Psychedelic Research Bills in US Legislation 2023

With multiple bills aimed at legalizing and funding psychedelic research are making their way through the US legislative circuit. Here are some of the current proposals in the push for legal psychedelics.


House Bill 2486

HB 2486 provides $30 million in grants over three years for research into the medical potential of psilocybin, the psychedelic compound found in “magic mushrooms.” The research will focus on studying the impact of psilocybin on 13 different conditions. Including PTSD, depression, anxiety, long COVID symptoms, and substance misuse disorder.

While the bill does not legalize psilocybin, it is hoped that the research will inform future reforms and pave the way for broader access to psychedelic-assisted therapy. The bill also establishes a “Psilocybin Research Advisory Council” to oversee grant applications and make recommendations on psychedelic-assisted therapy, based on current federal and state research policy.


Senate Bill 1454

SB 1454 proposes the establishment of a state working group to investigate the medical and therapeutic benefits of psilocybin. The bill has passed unanimously on the consent calendar.

Senate Bill 1531

SB 1531 establishes a state advisory council to examine state and federal regulations on certain psychedelics; psilocybin and MDMA. The council would also review scientific literature related to using these substances for mental health treatment. The bill has been unanimously approved on consent by members.



House Bill 2107

HB 2107 permits a research pilot program to explore the potential benefits of psilocybin for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans. The bill enables universities, institutions of higher education, and research facilities in Oklahoma to conduct research on psilocybin for treating specific ailments.


House Bill 4288

HB 4288 proposes amending existing psychedelics law to expand the state’s study of psilocybin, MDMA, and ketamine therapy for military veterans. The bill would establish new research partnerships and expand the targeted population for the study.

House Bill 4423

HB 4423, seeks to establish a psilocybin research advisory council and a grants program for clinical trials investigating the use of whole mushroom psilocybin for several conditions.

House Bill 4561

HB 4561 aims to establish an “Alternative Mental Health Therapy Research” consortium for investigating psychedelic therapy for veterans, as well as a grants program to create ketamine clinics and enhance veterans’ access to them.


Senate Bill 5263

SB 5263 establishes a task force to promote psilocybin research and develop a framework for legal access to the psychedelic. The amended bill no longer includes actual provision of psilocybin therapy under supervision. The legislation will now proceed to the House for further consideration.


Ketamine Therapy vs. Microdosing Mushrooms

Therapy is — irrevocably — a logistical and emotional hellscape to endure. According to Mental Health America, 21% of adults are experiencing a mental illness. Followed by the other sobering statistic that 55% of adults with a mental illness receive no treatment. Equivalent to 28 million individuals. In all, mental health is not a linear process. Improvements are sorely needed, and we must be explorative in our treatment options.

Psychedelic therapy, for example, is becoming increasingly popular alternative to the traditional therapeutic approach of antidepressants. Two of the most well-known substances used in psychedelic medicine are magic mushrooms (i.e. shrooms, mushrooms) and ketamine.

While accessibility to both these substances remains in the hands of lawmakers. A growing body of evidence points to psychedelics as a potential treatment for mental health disorders, addiction and other conditions.

Although research is still in its early stages, ketamine and magic mushrooms has shown the most promising results. And may soon lead to psychedelic-assisted therapy becoming an option for patients.

Let’s take a closer look at both.

Ketamine Therapy

Ketamine is a powerful anesthetic and dissociative drug, used for decades in medical settings. In a therapeutic setting, ketamine improves depression more quickly than traditional antidepressants. Typically, ketamine therapy works best for individuals who have tried all other therapies.

How It Works

Ketamine works by binding to receptors in the brain that produce a chemical called glutamate. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter, a “chemical messenger” between nerve cells (neurons) in your brain. Research suggests that glutamate plays an important role in depression. Problems in the production of glutamate has been linked to mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, etc. Ketamine works to opens up these glutamate pathways, unlike antidepressants which work on serotonin & norepinephrine pathways.

Ketamine is shown to be effective for:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Treatment-resistant depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Alcohol dependence

Ketamine is administered by registered medical practitioners. Patients can expect their first session to be done within a safe and quiet environment, such as private room. During treatment, doctors will monitor all vitals and aid in any discomfort. Ketamine’s effects can make a patient feel happy or disconnected from reality. This sensation occurs as the medication works in the brain to alleviate depression.

  • IV Ketamine Infusion
  • Esketamine
  • Intramuscular (IM)
  • Lozenges

Classified as a controlled substance, there are strict regulations around ketamine and its use. Which can limit access to treatment. Always talk to your primary care physician before seeking treatment. Check for insurance coverage as well.

Microdosing Mushrooms

Microdosing mushrooms involves taking a low dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, on a regular basis. Psilocybin therapy is a relatively new therapeutic approach. But it is finding its foothold in the treatment of depressive disorders.

How it works

As mentioned before, psilocybin is the hallucinogenic compound found in mushrooms. In the case of microdosing however, the administration of doses are low enough to not produce a whole-body effect (i.e. “tripping”) yet high enough for a cellular response.

Microdosing aims to achieve the positive effects of the substance (better focus, elevated mood, elevated energy, and emotional balance) while avoiding all the negatives (hallucinations, sensory shifts, nausea).

Compared to ketamine, the procedure is fairly straightforward . Administered via pill, a microdose is typically 1/10 to 1/20 of a normal dose, or 10 to 20 micrograms. Microdosers follow a “one day on, two days off” procedure.

Microdosing is shown to effective for:

  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Substance use disorders
  • Eating disorders

The Benefits Of Microdosing

Microdosing, the practice of consuming a sub perceptual dose of psychedelics substances. Experts in the field anticipates that some psychedelics may become fully legalized within the next few years. A seemingly accurate predication, as we see several cities and two states decriminalize psychedelics substances.

Together with the current trend of legalization is a result of the scientific evidence that suggest psychedelics are safe and effective in the treatment of mental illness. In a small double-blind study, Johns Hopkins researchers report that a substantial majority of people suffering cancer-related anxiety or depression found considerable relief for up to six months from a single large dose of psilocybin — the active compound in the hallucinogenic, magic mushrooms.

All things considered, microdosing could be the most significant step forward in the treatment of mental illnesses. Here are three more medical benefits that supports this:

1. Psilocybin Can Help Alcoholics

An August 2022 study states that modern research has revealed the promising potential of psilocybin for treating alcohol dependence. In the double-blind randomized clinical trial, participants were placed into a psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. Each participant also randomly assigned to receive psilocybin or diphenhydramine (i.e. aspirin). At the conclusion, percentage of heavy drinking days during the 32-weeks study was 9.7% for the psilocybin group. Compared to 23.6% for the aspirin group. Making a significant mean difference of 13.9%.

2. Microdosing Alleviates Depression, Anxiety, & Stress

In another study conducted early in June 2022 suggests greater improvements in mood and mental health. The study sought to compare microdoser participants to non-microdosers in the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21). In one month, microdosers show greater improvements among microdosers across the DASS domains of depression, anxiety, and stress. Going further to suggest that microdose-related reductions in depression were stronger among females than among males.

3. Possible Psychomotor Benefits

In addition to mental health benefits, psilocybin shows potential in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.  Participants took a smartphone finger-tapping test that has been used to assess psychomotor symptoms of neurodegenerative conditions, such as those mentioned previously. Researchers found that the microdoser group experienced improvements in psychomotor performance.


Colorado’s Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022

What is the Natural Medicine Health Act of 2022?

On November 8, 2022, voters in Colorado passed the ballot initiative, Natural Medicine Act of 2022. Lawfully declaring the use, cultivation, and possession of psilocybin mushrooms and other plant-derived psychedelics by adults over 21. Colloquially called Proposition 122. The law also prohibits the sale of psilocybin. Instead, the ballot initiative establishes a framework for the use of psilocybin in therapeutic and mental healthcare facilities. Prop. 122 specifies further that such facilities have the potential to become state-licensed healing centers.

However, due to a provision in the law that requires state agencies to create rules for licensing and regulation of these centers. Legislative implementation shall take some time. Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) anticipates by September 30th, 2024, the state shall, “Adopt rules necessary to implement the regulated Natural Medicine Access program and begin accepting applications for licensure.”

Additionally, Prop. 122 includes provisions to seal the criminal records of individuals who have completed a sentence for a conviction that is no longer considered a crime pursuant to this legislation. Individuals will be able to file a petition to seal the record of their conviction at no cost as long as there is no objection from the District Attorney. If the DA objects, a hearing process is outlined.

What natural medicine is included?

According to DORA, natural medicine refers to the following substances: dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine, mescaline (excluding peyote), psilocybin, or psilocyn. As it relates to the regulated natural medicine access program outlined in this act. Until June 1, 2026, the term only includes psilocybin and psilocyn. In either case, if recommended by the Natural Medicine Advisory Board, the Department could potentially add one or more of the previously listed substances after June 1st, 2026.

What role will local government have in regulation?

A locality may not ban or prohibit the establishment or operation of a licensed healing center within its boundaries. Localities may regulate the time, place and manner of the operations of healing centers within its boundaries


Colorado Legalizes “Magic Mushrooms” a.k.a. Psilocybin and Psilocin

After Oregon, Colorado is the second state to legalize the medicinal use of psilocybin and psilocin – the psychedelic compounds found in magic mushrooms. Medicinal consumption of magic mushrooms is now legal in Colorado for adults aged 21 and above. Therapeutic use of psychedelic mushrooms will be provided in state-regulated centers under the guidance of licensed facilitators. Personal consumption of magic mushrooms is also legal under the new legislation, but it’s banned in schools, public spaces, and while driving. Retail sales are also banned as of now.

Therapeutic benefits of magic mushrooms

There has been considerable research on the medicinal benefits of magic mushrooms over the past few years. Dr. Michael Bogenschutz of the NYU Langone Center carried out the largest controlled trial of magic mushroom use to reduce alcohol use disorder. The experiment revealed that the combined effect of psychotherapy and psilocybin pills helped people suffering from alcoholism reduce drinking for up to 8 months. This was the largest controlled, randomized study of its kind, and supplemented the findings of previous research.

Magic mushrooms have become more popular in recent years, for both medicinal and recreational use. While it is generally regarded as a safe psychedelic, experts still warn against the unsupervised use of psilocybin and psilocin.

A large number of voters show up to cast their opinion

More than 2.2 million people voted in the ballot measure, where 52% voted in favor of legalizing magic mushrooms. Around 93% of the total expected voters turned out to vote, and magic mushrooms won by a narrow margin.

Veronica Lightning Horse Perez, a leading supporter of magic mushroom legalization, said “I’m in awe of what we were able to accomplish”. It is indeed surprising that such a large number of voters turned out for the event, and more than 50% voted in favor of making psilocybin legal. The legislation will come into effect in 2024, and other plant-based psychedelics will be considered for legalization by 2026.

Psilocybin is still illegal in most states and at the federal level. Washington DC has decriminalized the use of magic mushrooms, and Oregon is the only other state where it’s legal. Colorado is set to be the 2nd state where psilocybin is legal and 3rd state where it’s decriminalized.

Supporters and opposers of psilocybin

Proponents of magic mushrooms argue that naturally occurring psychedelics have been used for ages with positive benefits, both from a spiritual and mental health perspective. New research shows that it also has physiological benefits. Moreover, the risks associated with magic mushrooms are negligible and very rare.

However, not everyone is happy with the new legislation. According to critics, this move shows how the United States is moving away from science towards populism even with medicinal ingredients. They also argue that this will send a wrong message to youngsters who will regard psilocybin as a completely harmless drug with no potential side effects.

As the voting figures show us, there isn’t an overwhelming consensus on the legalization of magic mushrooms. Far from it, many people are still against the legalization, and some pushback is likely over the next year before the legislation is enforced in 2024.

Protect Colorado’s Kids is the largest organization lobbying against the legislation. According to its head Luke Niforatos, this move “circumvent(s) science and the FDA”. Protect Colorado’s Kids will also reach out to the Drug Enforcement Administration, FDA, and U.S. Attorney for Colorado to intervene in the legislation.

Supporters of magic mushroom, on the other hand, regard this vote as a big victory for their cause. Natural Medicine Colorado, the leading lobby in favor of magic mushroom legalization, said the vote was “a truly historic moment”. According to Natural Medicine Colorado, residents of the state have already experienced the medicinal benefits of psilocybin, and that has motivated them to take a stand in its favor.

Is a psychedelic drug revolution on its way?

The United States of America is undoubtedly going through a drug revolution. With recreational marijuana being legalized in Maryland and Missouri, marijuana is now legal in 21 states. Even conservative states are showing growing support for psychedelics, particularly naturally occurring psychedelics that have proven medicinal benefits.

The ballot initiative now makes growing, possessing, and consuming magic mushrooms legal. However, it’s still illegal to sell magic mushrooms. State-regulated healing centers cannot sell magic mushrooms, but only provide them to clients for medicinal use under their supervision.

There are mixed opinions on the legalization of psilocybin, but mental health proponents are by and large optimistic about the legislation. According to doctors, researchers, and even the FDA, regulated and supervised use of psilocybin has the potential to cure mental health issues like depression, addictive personality disorder, anxiety, and PTSD.