In the last few weeks, dozens of students have graduated from schools in Oregon where they were trained to guide people through magic mushroom trips that can last as long as six hours. At one school, an alpaca farmer, a social worker, an ER nurse and a nutritionist were all in the same class, attempting to learn the tricks of a new trade.
But it will be a few months until any of them can legally practice what they’ve learned in their state — and once they can, there are open questions about how the psychedelics industry will shape up there.
“Our big mantra to students is, don’t quit your day job,” said Nathan Howard, the director of one facilitator school called InnerTrek, adding, “Yet.”
The Oregon state government and 22 training schools are writing the rule book on the best strategy for administering a drug that has shown promise in clinical trials in combatting depression, addiction or dependencies, and anxiety around terminal illnesses.
he first licensed magic mushroom guides could be a model for a new sort of health care professional — but are they ready for the realities of the work and how much of a risk are the new guides taking on?
In November 2020, Oregon voters became the first in the country to approve therapeutic use of psilocybin, which is the key ingredient in magic mushrooms. The drug became legal Jan. 1, 2023, though actual sale of the psychedelic can’t begin until the state gives its stamp of approval to laboratories which will produce the psilocybin products and service centers where they’ll be consumed. Unlike cannabis, magic mushrooms won’t be sold at dispensaries and can only be used under supervision at licensed locations.
By state law, the supervisors or psilocybin facilitators have to be over 21, have a minimum of a high school education, and they must graduate from a training school before they take a licensing exam. Beyond that, the state entrusts school administrators to vet people through the application process and to iron out the specifics of what a day on the job might entail.