The United Kingdom may be the latest Western country to pass psychedelic reform if UK lawmakers have their way. In countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia, permissive psychedelic policies have made it possible for researchers to study the potential benefits and risks of psychedelic drugs. This research has revealed that hallucinogens including psilocybin, MDMA and LSD may be able to treat the symptoms of a range of mental health disorders.
A recent report by Benzinga revealed that UK Labor MP Charlotte Nichols has “opened up a discussion’ on the need to increase access to psychedelic-assisted therapies. The MP announced her intent to offer support to the Conservative Drug Reform Group, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), the Royal College of Psychiatrists and other organizations that are dedicated to pushing psychedelic reform. She stated that it was time for the country to reschedule psilocybin, the main hallucinogenic agent in magic mushrooms.
Research has found that this psychedelic has the potential to alleviate the symptoms of major depressive disorder, anxiety, headaches, substance abuse disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and even eating disorders such as anorexia.
Nichols noted that Schedule I regulations present “considerable barriers” to proper psychedelic research and make it much more difficult, costly and time-consuming. For instance, Nichols explained, one researcher had to pay a whopping £20,000 ($24,708) to receive a Home Office Schedule I license and adapt his laboratory to meet current standards for researching psilocybin and its effect on substance use disorders.
A majority of researchers interested in psychedelics simply cannot afford to run clinical studies without major financial backers. Nichols stressed that there was an “urgent and medically justified need” to reschedule psilocybin, noting that although research from half a century ago proved that the psychedelic has medical potential, the UK and the rest of the world have been “in a stasis” regarding psilocybin. She also denounced the credibility gap that exists between politics and psychedelics.
As one of the millions of people worldwide who have been diagnosed with PTSD, Nichols wonders why mental health treatment is the only field where a 90% failure rate is considered acceptable. She likened it to “institutional cruelty,” which condemns people with mental health disorders to suffer even though there are alternative treatments that have been proven to be safe and effective that are being held back by the government.
The Scottish National Party’s MP Ronnie Cowan also said that the UK government has to do an “urgent review” of the country’s psilocybin policies and refrain from obstructing psychedelic research.
As more companies such as Field Trip Health Ltd. (OTC: FTHWF) (TSX: FTHW) make progress in their efforts to develop medicines from hallucinogenic compounds, more countries are likely to reform their drug laws in order to allow their scientists to face fewer hurdles as they conduct research on this promising class of mental health treatments.
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