Mushrooms & Medicine 2021: The Future of Psychedelic Medicine and Medical Marijuana Research
Updated: Jul 29
The medicinal value of cannabis and psychedelics is backed by science. However, controlled human clinical trials are necessary to advance medical marijuana research, psychedelic medicine the scientific community's knowledge and understanding of these all-natural treatments. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) proposal is set to make that need a reality with an increase in marijuana and psychedelic production for research purposes.
What is the Legal Status of Psychedelic Medicine and Medical Marijuana?
The legal status is a grey area for both natural substances. The laws on the books are not congruent with what has been scientifically shown to be beneficial for medical marijuana and psychedelics. The FDA's designation of cannabis and psychedelic substances, including psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, and mescaline, as Schedule 1 drugs, makes it challenging to complete scientific research.
All these natural drugs are illegal to cultivate, manufacture, and use federally in the U.S. More than half of U.S. states defy these laws with their own regulations allowing medical and, in some cases, recreational use for marijuana. However, the same isn't true for psychedelic medicine.
Research is promising but compromised by the legal status. Only one U.S. state allows medicinal use for psilocybin, LSD, and other psychedelics. In November 2020, Oregon voters passed Measure 109, legalizing psilocybin for therapeutic use.
Major Production Changes
The proposed increases in cultivation and production are a win for the industry. A lack of access is one of the most significant barriers to any level of research. But cannabis has been available for research, albeit in small sample sizes.
Psychedelics are harder to come by. The DEA regulates Schedule 1 drugs—those with no medical application and a high risk of abuse—yet they're difficult to get for research purposes. This is due to increased security surrounding these substances at federal institutions that store them, making it challenging for scientists to access them.
Under the DEAs proposal, medical marijuana research is getting a 60% boost in production for a total of 3.2 million grams per year. Additionally, cannabis extracts are getting a massive increase with these changes. Many consumers are using concentrates for a better response to pain and other disorders.
If they allow an increase in quality with more realistic THC percentages, the U.S. could compete with Israel in cannabinoid research. Currently, the Middle Eastern country is the leader in scientific studies for cannabis.
LSD could see a 1,115% increase, and the most significant jump is for MDMA, which goes from 50 grams to an impressive 3,200 grams.
These changes bring the future of psychedelic medicine closer and improve the budding knowledge about medical cannabis, a concrete fact with solid scientific proof.
The DEA just made a bold move to expand research into medical marijuana and psychedelics. While there are still many legal hurdles to overcome before this becomes law (this only passed through Congress), it may be what patients need to finally find out all about how these substances can positively impact our health care system.