Top Federal Health Official Touts Psychedelics’ Therapeutic Benefits And Slams Marijuana Scheduling

MJ moment

A top U.S. health official on Wednesday touted the therapeutic potential of psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA, and he also slammed ongoing federal restrictions that are inhibiting research into marijuana. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was asked about psychedelics and cannabis by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing. The senator said there’s been “potentially promising peer-reviewed clinical research” into the substances and referenced a letter NIH sent him in 2019 that recognized the medical value of certain psychedelics. He asked for a status update on how the agency is navigating the issue. “There has been a resurgence of interest in psychedelic drugs, which for a while were sort of considered not an area that researchers legitimately ought to go after,” Collins replied. “And I think as we’ve learned more about how the brain works, we’ve begun to realize that these are potential tools for research purposes and might be clinically beneficial.” He proactively brought up psilocybin as an example, noting that clinical trials have found that the compound appears to effectively treat depression, and that “could be quite exciting because we all are looking for new approaches to that.” The official said MDMA and LSD are also being investigated, but psilocybin is currently getting the most attention. Watch the NIH director discuss psychedelics and marijuana research, starting around 1:41:00 into the video below: Asked about next steps for NIH when it comes to psychedelics, Collins said he’s been communicating with other federal agencies such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) “about whether it’s a good moment to consider having perhaps a workshop to say, ‘OK, what have we learned so far and what more might we want to do as far as designing the next generation of clinical trials…

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