facilities. Our intention is to foster an atmosphere of cooperation in which federal representatives are invited to provide input as Oregon develops its psilocybin licensing system.”
Thankfully, it passed, with 55% of voters supporting Oregon Measure 109 (also called the Psilocybin Services Act).
Only adults age 21 and older will be able to partake in these programs, which will be overseen by health professionals. As the supporters stated, the mushroom is still illegal on a federal level. Don’t expect this program to start ASAP, however. Oregon Measure 109 gives the state’s health authority two years to develop a program, which they will oversee with the assistance of an Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board. The Oregon Health Authority will set guidelines like dosage standards, labeling, package rules, and more.
While it might be tempting to make light of stories like this, it’s important to see things from the perspective of those who might seek this substance for support.* Addiction and mental health impact so many families and individuals — Oregon Measure 109 hopes to offer another path to health and emotional well-being.
We are always interested in learning more about how people use the natural world to guide their path to health and well-being — whether that’s a mushroom, a plant, or something else.