Republican Tracy Pennycuick and Democrat Jennifer O’Mara are the latest politicians to take notice of the proven therapeutic use of psilocybin.
Two Pennsylvania state representatives are gearing up to introduce legislation legalizing psilocybin to enable the state to study the potential therapeutic and financial benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy to treat medical and psychological health conditions.
Republican Tracy Pennycuick of Montgomery County and Democrat Jennifer O’Mara of Delaware County are eyeing psychedelic medicines for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other mental health conditions specifically for veterans, first responders, and their families.
“A growing body of research provides a reason for hope that psilocybin, administered in a controlled setting, will be the most effective tool at our disposal to combat the suicide, opioid, and overall mental health crisis burdening the commonwealth,” the two representatives said in a memo to colleagues. “Studies conducted by world renowned medical institutions indicate that psilocybin has shown efficacy, tolerability, and safety in the treatment of conditions including, but not limited to, addiction, depression, anxiety disorders, and end-of-life psychological distress.”
Psilocybin is the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms. In October 2018 and again in November 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted psilocybin breakthrough therapy designation for treatment-resistant depression based on research that demonstrated the psychedelic compound provided significant improvement of depressive symptoms compared to current treatments.
Pennycuick and O’Mara’s proposal of legalizing psilocybin in the state will likely be an uphill battle, but not an impossible one. Last November, Oregon residents voted to both decriminalize and legalize the therapeutic use of psilocybin. California is well on its way to decriminalize psychedelics, and Texas recently approved studying psychedelic therapy for military veterans. New York is also considering studying the therapeutic use of psychedelics.
Meanwhile, several cities have taken the legalization and decriminalization of psychedelics into their own hands, including Denver, Colorado; Northampton, Sommerville, and Cambridge, Massachusetts; Washington, D.C.; Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Oakland and Santa Cruz, California.