Numerous medical professionals and first responders have urged Nevada lawmakers to reform psychedelic laws and allow the use of psychedelics in mental-health treatment. The professionals spoke to a panel of state legislators from the state’s Joint Interim Standing Committee on the Judiciary.
Psychedelics have exhibited significant potential as alternative mental-health treatments in recent years, especially against mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression, which often do not respond to conventional treatments.
Due to the sometimes traumatic nature of their careers, veterans and first responders often develop conditions such as PTSD and depression after several years on the job. Benjamin Strahan spent more than 20 years working as a professional wildland firefighter. He was one of the many first responders and veterans who spoke to the government officials.
Strahan said that, as with many wildland firefighters, he had seen “almost every catastrophic wildfire” and the total annihilation of communities, land resources and forests. A brutal wildfire in fall 2020 left Strahan grappling with severe suicidal thoughts. According to the professional wildland firefighter, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and suicide are just as dangerous to him and his colleagues as the fires they fight.
Strahan told the panel that once he accepted the current health system wasn’t helping him, he traveled to a psilocybin retreat in Mexico and finally gained a reprieve from his depression and suicidal thoughts.
Nevada legislators have expressed interest in legalizing psychedelics, but they are taking their time. Last year, they passed a measure that created a working group to study the potential medical use of psychedelic compounds such as psilocybin (magic mushrooms). The group has until the end of 2024 to publish its recommendations, conclusions and findings, which will likely inform psychedelic-based bills in 2025.
Carson Tahoe Hospital neurologist Burton Tabaac also addressed the panel, explaining that based on existing psychedelic research, hallucinogens seem to address mental-health issues by dealing with the underlying issues that caused the illness in the first place. Tabaac observed that, at minimal doses and with few if any side effects, psychedelics can repair engrained neural pathways and allow for the creation of new connections, making it possible for people to break free from mental disorders that have plagued them for years.
Diane Goldstein, a retired police lieutenant and current executive director of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, noted that psychedelic-based research was being conducted more than half a century ago before the war on drugs wrongly classified psychedelics as Schedule I substances.
The discussions going on in the Nevada legislature are likely to be welcomed by psychedelics industry entities such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) since such discussions point to the growing appreciation of the therapeutic potential of hallucinogens.
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