Arizona Sen. TJ Shope believes ‘magic mushrooms’ could help those suffering from PTSD

Feb 15, 2024, 4:35 AM

Arizona Sen. T.J. Shope is sponsoring a bill that would make "magic mushrooms" legal for medicinal ...

Arizona Sen. T.J. Shope is sponsoring a bill that would make "magic mushrooms" legal for medicinal use. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — Arizona Republican Sen. T.J. Shope is hoping to pass a bill that would legalize “magic mushrooms” with the purpose of helping those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

SB 1570 would make psilocybin mushrooms available for medical use. Only Oregon and Colorado have OK’d the drug, which federally is illegal.

Shope told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Wednesday that his inspiration for sponsoring the bill came after speaking with friends of his who had served in the military and weren’t getting PTSD relief from pills.

“It’s just not working [for veterans] and we have to do something better for these folks and it came from that pure belief,” Shope said.

Why does Shope believe ‘magic mushrooms’ are a PTSD solution?

Billionaire GoDaddy founder Bob Parsons gave the Senate Health and Human Services committee testimony on Tuesday about how the mushrooms helped him with his issues.

Parsons, who was wounded in Vietnam and eventually received a Purple Heart for his service, said the treatment changed his life, according to Shope.

“This is a successful multi-billionaire talking who’s had an uber-successful career and talking about how he had never felt at home until he did this treatment,” Shope said.

The Food and Drug Administration in 2018 designated it a “breakthrough therapy.” This summer, the FDA published draft guidance for researchers designing clinical trials for psychedelic drugs.

Researchers believe psilocybin changes the way the brain organizes itself, helping a user adopt new attitudes and overcome mental health issues.

Shope is careful to note that the bill is crafted narrowly to only allow the drug to be used in clinical settings with medical professionals on hand. Oregon allows psilocybin to be available to the public without a prescription or referral.

“Arizona’s not Oregon,” Shope said. “We’re not talking about going to your local Circle K and being able to pick up mushrooms or anything like that.

“What we are looking at and the reasons we’re looking at it are very narrow and specific to Arizona.”

Shope understands the stigma around the drug, but is hopeful the results from Parsons and others he’s spoken with will help other legislators feel comfortable passing the bill.

“We know that it’s kind of probably awkward for people to see retired law enforcement or firefighters or veterans up here talking about something like mushrooms or psilocybin, but we need to go ahead and tell the positive story about what this can do for us,” Shope said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona Sen. TJ Shope believes ‘magic mushrooms’ could help those suffering from PTSD