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Oklahoma House approves psilocybin research trials for veterans with PTSD

Legislation has been approved in the House to allow for clinical trials on psilocybin, which is obtained from mushrooms, for the treatment of veterans with PTSD.

OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. — The Oklahoma House of Representatives approved landmark legislation to allow for clinical research trials for the treatment of various illnesses using an unexpected remedy.  

On Monday, March 7, the House of Representatives approved psilocybin and psilocin clinical trials in the state of Oklahoma in hopes to treat various illnesses like PTSD and opioid use. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website, psilocybin is a "hallucinogenic chemical obtained from certain types of fresh and dried mushrooms."

House Bill 3414 would create the framework for universities, institutions of higher education and research facilities to conduct clinical trials on psilocybin and psilocin for the treatment of certain illnesses.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) designates psilocybin therapy as "breakthrough therapy," which is only granted when the evidence suggests a drug may be a significant improvement over currently available therapy.

Initial research conducted in other states has indicated psilocybin has the potential to relieve the symptoms of depression for up to a year after one or two treatments. Psilocybin is believed to disrupt negative, repetitive depressive thoughts by acting on the part of the brain that produces serotonin, a chemical that regulates mood. There is also evidence to suggest that psilocybin can break the addictive pattern of thoughts and behaviors associated with excessive smoking and drinking.

Research would be limited to 10 mental health conditions including:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 
  • Treatment-resistant depression
  • Treatment-resistant anxiety
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Early-stage dementia 
  • Opioid use disorders

According to a report from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, Oklahoma has the highest rate of suicide among veterans aged 18-34 in the nation.

"This is a tool that can mean the difference between life and death for many in our veteran community," Rep. Logan Phillips said. "We have a chance as Oklahomans to lead the charge for mental health and PTSD treatment for our vets, and passing this bill puts another arrow in our quiver as we address complex mental health issues in our state."

All researchers would need to apply for a license with the State Department of Health and register with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs while cultivation research would need to be registered with the Oklahoma Dept. of Agriculture.

"I believe the research will show that there is a way to use this drug safely and responsibly, and it could save the lives of thousands of Oklahomans," Rep. Daniel Pae said. "While there is ongoing research in other states, we know that different scientists take different approaches, and having Oklahoma's top-notch researchers on this topic can only make the data better."

The bill requires a written report of the clinical trials and research conclusions be submitted to the Legislature by Dec. 1, 2025.

Texas passed a similar bill in 2021, and other states, are considering the authorization of these clinical trials including Utah, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maine and Florida.

The bill passed the House 62-30 and now moves to the Senate, where it is authored by Sen. Lonnie Paxton, R-Tuttle.

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