YAMPA VALLEY — After Colorado voters narrowly passed Proposition 122, or access to natural psychedelics, training is progressing for several clinicians at the Minds in Motion Integrative Care Clinic in Steamboat Springs to offer supervised services with mushrooms psychedelics in 2024.
Angela Melzer, owner of Minds in Motion, said the state’s timeline for implementing Proposition 122-approved psychedelic-assisted mental health therapy measures is late 2024, but providers have “a lot of work to be done by then”.
A key step in offering psychedelic mushrooms to adults 21 and older in licensed facilities is the creation of a regulatory structure for those facilities by DORA, or the Department of State Regulatory Agencies. Colorado Governor Jared Polis will also appoint a 15-member advisory board.
Additionally, providers must undergo training, which some Minds in Motion staff have started through an organization called MAPS, or Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, headquartered in San Jose, California, Melzer said.
“I believe in medicine and I feel like it can be helpful and supportive for people, so let’s de-stigmatize it by writing and talking and sharing articles to show how effective it is,” said Cristen Malia, mental health clinical advisor at Minds in Motion.
Proposition 122 also decriminalizes the personal possession, cultivation, and sharing of five natural psychedelic substances by people 21 and older, but sales remain illegal. The use of psychedelics also remains illegal under federal law.
The use of psychedelic mushrooms was decriminalized in Denver in 2019, and Colorado joins Oregon as the second state to decriminalize mushrooms and establish a regulated industry for herbal psychedelic drugs.
Steve Walls of A&S Counseling in Craig said the group practice with four trauma-focused counselors will participate in psychedelic mushroom training.
“If it’s going to be legal in Colorado, we need to have the ability to provide quality aftercare,” said Walls, whose group will study research to see if they’ll offer the treatment service as an accredited facility.
Recent voter approval provides opportunities for legal, supervised use of the therapy, primarily for patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or anxiety. Researchers are also investigating use for patients with terminal cancer or in palliative care.
Professor Scott Thompson, director of the Center for Novel Therapeutics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, said that although his research studies and other show the effectiveness of using psychedelic mushrooms, the voter-approved measure has many vague issues that need to be addressed. He mentioned some concerns such as regulation of product quality and processing as well as time and expense for treatments that are not covered by medical insurance. The professor also asked if facilities that receive federal funding will be able to prescribe the drug.
The state law references two substances – psilocybin and psilocin – found in psychedelic mushrooms as well as three other herbal psychedelics that the state could expand for use in 2026, such as mescaline. derived from the peyote cactus.
Thompson’s biggest concern is proper supervision of psychedelic mushroom use in a controlled situation, as the normal dosage provides a potent experience for up to six to eight hours. The mind-altering substance can take people to dark places where a professional therapist should be on hand to help the patient’s process.
“It certainly seems safer and more prudent to use these potent substances under the watchful eye of trained facilitators as defined by law,” Thompson noted.
The professor said the use of psychedelic mushrooms “is not for everyone”, especially for patients with bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. He said that patients should be properly counseled by a professional facilitator so that they are not frightened by psychotropic effects such as visual alterations.
“It’s incredibly powerful. You no longer control your thought process. The risk of a bad trip is real, and that’s why people have found they need a preparatory session before using this drug,” the professor said. “People say it’s one of the most powerful and meaningful experiences they’ve ever had.”
“The promise of psychedelic medicine is incredible,” said Thompson, who has worked in research for four years. “There is no doubt that the talk therapy part is an incredible benefit and absolutely an essential part of the law.”
In general, the research shows that “the side effects are pretty minimal and these are remarkably safe compounds,” Thompson said, noting that psychedelic mushrooms aren’t addictive.
Malia agrees that patients may have to go through “difficult things while traveling” with psychedelic mushroom treatments. She noted that experience can be effective if delivered in the right way to reduce symptoms of mental health issues and support people through trauma.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty now about how we can deliver it, but it’s going in the right direction,” she said.
This story comes from SteamboatPilot.com.
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