State reps seek to legalize psychedelic mushrooms as a treatment for mental illness

psychedelic mushrooms under warm red and blue lighting
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Psychedelic substances like psilocybin — the compound found in “magic mushrooms” — have been researched as mental health treatments over the last few years, with some promising results. Could this research eventually lead to their legalization?

Lawmakers proposed legalization last year, but it didn’t make it past a legislative panel. Tony Lovasco, a state representative from St. Charles, tells KMOX he plans to file new legislation in the next week or so. He said that rather than doing a sweeping legalization plan like Oregon, Missouri’s psilocybin laws would focus more on treatment-resistant PTSD and depression.

“This isn't a recreational program, it's not something that is going to allow this to be sold on your street corner or anything like that,” he said. “We're looking specifically at the very select groups of people who basically have exhausted other treatment options for their conditions — just another option that their physician could recommend.”

He added that psilocybin as a recreational drug “doesn’t make the list of things the average person is concerned about.”

Psychedelics have recently been studied as a treatment for things like trauma or other mental illnesses. Under the watchful eye of a physician, patients are given the substance and can help people “detach” from traumatic experiences.

“I was initially very skeptical when I was first investigating this,” Lovasco said. “But the more I looked into it, the more I talked to people who've been really helped by this, the more I'm convinced that it really is something we need to be doing here in Missouri.”

Lovasco predicts he’ll have some pushback from other legislators, especially since psilocybin is a Schedule I drug — though it isn’t typically associated with overdoses, abuse or dependence.

Hear more from State Representative Tony Lovasco on the path to psilocybin legalization in Missouri:

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images