Maine CDC director opposes psilocybin mushroom legalization

February 3, 2022 GMT

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention is opposed to the legalization of psilocybin mushrooms for treatment of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Dr. Nirav Shah issued written testimony Tuesday urging lawmakers to wait until clinical guidelines are established and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gives psilocybin full approval as a treatment.

Shah cited concerns about the lack of input by state health officials on the regulatory oversight, which could allow psilocybin treatment centers to “function more like recreational use facilities rather than medical treatment facilities.”

Proponents of the psychedelic mushrooms say they can be an effective treatment for depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The bill sponsored by Sen. Donna Bailey, D-Saco, would establish a regulatory framework to provide psilocybin products in Maine, the Portland Press Herald reported.

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Her proposal is based on a similar one in Oregon, which became the first state to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy in 2020. Across the country, several cities including Denver, Oakland and Detroit have decriminalized psilocybin mushrooms.

The FDA designated psilocybin as a breakthrough treatment for drug-resistant depression in 2018 and for major depressive disorder in 2019.