Seattle Doctor Petitions DEA to Reschedule Psilocybin

February 11, 2022 14:07:39

Last week, Seattle doctor Sunil Aggarwal filed a petition with the Drug Enforcement Agency (“DEA”) challenging its Schedule I classification of psilocybin, which is the primary psychoactive component of hallucinogenic mushrooms. The federal petition filed by the doctor, who specializes in end-of-life care, requests that the DEA reschedule psilocybin as a Schedule II drug given the potential it has shown in relieving symptoms of various ailments including depression and anxiety caused by a terminal disease diagnosis.

The petition also highlights how decades of research have shown that psilocybin has a low potential for abuse in comparison with other substances under Schedule II, including opium, amphetamines, cocaine and fentanyl. The document states that psilocybin’s original placement wasn’t based on science but a significant overestimation of its abuse potential and risk of harm.

Psilocybin is currently classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule I substances have no accepted medical use and no accepted safety standards for using the drug, even under medical supervision, given their high potential for abuse.

Rescheduling psilocybin would also eliminate federal barriers into research on the component, which would allow scientists to better understand its safety and effectiveness. The document quotes the words spoken by NIDA director Nora Volkow, who stated that psilocybin’s classification under the Controlled Substances Act made studying and working with psilocybin cumbersome, which discouraged researchers who wanted to study it.

Aggarwal’s lawyers filed the petition soon after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed grounds on a lawsuit the doctor and two of his terminally ill cancer patients had filed in 2021 against the DEA. In this case, the plaintiffs argued that they should be authorized to have access to psilocybin legally under federal and state right-to-try laws, which allow patients suffering from terminal conditions to try investigational drugs that haven’t been approved for use. Currently, 41 states as well as Congress have passed right-to-try laws.

Last month, a bipartisan group of Congress members wrote a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration urging it to allow patients with terminal illnesses to access psilocybin. The legislators explained that research had shown that psilocybin offers immediate, sustained and significant relief from debilitating depression and anxiety in people with terminal conditions, noting that they believed that their constituents with such ailments needed to have access to psilocybin if they decided to pursue it as a treatment.

This comes as psychedelic reform efforts continue in states such as Texas, Connecticut and Washington. The Seattle petition is likely to be followed closely by the entire psychedelic industry, including players such as Cybin Inc. (NYSE American: CYBN) (NEO: CYBN), because its outcome could have major implications for the trajectory of the industry.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Cybin Inc. (NEO: CYBN) (NYSE American: CYBN) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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