Colorado Becomes Second State to Legalize Psychedelic Mushrooms

by Staff Writer
November 11, 2022 at 10:27 AM UTC

Colorado becomes the second state to legalize magic mushrooms.

Clinical Relevance: Psilocybin mushrooms, now legal in Colorado and Oregon, may be useful in treatment resistant depression.

  • Colorado said yes to Proposition 122, which legalizes the medically supervised use of psilocybin.
  • A phase 2 trial demonstrated the benefit and side effects of psilocybin therapy in treatment resistant depression.
  • A phase 3 trial will begin next month to further study the pros and cons of the hallucinogenic drug.

This article was updated on January 3rd, 2023 to reflect new information.

Oregon rang in the new year by becoming the first state to allow adult use of psilocybin “magic” mushrooms. In 2020, Oregon legalized psilocybin through a ballot initiative known as Measure 109, which makes it legal for Oregonians and tourists aged 21 and older to access legal psilocybin-based medications in controlled and therapeutic settings throughout the state. However, as the law allowed, 25 counties and over 100 cities voted to opt out of the regulation. The treatment is now legal in 20 of Oregon’s most populated cities and in 11 counties where the measure passed. Keep reading to see what is happening in Colorado which recently passed a similar law, and with psilocybin in general.

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Psychedelic mushrooms are having a moment.

Earlier this week, Colorado became the second state to legalize their use. 

Proposition 122, which passed by a razor-thin margin, would allow people to consume psilocybin mushrooms in designated healing centers across the state, reported the Colorado Sun. The election day ballot measure eked out a victory with 51 percent of the vote in favor of legalization. Psilocybin is the active hallucinogenic compound contained in the mushrooms.

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“Colorado voters saw the benefit of regulated access to natural medicines, including psilocybin, so people with PTSD, terminal illness, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues can heal,” co-proponents Kevin Matthews and Veronica Lightening Horse Perez said in an emailed statement to the news site.

In 2020, Oregon became the first state to legalize the use of psilocybin under medical supervision. However, the Oregon measure allows counties to opt out of the program if voters so choose. 

Meanwhile, studies suggesting the benefits of psilocybin to mental health are rolling in.

The British pharmaceutical company COMPASS Pathways announced it would conduct the largest-ever clinical trial of the hallucinogenic compound.

Set to begin in December, the study will be the first phase 3 clinical study of psilocybin, following up on the promising results of a phase 2 trial by the same group. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the data showed benefit to some patients with treatment resistant depression who did not respond to at least four other antidepressants. 

A single, 25 mg dose of the psilocybin therapy led to a greater reduction in subjects’ depression symptoms three weeks after treatment, compared to those given a 1 mg dose. Success in the upcoming phase 3 trial would clear a path to approval by the Food and Drug Administration.

Treatment with psilocybin is not without its downsides, however. For example, 84 percent of participants in the 25 mg dose group, 75 percent in the 10 mg dose group, and 72 percent in the 1 mg dose group of the phase 2 trial reported side effects including headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Suicidal ideation and intentional self-injury were reported by participants across all dose groups.

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