Last week, a VA official told the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was closely monitoring studies into the therapeutic potential of psychedelic substances. During the hearing, Rep. Colin Allred talked about his interest in alternative treatments such as psilocybin and MDMA for military veterans who suffered from a variety of conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder as well as other suicide risk factors.
The congressman also asked Lisa Brenner, a clinical researcher at the Veterans Health Administration, about the status of research into alternative therapies, given findings from studies showing psychedelics held potential in the reduction of psychological distress symptoms.
Allred explained that all avenues of research needed to be investigated in efforts to prevent veteran suicides, asking whether the Department of Veterans Affairs was tracking research in the area and if it had plans to carry out its own studies. Brenner replied that psychedelics were an important topic, noting that the department was tracking everything that was happening in terms of research as well as clinical care. She added that despite this, treatments involving these drugs weren’t yet a part of the approved standard of care for veterans.
This discussion comes almost a year after Brenner and Allred had a similar exchange in the same committee.
During the discussion, veteran service organizations such as Reason for Hope and Special Operations Association of America also presented written testimonies calling for administrative reform and proclaiming the benefits of psychedelic-assisted therapy. In addition, other groups raised the issue of the need for studies into alternative psychedelic treatments in their written testimonies.
In its statement, Special Operations Association of America stated that recent psychedelic-assisted therapy trials had demonstrated promising results in neutralizing various comorbidities in patients, which considerably improved their quality of life. The association also requested funding for the establishment of a federal task force whose work would be to guarantee affordable and safe access to these new treatments when they were eventually approved, while also assisting in and facilitating the implementation of pilot programs.
At the moment, the FDA has designated psychedelics such as psilocybin as breakthrough therapies. However, the agency notes that without complete approval, veterans will not be able to access these therapies due to the DEA’s policy guidelines.
The DEA has an ongoing blockade against psychedelics despite the federal Right to Try laws, which gives severely ill patients access to investigational drugs, including substances classified under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
For-profit companies such as Delic Holdings Corp. (CSE: DELC) (OTCQB: DELCF) are doing the best they can to spread science-backed psychedelics information so that both policymakers and members of the public can make informed decisions regarding these substances that have caught the eye of the public and scientific community.
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