Bill to explore safety of psilocybin heads to governor's desk

SEATTLE — Washington could soon be one step closer to legalizing the use of medicinal mushrooms.

A bill that would explore the safety of a compound in those mushrooms known as psilocybin is now on the governor’s desk. Right now, researchers at the University of Washington are testing uses of psilocybin.

KIRO 7′s Lauren Donovan spoke with doctors there about how, when paired with psychotherapy, it can help people struggling with depression and anxiety.

For three decades now, naturopathic physician and research biochemist Dr. Lisa Price has investigated the healing potential of psilocybin.

“As a researcher, that’s what I’m all about — safety, effectiveness, and doing it legally as well,” Dr. Price said.

Dr. Price is among the hundreds of others now pressing Washington state lawmakers to legalize the medicinal mushroom compound.

Senate Bill 5263 wouldn’t go that far, but it is a step in that direction. The bill would create a task force that will investigate just how safe psilocybin is.

Dr. Price thinks lawmakers aren’t up to date on the latest research from the University of Washington and are seeking assurance.

“That this type of medicine isn’t a party and that it is safe and effective,” she said.

Dr. Jonathan Drew runs HAVN Healing Center in Seattle. He’d like to use psilocybin to help his clients overcome trauma, but thinks lawmakers are failing to keep current. He points out that next door in Oregon, it’s already legal.

“It’s wise to have some prudence, but I also think that the safety has been proven,” Dr. Drew said.

The former emergency room doctor said he’s seen psilocybin’s healing qualities firsthand.

“I’ve also had my own transformative experiences with psilocybin, and so I understand the power behind that substance and what it can do for the people of Washington state,” he said.