Measure 109 & 110: Psilocybin-Assisted Therapy Is Here! (But Not Until 2023)

Measure 109 in Oregon was recently approved by voters, making Oregon the very first state in the U.S.A. to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy. While many are eager to begin providing or receiving this breakthrough service, psilocybin-assisted therapy will not be officially available until sometime in 2023. This is because the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) will be in charge of creating a program that establishes training requirements for facilitators and suppliers which will begin in January of 2021. It will take two full years to implement before psilocybin-assisted therapy is available. When it is available, it will be restricted to people 21 years of age and older.

Although many want to access these services immediately, there are steps that must be taken to ensure that health and safety factors are not overlooked. For example, the OHA will determine what eligibility requirements need to be met for individuals to obtain a license to provide this service. This includes establishing guidelines for what qualifications, education, training, exams, and professional codes of conduct will be necessary. Therefore, for now, this service is still unavailable and illegal until these rules and regulations have been established.

Measure 110 was also recently passed in Oregon, making personal non-commercial possession of controlled substances, such as psilocybin, MDMA, cocaine, and heroin, no more than a Class E violation, with a max fine of $100. This measure also includes the establishment of a drug addiction treatment and recovery program, wherein individuals who are charged a fine up to $100 for a Class E violation have the option to complete a health assessment instead of paying the fine. This new approach establishes that personal use of controlled substances will be decriminalized, shifting the approach from criminalization to one of health and safety. Like Measure 110, the implementation period has yet to be completed. The amendments voted in through Measure 109 do not become law until February 1st of 2021.

Although we are all eager for these measures to be officially implemented, we must be patient for a little longer. At the moment, Portland Psychotherapy therapists are not able to provide psilocybin-assisted therapy because it is still illegal. For people who are wanting to use psychedelics for personal growth or healing, we are able to meet with you before or after your use of psychedelics in order to help you understand the risks and benefits, maximize safety, and integrate experiences into your life.

If you would like to learn more about our harm reduction and integration services, please click here. And If you’d like to learn more about Measure 109 and Measure 110, please check out voteyeson109.org and voteyeson110.org.

By Sarah Smith

First Randomized Trial of Psilocybin Assisted Therapy for Depression!

In recent years, psychedelics have reemerged as a popular topic in cultural, political, and scientific discourse. From Michael Pollen’s best-selling book How To Change Your Mind to legalizing psilocybin-assisted therapy through Measure 109 in Oregon, people are curious about how and why these substances may be powerful tools in psychological healing. Additional data, especially on common problems like depression, is particularly important as psilocybin therapy starts to become more widely used.  Until now, psilocybin therapy for depression has never been studied in randomized clinical trials. But now, the first data have been published, with excellent results.

In this trial, Alan K. Davis and other investigators at the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins conducted the first randomized, clinical trial exploring psilocybin-assisted therapy for treating Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Traditional treatment methods typically include psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy, or a combination of the two. Current pharmacotherapies, such as SSRI’s, often have limited efficacy and can result in negative side effects such as suicidal ideation, decrease in sexual drive, and weight gain. Additionally, people must be on antidepressants for several weeks before experiencing any benefit, with many only partially responding. Lastly, many people do not respond to treatment, whether that’s pharmacological or psychological. Clearly more treatments are needed.

The team at Johns Hopkins treated 24 people with depression with two administrations of psilocybin combined with therapeutic support. This intervention produced strong antidepressant effects that persisted for 12 months, with 71% of their participants showing a clinically significant response 4 weeks after treatment. Unlike traditional antidepressants, psilocybin was not associated with serious adverse effects and does not have to be taken daily. The only frequent nonserious adverse effects found by Davis et al. were mild-to-moderate headaches and challenging emotions during the session itself. In sum, while this study is small, it provides excellent data to support the idea that psilocybin-assisted therapy is effective for the treatment of depression, while we await results from larger studies that are ongoing.

Although we have come far in psychological healing, there is still more work to do in order to provide services that are effective and accessible to all who need it. Antidepressants do not work for everyone, making promising treatments like psilocybin-assisted therapy worthy of further exploration. If you would like to learn more about psilocybin-assisted therapy for depression, Portland Psychotherapy is hosting a seminar series, Therapy and Research in Psychedelic Science (TRIPS), that includes a presentation from Alan K. Davis, the lead investigator in this trial. He will be discussing what this therapy looks like from the point of view of the patient along with a description of the therapeutic process involved in preparing for and integrating psilocybin experiences as a part of therapy. Click here to register for this event and check out the other events in our seminar series!

TRIPS Seminar Series

By Sarah Smith

UPCOMING TRAINING EVENTS


Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Guide Exposure Therapy: The Basics

Brian Thompson, PhD, Brian Pilecki, PhD, and Joanne Chan, PsyD
September 17th, 2021 from 12-3pm

This is a beginner workshop intended to provide the foundations of exposure therapy including types of exposure interventions and design effective exposure exercises for various anxiety disorders and OCRDs. Participants will learn how to use ACT processes to guide the implementation of exposure techniques and how ACT processes may be enhanced by traditional exposure methods. This workshop will provide some background in theory and will emphasize applying exposure to clinical contexts using case studies, exposure demonstrations, and the practice of new skills by participants. Read More.


Overcoming Barriers to Effective ACT-Informed Exposure Therapy

Brian Thompson, PhD and Brian Pilecki, PhD
October 15th, 2021 from 12-3pm

This workshop will offer a brief introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy-informed exposure and focus on practical ways to address common problems in implementation. Case examples will be provided to illustrate common client barriers such as lack of buy-in and difficulty grasping core ACT concepts. Strategies for overcoming these barriers will be offered and participants will have the opportunity to practice newly acquired skills through role-plays and break-out rooms.Read More.


Therapy and Research in Psychedelic Science (TRIPS) Seminar Series

Second Friday of each month from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM (PT)

TRIPS is an online seminar series that hosts speakers discussing science-informed presentations and discussions about psychedelics to educate healthcare professionals. This series was created to guide healthcare providers and students preparing to be professionals towards the most relevant, pragmatic, and essential information about psychedelic-assisted therapy, changing legal statuses, and harm reduction approaches in order to better serve clients and communities. This seminar series is a fundraiser for our clinical trial of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for social anxiety disorder that Portland Psychotherapy investigators are preparing for and starting in the Fall of 2021. All proceeds after presenter remuneration will go to fund this clinical trial. Read more.

September 10th, 2021 – Cultural Considerations in Outreach to and Assessment of Minoritized/Marginalized Individuals in Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy with Terence Ching, Ph.D.

October 8th, 2021Presentation Title TBA – Dr. Elizabeth Nielson

November 12th, 2021Presentation Title TBA – Anthony Bossis, Ph.D.

December 10th, 2021Presentation Title TBA – Jamilah R. George

January 14th, 2022Presentation Title TBA – Jordan Sloshower, MD, MSc