Oregon is making it easy to find a fungi for a trip.
The first round of state-licensed magic mushroom guides walked the graduation stage Friday after passing a six-month intensive course at a Portland retreat.
The 35 students were authorized by state-sanctioned company InnerTrek to become “Oregon-licensed Psilocybin Service Facilitators,” meaning they would lead shroom ingesters through a peaceful and potentially eye-opening trip.
“Facilitator training is at the heart of the nation’s first statewide psilocybin therapy and wellness program and is core to the success of the Oregon model we’re pioneering here,” said program director Tom Eckert, who also spearheaded the ballot measure that legalized Oregon’s magic mushroom program.
Oregon voters approved the 2020 measure that made psilocybin — naturally occurring psychedelic prodrug compound produced by fungi — legal at the start of 2023.
Shroom sessions are expected to be available to the public in mid- or late-2023.
The InnerTrek graduates — and 70 more set to walk the stage over the weekend — mark the beginning of a wave of certifications the state expects to see; as of Friday, the health authority reported over 190 license and worker permit applications, including licenses for manufacturers of psilocybin and service centers where the psychedelic substance would be consumed and experienced.
“The graduation of the first cohort of students from approved psilocybin facilitator training programs is a significant milestone for Oregon,” said Angie Allbee, manager of the state health authority’s psilocybin services section.
“We congratulate Oregon’s future facilitators and the training programs they are graduating from on this incredible and historic moment in psilocybin history.”
At InnerTrek, students completed 160 hours of training, attend in-person intensives at the firm’s wooded retreat house and pass a final exam as part of InnerTrek’s six-month, $7,900 course. After passing the masterclass, the graduates must take a test administered by the Oregon Health Authority to receive their facilitator licenses.
The retreat firm taught them that a dosing session at a licensed center — which should last 6 hours — should include a couch or mats for clients to sit or lie on, an eye mask, comfort items like a blanket and stuffed animals, a sketch pad, pencils and a bucket for vomiting.
The guides will better help clients see the benefits of psilocybin, which researchers believe alters the brain to better overcome depression, PTSD, alcoholism and other issues.
“I feel like it’s a big moment for our culture and country as we collectively begin to reexamine and reevaluate the nature of mental health and wellness, while bringing real healing to those in need,” Eckert said.