The Price of Shrooms: Will Mushroom Treatment Burn a Hole in Your Pocket?

Oregon started a new trend by passing legislation to open an adult-use magic mushrooms market in the form of legal administration centers. Sounds pretty awesome, right? But how much will a session set a person back? It’s great to have this service, but can the average person afford it? Here’s a little on the new price of shrooms, and what you can expect in the future.

The industry is about to begin, and the price of shrooms is looking pretty high. Will this change? Welcome to an independent news publication focused on stories in the cannabis and psychedelics spaces. Sign up for the Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter for weekly updates, and to get prime access to offers on a range of stuff like vapes, smoking devices, edibles, other cannabis paraphernalia, and the growing-in-demand cannabinoid compounds Delta 8 & HHC. All the info is in our ‘best of’ lists, so head on over to find deals, and please enjoy responsibly.


Let’s trip out, Oregon!

Though the news isn’t new anymore, the concept still is, and many are probably unaware of what happened, or what it actually means. So, here’s a little recap. In November 2020, Oregon did the unthinkable, and put it to voters to decide if they wanted to legalize magic mushrooms for an adult-use market. What did the population of Oregon say? A resounding ‘Yes!’ To be fair, it wasn’t a sweeping majority, but 55.75% wanted it, opposed to 44.25% who did not.

At the time of the vote, there was nothing specifically written about how it would work. Voters literally voted to open an industry, while having no idea about the details therein. The measure, officially called the Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative, came with this description: “Clients would be allowed to purchase, possess, and consume psilocybin at a psilocybin service center and under the supervision of a psilocybin service facilitator after undergoing a preparation session.” And that’s about it.

The specifics were so unclear, with so many rumors flying around, that many thought it was a medical legalization. At the end of May, Oregon began releasing its rules for this new industry, elucidating the situation. The Oregon Psilocybin Services, a part of the Oregon Health Authority, put out its first round of rules, though they don’t cover everything. It’s hoped that the remainder of the regulations will be instituted by year’s end, for a market opening in late January, 2023.

Psilocybin shrooms

Among the guidelines, Oregon made clear it only wants one type of mushroom right now, Psilocybe cubensis, a much-contested point. It also doesn’t want synthetic products, or derivatives used; it requires psilocybin and psilocin content be within 20% for all mushrooms; it only approved the eating of mushrooms for drug delivery; and stipulated that the mushrooms are only legal when consumed in a specific center, under the guidance of a non-medical tripsitter. These tripsitters can’t offer any form of treatment, but are required to undergo a certain amount of training.

Basically, Oregon set up something in between a medical legalization and a recreational legalization. There’s no medical application, but it comes with the requirement of being in a specific facility, and under the guidance of a tripsitter. Plus, no possession laws were made, meaning the mushrooms are merely decriminalized outside of these settings, but not actually legal for use. Their decriminalization came during the same election, when a separate ballot, Measure 110, decriminalized the personal possession and use of all drugs in the state.

The price of shrooms

It’s not ideal. When we hear the word ‘legalization’, we expect it to mean something is actually legal, right? Well, in the case of Oregon and magic mushrooms, its more like ‘legal with some major caveats’, even more so than the weed industry. After all, not one legal weed state requires the use of designated sites to get high. Not even for medical use. So this ‘legalization’ immediately comes with some detractions. But it’s the first of the industry, so at the same time, the progress is commendable, and we can hope some of these kinks get worked out in the future.

One of the biggest issues presenting itself now, is that it’s not exactly cheap. And by that I mean, it’s really expensive. Anyone who shops in a cannabis dispensary is aware that the prices are generally higher than black market prices. And though sometimes much higher, they’re still within reason compared to the daunting price of shrooms in Oregon’s upcoming industry. As the industry isn’t open yet, nothing is for sure, but recent statements imply a very high-priced industry. The current expectation of prices, just like with weed, is not based on government regulation, but set by private industry.

Field Trip Health & Wellness CEO Ronan Levy put it this way, in terms of pricing “An easy analogy is gyms where there’s a lot of mom and pop gyms that are open, but there’s Equinox locations across the world and both compete in their own respective spaces.” His implication is that treatment can be more or less expensive depending on the specific program.

As it happens, Field Trip already has established magic mushrooms centers in the Netherlands, where $4,160-7,750 will exit your bank account, depending on the number of sessions. Another company in the Netherlands, called Synthesis, is looking to open a center for immersive retreats on a large estate, which could put consumers back $6,497 for a five-day experience. These, of course, are in Europe, but they show what this industry will likely cost in the US as well.

What is the price of magic mushrooms
What is the price of magic mushrooms

Some local operators are looking to make a more cost-effective experience. The Alma Institute, a not-for-profit organization helmed by Rebecca Martinez, is hoping to offer a single session (complete with prep session and after care) for about $1,500. Martinez explains, “We need to ensure facilitators have a sustainable living and prevent burnout. Fair wages are a big part of this.”

She makes a good point. Just like the cannabis industry, the mushroom industry involves all the costs of cultivation and production. Unlike the cannabis industry, this one requires actual people to be in attendance. A whole other person must be there, who’s earning a salary to do it; making the cost of these trips, inclusive of the cost of this staff member. This is yet another downside to the general setup, as it creates an overhead cost which doesn’t exist for weed.

The unfortunate reality is that most people can’t pay such exorbitant prices. And as this isn’t a medical industry, no coverage is expected. Those who want to partake, must reach deep into their pockets to provide the full amount. For as cool as it is that Oregon is setting up this service, the sheer price of using the shrooms is a major inhibitor to the new industry. In the end, these prices might serve the same purpose as raised prices in the cannabis industry, and further bolster the black market.

The cost of ketamine ain’t any better

The magic mushroom industry is looking to take after the high-priced ketamine industry. Ketamine might be the new rising star of both psychological and pain treatments, but its cost is as bad as the English in my sub-heading. With standard treatment sessions running from about $400-800 (or as much as several thousand) for one session, this isn’t a treatment that just anyone can afford. Different companies offer different deals – much like Levy described with his gym analogy and mushrooms, but the price range stays generally high for standard sessions. Some companies are incorporating things like group sessions to bring down cost, which can reduce it by as much as about half.

As a way to bring down costs further, some ketamine clinics offer at-home treatment. As there are still no reports of real issues with ketamine, and since the ketamine for these treatments still comes from a pharmacy, it’s not the worst option, but it does come with a few detractions that consumers should consider. For one thing, ketamine is far less bioavailable when taken orally, and therefore harder to dose since there’s more individual variation. In a medical setting, ketamine is administered via IV, making for more uniform bioavailability, and greater ability for precise dosing. It’s way easier to take too much or too little, when taking it orally.

Plus, there’s no one there to help. Ketamine is still a drug that can send someone into an anesthetized state, aka, a k-hole. It can still have strange or unexpected effects, especially for unfamiliar users, and it can put someone into a precarious situation if they’re not in a safe place when using the drug. Paying out for the medical setting, means paying out for the medical help, and the safety it offers, as well. On top of these factors, for those using it for psychological purposes, at-home treatment might provide less of the therapy aspect, which is a big part of the whole thing.

ketamine for pain

There is one place where ketamine treatment allows for lower pricing, but it has some steep requirements. Ketamine itself isn’t legal for psychological treatments or pain treatments, but it is legal as an anesthetic, meaning we’re not talking about a Schedule I drug. As such, doctors can prescribe it as they see fit, which has led to a large gray market ketamine industry that depends on off-label prescribing.

However, the government did officially approve a version of it called esketamine, but only for treatment-resistant depression. As this is an approved medical treatment, patients can have it covered by health insurance, making for lower costs. On the downside, because its officially approved, it comes with government regulations attached, like needing to have already tried, or be on, a standard pharma antidepressant. Many people are heading towards ketamine, specifically to avoid this. It also isn’t approved for pain, so anyone looking for ketamine pain treatments, must go to the gray market clinics automatically.

In either case, when dealing with the price of shrooms or ketamine, actual street prices are so far below, it’s a little silly. A syringe of mushroom spores can go for about $10-15, with an ounce costing somewhere around $200. Or, of course, a total of $0 if picked from nature. Ketamine, for its part, can go for about $20-25 on the black market for a single dose, a far cry from the hundreds paid out per dose in a clinic.

Conclusion

If all this makes it sound like alternative treatments are cool, but not accessible, there is hope for the future. The price of shrooms might start out high, but if the field suffers any of the overproduction issues of the weed industry, these prices could be driven down. Plus, magic mushrooms are gaining popularity worldwide, as evidenced by Thailand, which is also looking to get into magic mushroom treatments, and which is already dedicated to doing so at a cheaper price point. This could influence overall markets, by creating competition, and bolstering medical magic mushroom tourism.

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Oregon Magic Mushrooms: New Guidelines Provide Insight into Legalization

It seems that everyone knows about ballot measure 109 and how Oregon became the first state to legalize magic mushrooms in some way. But what exactly this legalization policy is, has been somewhat misinterpreted. Sitting somewhere between a recreational legalization and a medical legalization, Oregon’s newly released magic mushroom draft guidelines provide the first look at what a statewide legalization for psychedelics might entail.

The Oregon draft guidelines for magic mushrooms show that this is not a medical measure, as facilitators have not been specified to have previous medical or therapeutic training. We’ll have to wait a little longer to see if these guidelines are updated, and what else is stipulated. We report on everything important in this growing psychedelics field, and you can keep up by subscribing to The Cannadelics Weekly Newsletter. Get your daily dose of industry news, and be first in line to access new promotions for psychedelic products, as they become available.


Ballot measure 110

At the November 2020 elections, Oregon made history by passing two ballot measures which decriminalized psychedelics for recreational purposes, and which legalized them for certain other uses. While the latter has often been misinterpreted as a medical legalization, new guidelines coming out show that this is not quite the case. The following is a breakdown of the two measures.

Ballot measure 110 wasn’t specifically about psychedelics, but rather a larger drug decriminalization bill which includes psychedelics. Called the Drug Decriminalization and Addiction Treatment Initiative, this measure made it so that personal possession of a controlled substance, without intent to sell, incurs nothing more than a Class E violation, with a maximum fine of $100. It also approved the establishment of drug addiction and treatment programs, with some funding coming directly from cannabis tax revenue and savings made from state prisons.

58.46% of the state’s population voted ‘yes’ to this measure, with 1,333,268 votes. 41.54% voted ‘no’ which accounted for 947,313 votes. This measure essentially reclassifies personal possession offenses for all drugs scheduled I-IV. The Class E violation is a step down from the previous charge of a Class A misdemeanor.

Ballot measure 109

The much more interesting half of this, was ballot measure 109. This measure, called the Psilocybin Mushroom Services Program Initiative approved the creation of a program whereby psilocybin-containing mushrooms – and related products – can be administered to adults of at least 21 years of age. This measure passed with 55.75% of the vote, which accounted for 1,270,057 voters, while 44.25% voted ‘no’, accounting for 1,008,199 votes.

For the most part, this has been touted as a medical legalization, but nothing about the explanation above is geared specifically towards medical use. Part of the confusion is likely based on the fact that when the measure was passed, nothing actually existed, except the directive to open a ‘program’ for the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). The OHA was given two years to do this, and as promised, guidelines for this ‘program’ have started to come out, making clear this is not actually a medical legalization, but hovers somewhere in between medical and recreational.

All that was stated at the time of the vote, was that “clients would be allowed to purchase, possess, and consume psilocybin at a psilocybin service center and under the supervision of a psilocybin service facilitator after undergoing a preparation session.” The OHA is tasked with determining who can access this service, and who cannot, but at no point thus far has it been stipulated that a doctor is needed, a medical setting, or a diagnosis. As the OHA was put in charge of coming out with regulation at the time of passage, it means nothing was understood at that time, about what the final program would entail.

Oregon magic mushrooms guidelines

It’s now getting closer to two years from the time that Oregon passed ballot measure 109, meaning that regulations are due in by the OHA. The program is meant to start in 2023, so hammering out details comes right about now. Whereas this has repeatedly been called a medical legalization, the recent guidelines released point in another direction. Of course, everything released now is just in draft form, so it suffices to say that plenty of updates will be made.

Anyway, the document released in February of the first draft guidelines, only tackles a few subjects, but it gets the conversation going. A conversation that is open to public comment and debate; more information for which can be found here. The document covers mushroom production, mushroom testing, and qualifications for facilitators assisting those taking the mushrooms. For example, while manufacturing requirements don’t allow for GMOs to be used, they also stipulate that only one type of mushroom – Psilocybe cubensis, can be grown.

A lot of other basic things are covered, like licensing, growing conditions, pesticide use, how to store the mushrooms, testing for heavy metals, laboratory requirements, potency testing, and so on. What’s most interesting, however, are the guidelines for those working to assist clients taking the mushrooms, as they say a lot about what this program actually is.

magic mushrooms

Draft rules for facilitators

Facilitators, according to the draft rules, would be required to complete 120 hours of core training, with a minimum of 25% of those hours for in-person training. This hands-on training (practicum) would be divided into at least 30 hours of direct training, and 10 hours for consultation training, to review the prospective facilitator’s progress. Those interested in being facilitators must fill out an application and give a non-refundable fee of $500, (which is a questionable amount if applicants are turned away easily).

Training modules that prospective facilitators must undergo include: 1) Historical, Traditional, and Contemporary Practices and Applications; 2) Cultural Equity in relation to Psilocybin Services; 3) Safety, Ethics and Responsibilities; 4) Psilocybin Pharmacology, Neuroscience, and Clinical Research; 5) Core Facilitation Skills; 6) Preparation and Orientation; 7) Administration; 8) Integration; and 9) Group Facilitation.

The training curriculum outlined is geared toward a “nondirective facilitation approach”, which essentially means the facilitator is not meant to give advice or interpretations while the client is in a trip. This is similar to psychedelic-assisted therapy, where the doctor helps the client through the experience, but only gives insight afterwards, in what is called the ‘integration’ phase. This current model does include ‘integration’ of some kind (as per the training), but since the facilitators aren’t required to have real medical or therapeutic training, they realistically will not be able to give therapy. This makes the whole thing sound that much more like a recreational legalization.

How inclusive Oregon plans on having the ‘integration’ part is hard to say, but it could open up a lot of legal problems to allow non-medical or non-licensed facilitators, to give therapy. Without the ability to give therapy, or have it based on a medical/therapy model, it also rules out the denial of services to clients for not having a medical issue. Client draft regulations have yet to be released, so how exactly each case is going to be evaluated for acceptance or denial is currently impossible to say. However, considering the minimum degree to give therapy in the US, is a Master’s degree, if Oregon wants facilitators to give any kind of medical therapy to clients, it will certainly have to ask way more of them. Otherwise, a facilitator is no more than a trained babysitter, for a recreational trip.

Psychedelics today

Psychedelics, originally illegalized in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s in America, have been making quite the comeback of late, with ballot measure 109 in Oregon legalizing some sort of use of magic mushrooms. This has kicked off a growing interest in decriminalizing and legalizing different psychedelic drugs throughout the country.

Currently, several locations have decriminalization measures. These include Denver, Colorado; Oakland, Santa Cruz, and Arcata in California; Ann Arbor, Washtenaw County, and Detroit, Michigan; Washington, DC; Somerville, Cambridge, Northampton, and Easthampton in Massachusetts; and Seattle, Washington.

magic mushroom laws

Apart from these individual locations, and their decriminalization policies, several states have introduced legislation to legalize recreational use of some kind throughout the state. These include California, Washington, and Michigan. While these states all have bills around magic mushrooms, or entheogenic plants (psychedelic plants), Colorado just passed a bill that will legalize the synthetically made MDMA when a federal legalization comes out, but rejected a bill that would investigate the naturally occurring psilocybin and DMT.

It has been said however, that the rejection of the latter bill was at the behest of its sponsor, who instead wants to focus on a possibly upcoming psychedelics reform ballot measure, which would be much farther-reaching. In terms of how gung-ho the state is for MDMA, the bill to allow for prescriptions when it becomes federally legal, passed 11-0.

On a federal level, the government quietly legalized esketamine in 2019. Esketamine is a half-brother to ketamine, which itself enjoys growing popularity as a gray-market drug, where its prescribed in clinics for the off-label uses of psychological issues and pain. Plus, the FDA gave ‘breakthrough therapy’ designations to three companies currently studying MDMA and psilocybin: MAPS, COMPASS Pathways, and Usona Institute, signaling impending upcoming federal legalizations for both of those compounds.

Conclusion

The Oregon draft guidelines for magic mushrooms start to answer some questions, while raising many more. How much therapy will be given? Will facilitators have a further requirement for a certain level of education in order to apply? And where is this legalization really on the scale of medical to recreational? I guess we’ll have to wait a little longer until new draft guidelines come out, to get any further answers.

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