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NIDA to Fund Studies on Impact of Psychedelics Legalization in Cities, States

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Last week, a federal health agency requested that studies into the influence of evolving laws on psychedelics in states and cities across the country be conducted. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) issued a notice talking about how the psychedelic reform movement had spread and discussing the different approaches used by various jurisdictions, which included decriminalized, reduced penalties and legalization.

The notice of special interest also highlighted the historic win recorded in Oregon a little more than two years ago when voters in the state legalized psilocybin services. The state of Colorado followed suit soon after, establishing healing centers where psychedelics could safely be administered and legalizing an extensive range of these substances.

With more states and cities jumping on the psychedelic bandwagon, NIDA hopes to finance studies on the possible impact on public health and trends of consumption, among other outcomes.

Below are some of the different study areas the health agency wants to investigate.

  • The association between the use of dissociative and psychedelic drugs and public health outcomes, abuse potential and harms.
  • The association between the legalization or decriminalization of dissociative and psychedelic drugs and rates of use in different populations.
  • How the placement of centers administering dissociative and psychedelic drugs and retailers impact surrounding communities.
  • The long-term impact of supervised dissociative or psychedelic use in centers.
  • The differences and similarities between the use of dissociative and psychedelic drugs and their abuse potential in comparison to other products, including marijuana, tobacco or alcohol.
  • The impact of different regulatory frameworks on different incarceration and health outcomes.

In related news, NIDA announced last month that it was seeking proposals for study initiatives looking into how psychedelics could be utilized in the treatment of drug addiction.

During a Senate Committee hearing, NIDA Director Nora Volkow stated that there was emerging evidence that psychedelics held potential as therapies for a range of mental conditions, noting that researchers were greatly interested in the substances.

In 2022, Senators Cory Booker and Brian Schatz also called for federal officials to give an update on studies into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, arguing that the prohibition of these substances had prevented research from progressing. Under federal law, psychedelics are still classified under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Substances under this classification are deemed to have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.

In addition to psychedelics such as peyote and LSD, other drugs under Schedule I include cannabis, ecstasy and heroin. Several companies, including COMPASS Pathways PLC (NASDAQ: CMPS), are engaged in studying various psychedelics with a view to commercializing treatments from those substances.

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