Know Your Herbs

Psilocybin Research Approved in Arizona Appropriations Act Budget

Arizona senators voted to approve a general appropriations act 2023-2024 on May 10. Within the appropriations bill is a multitude of funding proposals from the governor’s office, which includes everything from Alzheimer’s disease research ($4.1 million), a newborn screening program ($12 million), and the Arizona nurse education investment pilot program ($15 million), but it also includes $5 million earmarked for psilocybin research.

A health care bill, SB-1726/HB-2816, recently receive a hearing on May 10 as well, which shows what that $5 million in research would go toward “research grants for whole mushroom psilocybin phase one, phase two and 41 phase three clinical trials that are capable of being approved by the 42 United States food and drug administration…” The bill cites a number of medical conditions, including PTSD, symptoms of long COVID-19, depression, anxiety disorders, and nine more.

If passed it would instruct the Department of Health Services to open up applications for research, which would be awarded no later than February 1 of each year. The department would be limited to spending a maximum of 2% of the money for psilocybin grant research each fiscal year.

Research subjects would specifically include “veterans, first responders, frontline health care workers … and persons from underserved communities.”

Protections are also included for both the grant receiver as well as any employees working on a study, stating that they “may not be charged with or prosecuted for possession … of psilocybin when the person is working on the clinical trial.”

A psilocybin research advisory council would be tasked to manage the program to provide “recommendations to the governor, the speaker of the House of Representatives, the president of the Senate and the department on psychedelic-assisted therapy based on current federal and state research policy.” It would be made up of multiple key individuals, including a member who holds a federal license to study psychedelics and is a licensed physician, a military veteran, an Arizona law enforcement officer, and a professor or researcher who specializes in psychedelic studies.

On February 13, legislators unanimously passed a different psilocybin research bill in the House Military Affairs & Public Safety Committee, which would have given $30 million in grants to psilocybin researchers. “Today HB 2486 (clinical research; psilocybin; grants; appropriation) passed MAPS Committee by a unanimous vote of 15-0! Thank you to brave bipartisan lawmakers sponsoring this bill to study veterans & first responders! @KevinPayne4AZ @TJShopeforAZ @JenLongdon @TraversforAZ,” said Dr. Sue Sisley, who is well known for her research work on cannabis and psychedelics. HB-2486 has not received any further discussion as of this writing.

While cannabis studies continue to grow, the number of psilocybin research efforts have been growing. In February, city officials in Ferndale, Michigan voted to decriminalize mushrooms as well as other psychedelic substances such as DMT and ayahuasca, and Utah officials introduced a psilocybin bill. In March, Nevada lawmakers introduced a psilocybin and MDMA research bill, and the Missouri House of Representatives approved a psilocybin research bill.

On May 10, Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee signed a bill that creates a psilocybin therapy pilot program, although he did so with a partial veto for specific sections. On that same day, the Connecticut House of Representatives approved a psilocybin decriminalization bill. 

Oregon is farthest ahead in terms of progress. Earlier this month, Oregon awarded its first license for a psilocybin service center, following the finalization of rules back in January. “This is such a historic moment as psilocybin services will soon become available in Oregon, and we appreciate the strong commitment to client safety and access as service center doors prepare to open,” said Oregon Psilocybin Services Section Manager Angie Albee.

The post Psilocybin Research Approved in Arizona Appropriations Act Budget appeared first on High Times.

Source: Hightimes

Ohio State University Gets DEA License To Grow Psilocybin

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has issued a license to Ohio State University that allows researchers to cultivate psilocybin mushrooms for use in scientific studies. The license, which was awarded to Ohio State and partner Inner State Inc., a mental health and wellness research and development company, is the first license issued by the DEA for the cultivation of whole psilocybin mushrooms for research.

“This license is a major milestone not only for Inner State and Ohio State, but for the entire field of psychedelic research,” Inner State CEO Ashley Walsh said on Wednesday in a statement quoted by the Columbus Dispatch.

Multiple studies have shown that psilocybin, the primary psychoactive compound in magic mushrooms, may have extraordinary potential as a treatment for several serious mental health conditions. But studies of psilocybin normally use forms of the drug that have been synthesized in a laboratory. The new license issued by the DEA allows Ohio State and Inner State to grow whole psilocybin mushrooms to produce the compound naturally. Under the terms of the license, all cultivation of psilocybin mushrooms will take place in a federally registered facility in accordance with strict DEA regulations.

“By combining cutting-edge techniques in genomics and metabolomics, we have the opportunity to obtain a high-resolution picture of the chemical diversity of mushrooms that have remained difficult to study for several decades,” said Ohio State researchers Dr. Jason Slot and Dr. Kou-San Ju.

Researchers believe that using whole mushrooms in mental health studies could give participants the advantage of other compounds besides psilocybin, potentially offering additional therapeutic benefits. Walsh said that it is possible that psilocybin mushrooms “have multi-dimensional healing properties” that could more effectively improve the quality of life for people with severe mental illness.

Continuing research into psychedelics including psilocybin, MDMA and ketamine has shown that the drugs have potential therapeutic benefits, particularly for serious mental health conditions such as depression, addiction and anxiety. A study published in the peer-reviewed journal JAMA Psychiatry in 2020 found that psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy was an effective and quick-acting treatment for a group of 24 participants with major depressive disorder. Separate research published in 2016 determined that psilocybin treatment produced substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer.

In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration designated MDMA as a breakthrough therapy for PTSD, a move that streamlined clinical trials to test the effectiveness of the drug. The following year, the FDA granted the same status to psilocybin as a breakthrough therapy for treatment-resistant depression.

Alan Davis serves as the director of the Center for Psychedelic Drug Research and Education in the College of Social Work at Ohio State University, which he launched last year with the assistance of a private donation of $1.5 million. The center has developed a 25-hour continuing education program and an undergraduate minor in psychedelic studies. In January, the center launched its first clinical trial to explore the use of psilocybin as a treatment for military veterans diagnosed with PTSD.

“Currently, there have been clinical trials completed for people with addiction, depression, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety [and] end-of-life distress in patients who are terminally ill,” Davis told Columbus Monthly earlier this year. “All of those studies so far have shown really promising effects.”

The ongoing research suggests that treatment with psychedelics such as psilocybin, when combined with psychotherapy, can “reduce and, for some, ameliorate, the mental health problems that they are dealing with,” Davis said. “With some studies, they’ve seen that those positive effects can last six to 12 months.”

Other universities are also studying the therapeutic value of psilocybin and other psychedelics, but Davis says Ohio State is the first to create such a center in a social work setting. He added that educating professionals with social work degrees is essential because they are the biggest part of the workforce dealing directly with patients in a clinical setting.

“Usually, the only message that’s been out there is, ‘drugs are bad, drugs are dangerous, don’t do drugs,’” Davis said. “This is meant to provide that foundational knowledge for people so that they can understand all the interdisciplinary work that’s been done about psychedelics.” 

Slot believes that we can learn a lot from mushrooms, noting that government prohibition has hindered study and set back researchers decades during an era of significant advancement in the biological sciences, especially genetics. He hopes that recent efforts to destigmatize psychedelics are successful so that the research can continue to advance.

“I don’t think psychedelics are going away. They get at the nature of consciousness, of the relationship between the mind and the body,” said Slot. “These are questions fundamental to our nature.”

The post Ohio State University Gets DEA License To Grow Psilocybin appeared first on High Times.

Source: Hightimes

Doctors seeking access to psilocybin mushrooms for training purposes get a boost from the Green Party

Seventeen healthcare professionals who have been waiting more than 100 days to learn whether or not they will be able to access psilocybin mushrooms for training purposes have received the support of three members of Parliament, including Elizabeth May. Read More
Source: tghop