Senators Cory Booker and Brian Schatz call on federal agencies to research psychedelics

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Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) sent a letter to National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the FDA who they called upon to study the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.

According to the senators, the United States has already undertaken a significant amount of research on psychedelics, citing that between 1960 and 1965, studies of LSD and other psychedelics generated over 1,000 scientific papers. But since then, the federal ban has hampered progress in our understanding of the substances.

For this reason, and noting that the NIH “has begun to show greater interest in psychedelic research”, Schatz and Booker call on federal agencies to further investigate psychedelic compounds, as well as provide details on funding. current NIH for psychedelic research.

Schatz also wrote a letter in 2019 to the NIH and the FDA, which prompted a response from the agencies. They acknowledged that some psychedelics show therapeutic promise as well as new “disease mechanisms and possible interventions, ultimately leading to new treatments with fewer side effects and less abuse potential.”

Ongoing trials for psychedelics and their potential for treating mental health disorders, such as PTSD or major depressive disorder, the involvement of the NIH in a “workshop exploring the field of psychedelics as therapeutic potential” encourages senators to request additional research.

Five literal focal points include:

  • The NIH is required to provide details of current NIH funding for psychedelic research, including a breakdown by institute and a breakdown by basic versus clinical research.
  • The NIH is asked to provide information regarding reviews conducted of scientific studies of psychedelics funded by the NIMH and other federal entities between 1950 and 1965, if any.
  • Schatz and Booker ask what are the gaps in current psychedelic research that need to be filled to further our understanding of psychedelics.
  • They also ask about the current status of collaboration between the FDA, NIH, researchers funded by NIH and their academic institutions, and the private sector on psychedelic research.
  • Finally, there is the issue of defining regulatory barriers to research on psychedelics and additional regulatory barriers to the study of natural psychedelics, such as psilocybin.

Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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