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Senate Committee Says Schedule 1 Classification Hindering Psychedelic Research

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A recent spending bill report from a major Senate committee has acknowledged that federal prohibition is hindering comprehensive research into psychedelics. Sections within the report encourage federally sponsored studies involving psychedelics and marijuana but note that the two drugs’ federal status as Schedule I drugs presents a significant barrier to research. The comments were part of a report on a spending bill that provides funding for several key agencies for fiscal year 2024.

Psychedelic research may be a relatively new field, but it has attracted considerable attention from lawmakers and the general public due to its potentially game-changing findings. Studies have found that psychedelics can treat several debilitating mental health conditions with barely any side effects.

A single dose of psychedelics such as psilocybin and LSD can deliver long-term relief against hard-to-treat mental disorders, including major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders.

Conventional mental health treatments do not work for everyone, and with America in the midst of a mental health crisis, the country is in dire need of safer and more effective mental health treatments. However, psychedelics are still classified as Schedule I drugs with no medical application at the federal level, making comprehensive research on their potential benefits and risks incredibly difficult and costly.

The Senate Appropriations Committee acknowledged that there has been increased interest in psychedelics as alternative mental health treatments and urged the National Institute of Health (NIH) to include psychedelics in its current research agenda. Furthermore, the committee encouraged the agency to carry out psychedelic studies at the NIH Clinical Center and potentially form a cross-institute research group to bolster psychedelic research across its centers and institutes. Federal support could significantly expand psychedelic research and fast-track the development of psychedelic-based treatments for various mental disorders.

But while committee members recognized the need to support psychedelic and cannabis research at the federal level, they expressed concern that state lawmakers are reforming cannabis policies without the backing of scientific literature on the plant’s benefits and risks. Similarly, some experts have noted that the current psychedelic craze may be driven by hype and industry interests rather than science, a valid concern given the general scarcity of psychedelic research.

If the NIH heeds the Senate committee’s call to support psychedelic research within its centers and institutes, an influx of psychedelic research will likely allay such fears. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) published its first draft guidance on the use of psychedelic drugs in clinical trials in late June, and the agency is expected to approve MDMA for PTSD treatment in the near future.

As the pressure to reform the federal psychedelics classification brings the needed changes, industry actors such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) will appreciate operating in an environment that makes it less cumbersome for them to do their work.

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