Doctors, researchers, therapists, and health experts to create regulatory structure for supervised, therapeutic use of psilocybin products
Salem, OR—Correction: Mason Marks will sit on the advisory board as an academic researcher. An earlier version of this announcement misidentified his profession as a naturopath.
As required under Ballot Measure 109, approved by voters last November, Governor Kate Brown today announced the members of the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board. Included on the board are top doctors and researchers from Oregon Health & Science University, fungi experts from Oregon State University, therapists, health experts, and community-oriented licensed clinical social workers.
The board will be charged with following the best available science and data to create Oregon’s regulatory framework for the supervised, therapeutic use of psilocybin products. Clinical studies, including research from Johns Hopkins University
, and NYU
, have shown promising results using such treatment methods for people suffering from anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
“Like many, I was initially skeptical when I first heard of Measure 109,” said Governor Brown. “But if we can help people suffering from PTSD, depression, trauma and addiction––including veterans, cancer patients, and others––supervised psilocybin therapy is a treatment worthy of further consideration.”
“I’d like to thank the leading experts in medicine and treatment who have stepped forward to serve on this first-in-the-nation board. In Oregon, we follow science, and we center equity in everything we do. I have directed the board to take steps to ensure equitable access to this therapy for anyone who might benefit from treatment, including Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Tribal and communities of color.”
The Psilocybin Advisory Board will meet by March 31, as required by Measure 109. In addition to designated agency positions, the ballot measure required that the board have seats designated for researchers, harm reduction specialists, physicians, naturopaths, and psychologists. The measure outlines a two-year implementation period. The Governor’s Recommended Budget for 2021-23 contains $5.6 million for Measure 109 implementation.
“Measure 109, and the appointment of the Psilocybin Advisory Board, represent a unique opportunity to carefully evaluate the therapeutic role of psilocybin in clinical practice,” said Todd Korthuis, M.D., M.P.H., professor of medicine (general internal medicine and geriatrics) in the OHSU School of Medicine. “Much like myself, healthcare providers and researchers worldwide are eager for the answers this Board can provide to help develop a framework for more accessible and effective therapies to treat serious illness.”
"I am proud that Oregon continues to be a leader in evidence-based approaches to help improve the health and well-being of its communities, and look forward to working with the other highly-qualified members of the Board to ensure that science guides our implementation of Measure 109," said Atheir Abbas, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience and psychiatry in the OHSU School of Medicine.
“My expertise in fungal diversity and biology research will aide in developing best practices to monitor, evaluate and quantify the Psilocybin and mushroom production industries over time,” said Jessie Uehling, an assistant professor of fungal biology at Oregon State University. “My insights into which fungi have Psilocybin and similar compounds, and how the mushrooms produce these compounds, will be helpful when making policies around isolating and quantifying Psilocybin.”
"I am thrilled to have been selected to serve on the Oregon Psilocybin Advisory Board to help ensure that terminally and seriously-ill Oregonians will have access to psilocybin therapy," said Barb Hansen, CEO of the Oregon Hospice and Palliative Care Association. "Each year over 22,000 Oregonians receive hospice care, and while we have many tools to address the physical pain that comes with terminal diagnoses, we lack tools to address the severe mental anguish so many of these Oregonains face. Studies show psilocybin therapy may help, and that means it’s essential that everyone receiving Hospice and Palliative Care is represented when the Psilocybin Advisory Board considers research, rules and safety considerations. I look forward to being a part of the board that can guide more to the healing they need."
“For decades Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people in Oregon and the United States have suffered disproportionate psychological trauma as a result of the ‘War on Drugs,’ a systemic phenomenon that continues to directly and negatively impact all determinants of health in these communities,” said Dr. Rachel Knox, co-founder for the Cannabis Health Equity Movement and chair of the Association for Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine (ACHEM). “Ironically, this criminalized the use of plant substances with notable industrial, medical, and spiritual utility. Psilocybin has been used in the healing and spiritual practices of Indigenous communities for a long time. Much of what we know about psilocybin comes from Indigenous knowledge, a fact that is too often overlooked.
“There is a real danger that, if lawmakers and regulators do not center Oregon’s psilocybin regulatory framework in health equity—from treatment access to leadership and representation to economic opportunity to education to harm reduction––that Indigenous people and communities of color will not have equitable access to its therapeutic benefits. Given the therapeutic potential of psilocybin to treat the very trauma the War on Drugs and systemic racism have cumulatively caused, it is our responsibility to identify all the ways that the psilocybin program and its industry can contribute to the well-being of our Black, Indigenous, and Latinx communities.”
"The Governor’s appointment of the Psilocybin Advisory Board today represents a crucial first step toward implementing the nation’s first statewide psilocybin services program, said Tom Eckert, Chief Petitioner for Measure 109. "This is an impressive Board poised to do groundbreaking work. My late wife Sheri and I had always envisioned this – an empowered Board of leading experts, representing a variety of relevant disciplines, advising the Oregon Health Authority on psilocybin safety, practice, training, and access standards. I am filled with pride and appreciation for all the Oregon voters out there who made this a reality."
"This new Psilocybin Advisory Board is an exceptional group of experts and advocates that gives Oregon the know how and understanding we need to promote healing, safety, equity and access through psilocybin therapy," said Sam Chapman, Executive Director of the Healing Advocacy Fund. "This is a historic first step in establishing a program that will help tens of thousands and we’re encouraged by Governor Brown’s leadership in assembling this board."
A full list of the Board’s membership is available here