The War on Drugs causes so much unnecessary heartache and pain, from unnecessary arrests to exorbitant taxes that prevent hardworking mom-and-pop entrepreneurs from achieving their American Dream. The unnecessary obstacles stifling medical research is one of the many ills of the Drug War, preventing people from saving and improving their lives with safe medical options. The cannabis community knows all too well the ridiculous barriers put in place whenever researchers attempt to study federal Schedule I substances. Now, with psychedelic research following in the footsteps of cannabis, scientists are facing similar nonsensical hurdles that needlessly delay the ability to find safe medicines just waiting to be unlocked. As Marijuana Moment reported, prominent scientists decried these outdated Drug War obstacles at the inaugural Psilocybin Research Speaker Series event hosted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), under the National Institutes of Health (NIH), on April 22nd:
A federal health agency kicked off a speaker series on Thursday that’s dedicated to recapping science on the therapeutic potential of psilocybin mushrooms. And the experts who spoke at the first event said in response to Marijuana Moment’s questions that federal drug laws are out of step with voters and undermine the research objectives of the scientific community.
Asked by Marijuana Moment about whether the scheduling status of psilocybin under federal law inhibits research into the compound’s risk and benefits, Dr. Roland Griffiths of Johns Hopkins University said that the “Schedule I status is anathema to research because it makes research much more difficult—and that’s both clinical research and even preclinical research.”
“Even a preclinical neurological researcher, if they want to work with a Schedule I compound, they still have to jump through all the hurdles and create a [Drug Enforcement Administration] license and track their substance in a way that’s really quite discouraging of research,” he said. “I wish there were an easier workaround for Schedule I compounds and research generally, but as the laws are currently written, there isn’t a workaround.”
The National Cancer Institute has this to say about psilocybin and the current status of federal law and ongoing research:
“Psilocybin is the natural active compound found in more than 200 species of fungi, more commonly referred to as ‘magic mushrooms.’ Psilocybin is converted by the body to psilocin, which has hallucinogenic mind-altering properties. These naturally occurring mushrooms have been used anthropologically worldwide by indigenous cultures for centuries in the context of religious or spiritual healing ceremonies. Psilocybin is currently a Schedule I substance under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Schedule 1 classification defines chemicals or substances that, currently, have no accepted medical use and have a high potential for abuse. Advances in clinical trials, however, are researching psilocybin to treat cancer related depression, for example, and moreover for its potential medicinal application in treating a range of severe psychiatric disorders, such as: major depressive disorder, treatment resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, opioid use disorder and other substance use disorders, as well as anorexia. To date, FDA granted two breakthrough therapy designations for psilocybin, one for treatment resistant depression in 2018, and a second for major depressive disorder in 2019.”
This is a fascinating time for drug policy activism, from legalizing cannabis to harnessing the healing properties of natural substances that have been wrongly criminalized. It’s great to seen Oregon, with the passage of Measure 109, helping lead the way.
If we can safely help people we should explore those avenues and let science be the guide, not decades of propaganda and misinformation. Too many of our citizens are suffering, whether they are veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress or everyday Americans combating PTSD or depression themselves. It’s great to see our nation take steps towards a sane drug policy and this federally-funded Psilocybin Research Speaker Series is a nice step in the right direction. There are more panels on May 27th and June 4th, 7th, and 10th covering a variety of topics including microdosing, group therapy, psychotherapy for cancer-related psychiatric distress, and more. You can see the full agenda and register here.
Even though 4/20 is behind us, there are still plenty of great deals at Kind Leaf to help uplift your mood. As always, senior citizens, military veterans, and OMMP patients qualify for discounts. Free online ordering through Leafly pickup for convenience or come on into Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique.