The state agency overseeing Oregon’s historic legalization of medical mushrooms has released the first draft of regulations. ‘Shroom varietals? Not so much — of the 200+ strains of psilocybin mushrooms, use will be restricted to the widely-used psilocybe cubensis. Synthetic psilocybin? That's also not happening, at least in the early version of the rules.
Restrictions on synthetic ‘shrooms are thought to be a boon to small mushroom farmers (one that comes right on time, given the precedent of the consolidating and crowded Oregon cannabis market), reported Oregon Public Broadcasting: “In practical terms, that means it may be harder for large pharmaceutical companies to come into Oregon with a cheap pill and potentially dominate the market.”
It’s not simple business, constructing the world’s first state-level medicinal mushroom industry. The draft of the regulations was created by an advisory board of myriad health experts, scientists, public officials, and psychedelics advocates.
The rules have not officially been adopted yet by the Oregon Health Authority, and remain incomplete on certain issues. Among the questions that remain includes microdosing. The practice of taking too-small-to-get-you-high doses of psilocybin has not been sufficiently researched yet and was not the focus of the ballot measure campaign that voters approved — it is the subject of a rift in opinions among members of the state’s mushroom advisory board, however.
Similar to regulations widely implemented in the production of licensed cannabis products, no Oregonian psychedelics products will be permitted in kid-friendly shapes, like animals or other characters, or in forms like inhalers or suppositories. Likewise banned are products that combine psychedelics with alcohol, cannabis, or other potentially addictive substances. Every lot of mushrooms destined for medicinal use must be tracked and tested for potency and potential contaminants.
Dung-grown psychedelic ‘shrooms are also not included in the new regulations for fear of transmitting harmful bacteria, like E coli. Mushrooms grown on wood will also be prohibited because they may “produce chemicals of unknown structure that cause temporary paralysis,” according to a 2021 report from the advisory board.
Mushroom facilitators, or the people trained to trip-sit and provide care during the session, are required to complete a minimum of 120-hours of training in the draft of the regulations. These will include in-person trip observation, plus lessons on safety issues, and the cultural social, and racial context of psychedelic mushrooms.
An equity subcommittee of the advisory board was formed to ensure that cultures known for preserving the knowledge of mushrooms are respected in the state’s historic medicinal infrastructure. Its members include activists like Elan Hagens and Rebecca Martínez, co-founders of the BIPOC-oriented, psychedelic-advocating Fruiting Bodies collective. Last month, lawmakers introduced a bill that would build out the equity subcommittee’s infrastructure and ensure that its issues receive ongoing focus.
Oregon voters approved the legalization of psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use in 2020 via Measure 109 aka: the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act by 56 percent. The ballot measure authorizes the implementation of a medicinal mushroom system, which will open to business license applications in January 2023.
Additionally, the state is soliciting opinions from the public in the form of a community survey and public comment sessions during advisory board meetings, the next of which takes place on February 23.