An estimated 3,000 people are now on a waitlist for Oregon’s first legal and operating psilocybin service center. EPIC Healing Eugene opened in June but is one of many psilocybin service centers that are still working on beginning operation.
“Our services focus on deep healing work, mindfulness, empowerment, spirituality, and transformation through psilocybin facilitation and integration,” EPIC Healing Eugene states on its website. “We teach self-help strategies that support self-directed personal development and brain change. We help you prepare for a healing shift that will help you get the most out of your experiential journeys. Our skilled and supportive staff offer preparation sessions, followed by integration sessions to help you better recognize and incorporate the gems of insight from your psychedelic experiences into your daily life.”
While patients don’t need a prescription or referral in order to take advantage of EPIC Healing Eugene’s services, their insurance also won’t cover such an experience. AP News stated that the price to try this new experience can exceed more than $2,000, which covers the business cost of the service center, as well as facilitators who assist participants through their experience, and lab-tested psilocybin. However, group pricing reduces the overall price.
According to Angela Allbee, Oregon Psilocybin Services (OPS) Section Manager, patients appear to be enjoying their experiences since EPIC opened. “So far, what we’re hearing is that clients have had positive experiences,” she told AP News. Allbee also mentioned that they’ve received inquiries from across the world.
In November 2020, Oregon voters pass Measure 110 officially became the first state to decriminalize hard drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine, and also legalized the use of psilocybin mushrooms for therapeutic use. By December 2022, the state was training facilitators to care for participants experiencing their psilocybin journey.
It took until May 2023 to approve the first license, which belonged to EPIC Healing Eugene. “We want to congratulate Cathy Jonas of EPIC Healing Eugene on being the first licensed service center in the state,” Allbee said at the time. “This is such a historic moment as psilocybin services will soon become available in Oregon, and we appreciate the strong commitment to client safety and access as service center doors prepare to open.”
As of September, there are 10 licensed service centers (a few of which are not yet operational), four growers, two testing laboratories, and “dozens of facilitators,” according to AP News.
EPIC Healing Eugene states on its website that it specifically offers macrodosing, ranging between 10 mg to 35 mg (although the state allows these service centers to offer up to 50 mg). However, the service center hopes to include microdosing in the future. Once it has been verified if participants are ready for such an experience, they must undergo two one-hour sessions (or one two-hour session) for preparation. A single psilocybin administration session takes approximately six hours. Once the session has completed, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) requires that all forms and documentation be kept for five years.
According to EPIC Healing Eugene owner Cathy Jonas, she’s not expecting to turn a profit anytime soon. Instead, it’s more of a calling to help others. “The plant medicines have communicated to me that I’m supposed to be doing this thing,” she told AP News.
One of Jonas’ first clients took a 35 mg dose, which they described as “… kind of infinite-dimension fractal that just kept turning and twisting.” “It was kind of mesmerizing to watch, but it got so intense,” explained the unnamed individual. “I started to have this experience of dying and being reborn. And then I would kind of see large portions of my life going by in a very rapid way.”
Additionally, another psilocybin service center called Omnia Group Ashland opened in September in southern Oregon as well. So far, it has approximately 150 people on its waitlist. Another center in Bend, Oregon, called Lucid Cradle, is already booked through December 2023, but plans to serve one client per week.
Mushroom cultivation differs quite a bit from cannabis cultivation. One of Oregon’s licensed mushroom growers, Gared Hansen of Uptown Fungus, is the sole person cultivating psilocybin for his business. He grows mushroom varieties such as Golden Teacher, Blue Meanies, and Pink Buffalo, with an average cost of $125 for a 25 mg dose.
Hansen emphasizes the importance of purchasing mushrooms for legal sources, because mushrooms often look similar, and some may be an incorrect and poisonous variety to the untrained eye. “Sometimes part of the healing could be a negative experience someone has to go through, to kind of flush negative emotions out or reexperience some trauma in a healthier way,” said Hansen. “I’d hate to have someone that’s never tried it before take it home, have a bad trip and hurt themselves.”
According to a recent report from Willamette Weekly, Oregon Psilocybin Services have not yet yielded a groundbreaking amount of money from fees, noting that it currently costs more to run the program. “Backers of Measure 109 said the program would cost far more—$3.1 million a year—to run,” the outlet stated. “To fill at least part of that gap, Oregon lawmakers appropriated $3.1 million from the taxpayer-supported general fund for the two-year period that started July 1. OHA is betting that shroom fee revenue will pick up as the biennium proceeds, making up the rest of the shortfall,”