Proposed Arizona bill supports psychedelic mushroom research

The bill seeks to provide $30 million to help learn more about how mushrooms can potentially assist with conditions such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 8:10 PM PST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Psychedelic mushrooms are illegal under federal law. But some Arizona lawmakers are proposing to spend millions of tax dollars to study their potential benefits.

House Bill 2486 has support from both Democrats and Republicans. The bill seeks to provide $30 million to help learn more about how mushrooms can potentially assist with conditions such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety. “I’ve seen first-hand how extraordinary psilocybin and other psychedelics can be,” VivaMed CEO and Founder Kendric Speagle said.

Speagle says he’s always looking for new, effective treatment options. Because as a Navy veteran, he also knows just how limited current treatment options have been. “There’s a real urgency to come up and develop better therapeutics,” he said. “And we think psychedelics have tremendous promise for helping vets that can’t find relief in other ways.”

Speagle is not alone in wanting to know more about natural psilocybin mushrooms, commonly known as magic mushrooms. House Bill 2486 has bipartisan support and would require the state to fund $30 million for research grants studying the effects of psilocybin on 13 different health problems. In addition, the bill would prioritize using veterans, first responders, and frontline healthcare workers as research subjects.

“We have a mountain of anecdotal reports from military veterans and other trauma sufferers who claim that psilocybin mushrooms have helped them,” Scottsdale Research Institute’s Dr. Sue Sisley said.

Sisley has already been growing these mushrooms for two years. She says previous research has focused on synthetic versions but that the funding from this proposed bill could provide better insight into the impact these mushrooms are having. “If they pass HB 2486, Arizona will immediately be catapulted to the forefront of the most important clinical trials in the world,” she said.

While Speagle knows this bill won’t legalize the widespread use of psychedelics, he’s hoping it’s the start of a better, cheaper approach to dealing with mental illness. “We need to demonstrate scientifically and clinically that these therapies work,” he said. “These therapies are more effective than the standard of care.”