Senators Want Psychedelics Research Review From Federal Agencies

Senators Want Psychedelics Research Review From Federal Agencies
MJ moment

Sens. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) are pushing top federal officials to provide an update on research into the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, arguing that ongoing federal prohibition has stymied studies. In a letter sent to the heads of the National Institutes on Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Wednesday, the senators said that the agencies are “critical to ensuring a comprehensive, rigorous, and deliberative science-based approach to the study of psychedelics.” That includes the “potential development of medication and therapeutics derived from these substances,” they wrote. The senators said that they’re encouraged that NIH hosted a workshop in January to explore regulatory challenges that are impeding research into psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA. And they want the agencies “to further expand their role in identifying research gaps, potentially promising therapeutic uses of psychedelics, and regulatory hurdles in the field of psychedelic research.” “The United States previously conducted robust research on psychedelic drugs,” the letter says, citing the litany of early studies that were supported by government agencies and pharmaceutical companies before many of the drugs became strictly scheduled. In the 1960s, “the counterculture movement’s embrace of psychedelics and the illicit manufacture and distribution of LSD contributed to its popular cultural rise and its increased non-medical use,” Booker and Schatz wrote. “This created a backlash resulting in its stigmatization and adverse political repercussions by the latter half of the 1960s.” “Pharmaceutical and federal funding for psychedelic research dried up, while [Controlled Substances Act] licensure requirements made it more difficult to secure regulatory approval for research,” they said. Schatz sent a similar letter to NIH and FDA in 2019, and the agencies did provide an update on the status of research into psychedelics, recognizing that there are possible medical uses but that additional research is needed…

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