Arizona to Fund Psilocybin Research and Establish Psilocybin Research Council

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Newly passed legislation in Arizona establishes funding for research into therapeutic potential of psilocybin.

In May 2023, Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs approved budget legislation that included funding for research into the potential of psilocybin as a treatment for certain medical conditions (1). While it will not change the legal status of psilocybin in Arizona, the legislation will provide $5 million in funding for psilocybin research and outline requirements for the clinical trials.

With the newly approved legislation, the director of the Department of Health Services (DHS) will provide the research grants for whole mushroom psilocybin phase one, two, and three clinical trials to evaluate the effects on treating over a dozen medical conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), symptoms of long COVID-19, addiction disorders, seizure disorders, and other degenerative conditions (2). The trials must be capable of being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)(2).

“The public may not realize that early FDA-approved studies showing psilocybin looks promising as a medicine are only looking at synthetic psilocybin molecule,” said Sue Sisley, a cannabis and psychedelics researcher at Arizona’s Scottsdale Research Institute (3). “That’s not a real-world evaluation. We want to understand the risks/benefits of whole complex mushrooms—the stuff actually being consumed daily by patients around the globe. Arizona is poised to be the first state to sponsor controlled trials of whole natural mushrooms!”


“Psilocybin has curbed their suicidality, it’s put their PTSD into remission, it’s even mitigated their pain syndromes,” Dr. Sisley also stated, referring to patients (3). “It’s shown evidence of promoting neurogenesis (the growth and development of nerve tissue). There’s all kinds of great things that are being uncovered, but they’re not in controlled trials—they’re anecdotes from veterans and other trauma sufferers.”

The DHS will also create a “Psilocybin Research Advisory Council” and its members must include the DHS director, a physician with a federal license to study psychedelics, a military veteran, a law enforcement officer, and a professor or researcher from an Arizona-based university who specializes in clinical research or psychedelic studies (2). The Council will be responsible for establishing criteria for the clinical trials the qualify, oversee the application process and review applications, ensure all advisory council meetings are open to the public and allow public testimony, and make recommendations each year on psychedelic-assisted therapy (2).

Recently, states such as Washington, North Carolina, Nevada, and Hawaii have passed bills promoting studies on the therapeutic potential of psychedelics (1).

A 2022 analysis from an article published in JAMA Psychiatry concluded that, based on policy trends, a majority of states will legalize psychedelics within the next 15 years (4). States such as Connecticut, Vermont, California, and Minnesota have recently discussed or advanced legislation around changing psychedelics regulation (1).

Dr. Sue Sisley recently presented at Cannabis Science Conference Spring 2023. See highlights from her keynote here.


  4. Siegel, J. S.; Daily, J. E.; Perry, D. A.; Nicol, G. E. Psychedelic Drug Legislative Reform and Legalization in the US. JAMA Psychiatry 2023, 80 (1), 77. DOI:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2022.4101