Studies are showing that cannabis and a variety of psychedelic drugs are proving effective for treating a range of mental injuries.
While testifying at a recent House subcommittee hearing, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) signaled their willingness to align with a White House proposal that seeks to streamline the process of researching Schedule I drugs.
The federal government’s treatment of Schedule I drugs, which includes LSD, MDMA, cannabis and peyote, is defined by the DEA as having “no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” has prevented many beneficial drugs from being readily obtained and studied by researchers.
Studies are showing that cannabis and a variety of psychedelic drugs are proving effective for treating a range of mental injuries, for instance, clinical studies of MDMA-assisted therapy to treat PTSD, which is currently in Phase III trials with the FDA.
Marijuana Moment reported that the DEA has said in written testimony that “expanding access to Schedule I research is a critical part of the DEA’s mission to protect public safety and health.”
The proposal looks to align research limitations of Schedule I drugs with those of less-restricted Schedule II drugs, which include effective and widely prescribed drugs like hydrocodone, Adderall and Ritalin. Researchers and policymakers alike have pointed out that existing protocols for studying Schedule I substances have for decades restricted essential research of therapies that could save lives.
“It is critical that the scientific and medical community study Schedule I substances, as some may turn out to have therapeutic value,” DEA principal deputy administrator Louis Milione said. “DEA supports the administration’s legislative proposal’s expansion of access to Schedule I research. DEA looks forward to continuing to work with the research community and our interagency partners to facilitate Schedule I research.”
Current regulations include onerous situations where each researcher involved in a Schedule I drug study must obtain individual DEA registration. The proposal would make it possible for multiple researchers at a given institution to be authorized to participate under a single registration and potentially extend to multiple location sites as well.
Nora Volkow, director of NIDA, has voiced her opposition to the handling of Schedule I drugs and how such rules impede viable research. “One of the barriers that has actually been noted is that cannabis, by being a Schedule I substance, requires certain procedures that actually can be very lengthy,” Volkow said. “In some instances, it detracts researchers who want to investigate it because it’s just much more cumbersome than doing studies with other substances.”