MAPS on Course to Bring Psychedelic Treatments to Veterans

After prohibitionist laws made it nearly impossible to study psychedelics for decades, researchers can now finally study these substances and their effects, thanks to loosening drug laws. In what has been called the psychedelic renaissance, researchers have significantly stepped up their psychedelic research efforts and discovered that these hallucinogenic drugs have the potential to revolutionize psychiatry.

When paired with psychotherapy, some psychedelics have the ability to cause profound and long-term changes in patients suffering from mental conditions such as depression, eating disorders, and post-stress traumatic orders.

Coincidentally, psychedelics seem to be effective against conditions that tend to affect soldiers and military veterans in far greater numbers. More than 40% of veterans are estimated to live with some kind of mental health condition, with up to 20% experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has announced that it is interested in providing psychedelic-assisted therapies to soldiers who are on active duty. During the 2022 Wonderland Miami Conference, MAPS executive director Rick Doblin said that even though expanding access to active-duty soldiers was one of the biggest barriers to psychedelic treatments, he was optimistic that that would change.

A Nov. 7, 2022, Bloomberg article reported that a “controversial” push to give active duty US military personnel access to psychedelics to treat conditions such as PTSD was slowly gaining traction. While studies and clinical trials had proven that psychedelics could be effective when taken by veterans, active-duty soldiers still had little access to the hallucinogenic drugs.

Regarding the potential issue of soldiers not wanting to go back to active service after a psychedelic experience, Doblin said that it would be the choice of the individual, with some choosing to return to serve and others choosing to retire from active combat.

The idea of providing active-duty soldiers with psychedelics was first introduced by MAPS in 2012 when psychedelic research was just picking up steam. A decade later, a significant amount of money is being invested into psychedelic research, and more people are seeing that these drugs can have major mental health benefits without the side effects usually associated with pharmaceuticals.

However, the idea is still controversial despite advances in psychedelic research. For instance, the idea that serving soldiers could use psychedelics to recover from the trauma of taking lives and returning to the battlefield faster hasn’t made many in the psychedelics community happy.

Ethicist and medical cannabis researcher Dr. Pula Cubillos wrote that it would be better to make meaningful institutional changes that mitigate trauma instead of offering veterans access to products that can help them cope with their trauma.

Away from the controversy surrounding treating active-duty military personnel with psychedelics, other enterprises such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ) are also exploring psilocybin and other psychedelics of interest to the mental health field.

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