Breaking the Barriers: Bipartisan Lawmakers Champion Psychedelic Research to Save Veteran Lives

Psychedelic Research Breakthrough: Bipartisan Lawmakers Advocate to Save Veteran Lives

Psychedelic Research Breakthrough: Bipartisan Lawmakers Advocate to Save Veteran Lives

In a significant step towards aiding the nation’s veterans, bipartisan congressional lawmakers are at the forefront of promoting an amendment to a crucial spending bill. This amendment seeks to encourage research into the therapeutic of specific psychedelics, sparking hope for saving lives and addressing crises among veterans.

Led by Reps. Lou Correa (D-CA) and Jack Bergman (R-MI), the proposed amendment forms a pivotal part of the appropriations legislation covering Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies (MilCon/VA). Scheduled for a key House Rules Committee meeting, its potential inclusion for floor consideration is being closely monitored.

Emphasizing the urgency of the matter, Rep. Correa highlighted the alarming rates of suicide and opioid overdose deaths among veterans. He stressed the importance of ensuring that those who could benefit from breakthrough therapies, including psychedelics already showing promise in saving lives, gain to these treatments as swiftly as possible.

Central to the amendment’s mission is encouraging the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct comprehensive “large-scale studies” on certain psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin and MDMA. These drugs have already garnered “breakthrough therapy” status from the Food and Administration (FDA). Reps. Correa and Bergman, who co-chair the congressional psychedelics caucus, aim to drive forward research into these entheogenic substances.

Though not explicitly mentioning psychedelics, the Bergman-Correa legislation employs a common tactic in appropriations legislation by adjusting funding in an unrelated section to convey key priorities to federal agencies without altering the legislative text.

According to the summary posted by the Rules Committee, the legislation involves both increasing and decreasing funding within the Medical and Prosthetic Research account at the Department of Veterans Affairs. This financial adjustment ensures the VA conducts extensive studies into the efficacy of drugs designated as FDA breakthrough therapies, with a focus on treating post-traumatic stress disorder through drug-assisted therapy trials.

Rep. Bergman voiced his concern about the ongoing mental health crisis in the nation, with veterans and servicemembers bearing the brunt of its . He expressed optimism that the proposed amendment would prompt the federal to take more substantial actions and provide better options to support veterans in their struggle against mental health .

Notably, Reps. Correa and Bergman have actively championed streamlined research efforts to develop therapies based on psychedelics, applauding recent guidance from the FDA for researchers interested in exploring this subject.

As the House Rules Committee convenes on Tuesday, it will also consider Rep. Robert Garcia’s (D-CA) amendment aimed at ending drug testing practices for marijuana use in job applicants within specific federal agencies, a provision also covered by the bill. Additionally, bipartisan congressional lawmakers are seeking to advance amendments within the MilCon/VA measure that would allow military veterans to receive medical cannabis recommendations from VA doctors.

Meanwhile, Democrats are working on a series of marijuana reform amendments for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including a proposal led by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) to grant veterans access to medical cannabis in states and territories where it is legal. The amendment also seeks to protect doctors who recommend medical marijuana for veterans and urges the VA to support clinical trials exploring the therapeutic benefits of cannabis for conditions commonly experienced by veterans, such as and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

While the final outcome remains uncertain, Senate Democrats and Republicans are engaging in discussions about potentially including these amendments in the NDAA. The GOP-controlled House will also play a significant role in determining the fate of these proposals if they are eventually attached on the Senate side.

Moreover, the Senate Appropriations Committee has already approved an amendment to enable VA doctors to issue medical cannabis recommendations, while the relevant spending bill report encourages the VA to facilitate medical marijuana access for veterans and explore the therapeutic potential of psychedelics.

In other notable developments, both House and Senate appropriators have included provisions in their annual spending bills to protect state medical cannabis programs. However, they have also included a contentious rider to prevent Washington, D.C. from implementing a regulated marijuana sales system.

Malvin Felix
I'm Malvin, a cannabis news enthusiast who finds joy in staying updated about the latest industry trends. My passion led me to become a dedicated writer, entrepreneur, and investor in the cannabis space. Through my writing, I aim to educate and spark discussions, while my entrepreneurial ventures and strategic investments reflect my commitment to driving positive change in the industry.

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