Deregulating Psychedelics Could Boost Clinical Studies

American researchers will be able to study various psychedelics and their effects on the human body much more effectively if hallucinogens are finally deregulated after decades of state and federal prohibition. Similar to how cannabis research opened up after dozens of states legalized either recreational or medical cannabis, policymakers hold the key to more comprehensive psychedelic clinical studies.

Researchers typically have a significantly hard time accessing and researching controlled substances such as psychedelics, which makes them less inclined to research hallucinogenic drugs. However, with psychedelic use increasing across the country as more people turn to hallucinogens to alleviate their mental problems, it is imperative that lawmakers deregulate psychedelics and allow scientists to study the substances more effectively.

A measure introduced by two lawmakers with opposing views may hold the key to deregulating psychedelics and facilitating more in-depth studies of the now-trending drugs. The Breakthrough Therapies Act was introduced by Democratic Senator Cory Booker and Republican Senator Rand Paul, giving it a decent chance of advancing past lawmakers who aren’t as receptive to any form of drug reform.

If the measure is signed into law, it could pave the way for the deregulation of products that have been designated as breakthrough therapies. Breakthrough therapies typically refer to controlled substances that have exhibited some medical efficacy but haven’t been endorsed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as approved drugs.

As psychedelics such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and MDMA (ecstasy) have already been deemed breakthrough therapies, the Breakthrough Therapies Act would reclassify the two drugs to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act, which doesn’t have as many medical use-related restrictions as Schedule I. Furthermore, the measure also contains provisions that would eliminate some of the federal regulations that have hindered psychedelic drug research and development in recent years.

Several psychedelics have exhibited efficacy against hard-to-treat mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression in only a few doses and with limited negative side effects. Although most of these findings were from initial limited studies, they are so encouraging that lawmakers in countries such as Canada and Australia have already deregulated psychedelics to facilitate more comprehensive psychedelic research.

Lawmakers and regulatory bodies in other nations are also considering the potential impact of legalizing psychedelics to help mitigate mental disorders that typically don’t respond to traditional therapies. Much of this research has shown that psychedelics can be safe and effective alternatives to antianxiety and antidepressant medications.

Many companies such as atai Life Sciences N.V. (NASDAQ: ATAI) hope that policymakers can make the needed regulatory changes sooner rather than later so that the entities can face fewer hurdles in their bid to study hallucinogens and bring novel treatments onto the market.

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