Seattle Doctor Sues DEA over Psilocybin Mushroom Access for Terminally Ill Patients

March 24, 2021 11:26:24

A doctor from Seattle who hopes to broaden access to hallucinogenic mushrooms for terminally ill cancer patients is suing the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) over its recent denial of an application to legally utilize psilocybin mushrooms in end-of-life treatment.

The doctor’s attorneys filed the lawsuit last week in the 9th Circuit’s U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. They argued that the DEA denying the application was baseless. The attorneys are asking judges to dismiss the decision and force the DEA to reconsider and accommodate reasonable requests made from qualified health practitioners for the therapeutic use of psilocybin.

On a press call last week, lead attorney Kathyn Tucker stated that the suit was a first of its kind, explaining that the case sought to ensure that patients suffering from severe, life-threatening diseases were able to realize the federal right to try legislations and access psilocybin for therapeutic purposes.

The push to broaden patient access started in 2020 when Dr. Sunil Aggarwal started looking for a legal way to acquire psilocybin to treat patients. In November, Aggarwal, who specializes in end-of-life care, started applying to federal and state regulators for approval to grow psilocybin mushrooms and utilize them in treatment. He stated in an interview last year that psilocybin was a naturally occurring psychedelic substance that could be grown safely and that he possessed the knowledge on how to dose the psychedelic and had good reason to believe that it could help.

Aggarwal’s team of attorneys are arguing that psilocybin should be made available under federal and state right-to-try legislations, which will allow patients suffering from terminal conditions the opportunity to try investigational remedies that are yet to be approved for general use. A right-to-try law was adopted in the state of Washington in 2017. This was followed by former President Donald Trump signing the federal Right to Try Act in 2018. Apart from this, a number of states across the country have also passed right-to-try laws.

Aggarwal had written to the DEA in January this year asking for guidance on how to proceed on psilocybin, which is still classified under right-to-try laws as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. Despite Aggarwal’s hopes, the DEA rejected the application in February, stating in a letter that the agency lacked the authority to waive the Controlled Substances Act, which goes against what the federal Right to Try Act states. Aggarwal responded by filing a petition with the AIMS Institute, where the doctor works, for review.

Reform to the existing laws on psychedelics in different jurisdictions is likely to result from a combination of the pressure being exerted by the likes of Aggarwal together with the R&D efforts of psychedelics entities such as Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) (OTC: PRXTF). This company is engaged in the rapid development followed by commercialization of psychedelic medicines as well as functional mushroom products.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL) (OTC: PRXTF) are available in the company’s newsroom at

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