Letter from federal health officials to senators: Illegal status of psychedelics limits research

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As reported by Moment Marijuana, officials of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) responded to two senators’ request for a psychedelic research update with a letter stating that the federal ban makes it more difficult to study the benefits of psychedelics.

“Because psychedelic drugs are controlled substances, an additional regulatory consideration for basic and applied research using psychedelic drugs is that these studies must also follow Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) requirements, including drug registration, inspection and certification. These requirements apply to all psychedelic drugs, including natural or botanical products,” according to the document.

While NIH officials mentioned that early research shows that psychedelics have medical potential, their interest is in enabling the development of new drugs, such as psilocybin, while preventing their negative side effects.

According to the letter, the institute’s agencies spent nearly $34 million in fiscal year 2022 from 57 projects studying psychedelic and psychedelic-derived drugs with potential health benefits.

The official position of the NIH is that modern regulatory protections for participants are not barriers, but rather “necessary and essential safeguards”.

Furthermore, the document assures that the government supports an experimental therapeutic approach, not only evaluating the clinical effect of an intervention, but also generating information on the mechanisms underlying a disorder or a response to an intervention. “Understanding the mechanisms of psychedelic drugs is important for identifying new therapeutic targets that could preserve therapeutic effects while minimizing negative side effects,” the letter states.

Read the full letter on psychedelics from federal health officials.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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