Psychedelics Policy Newsletter: Impactful ibogaine study, bill introduced in New Hampshire, and more
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Psychedelics Policy Newsletter

Psychedelics Policy Newsletter: Impactful ibogaine study, bill introduced in New Hampshire, and more

Plus: State news roundup and the defense spending bill calls for research on using psychedelics to treat PTSD in military members, and more.

Welcome to Reason Foundation’s newsletter on psychedelics policy news and analysis. This edition covers key developments from Nov. 2023 through Jan. 2024. Topics include:

  • A new ibogaine study shows the drug’s potential health uses
  • Medical psychedelics bill introduced in New Hampshire
  • Defense bill includes funding for Republican-led measure for psychedelic studies

A new ibogaine study shows its promise as a treatment

A recent scientific study of ibogaine could address key concerns regarding psychedelics’ safety and encourage new investment into its development as an approved treatment in the United States. Stanford University’s Nolan Williams and his team found that ibogaine dramatically reduced post-traumatic stress disorder and symptoms of traumatic brain injury in veterans. The treatments were administered at a private clinic in Mexico with no serious adverse events. 

Now that there are at least two federal government agencies–the United States Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs–committed to psychedelics research, this study provides more motivation to allocate dollars to clinical trials if the agencies conclude that ibogaine offers a more cost-effective course of treatment for various conditions afflicting veterans than what currently exists. Ultimately, this research could lead to acceptance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of ibogaine as a treatment for brain injury or other mental health conditions. 

This new research should also serve as valuable information for states, such as California, that are considering bills related to the legalization of a range of botanical psychedelics. More information about this study and its implications can be found in this Reason Foundation analysis

Medical psychedelics law introduced in New Hampshire

New Hampshire Rep. Kevin Verville (R-Rockingham County) introduced legislation that would establish a medical license framework for psychedelics. The bill would allow eligible residents to legally possess small amounts of LSD, mescaline, or psilocybin after they have demonstrated competency in psychedelic treatment through a medically supervised administration.

New Hampshire’s approach would combine the traditional infrastructure of a medical cannabis card with additional safeguards that require education and regular mental health check-ins. Read our commentary on the bill here

State roundup: Jan. 2024

Our regular roundup of state-based psychedelic policy news includes several notable developments, including New Hampshire’s proposed medical psychedelics bill and a proposed pilot program in New York.

The chair of Kentucky’s Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission, Bryan Hubbard, resigned from his post after the state’s newly elected attorney general announced Hubbard would be replaced by Chis Evans, a former administrator at the Drug Enforcement Agency, which is known for its conservative approach to psychedelics. 

Hubbard had championed allocating $42 million toward Food and Drug Administration-supervised clinical trials examining the effectiveness of psychedelic ibogaine as a treatment for opioid addiction. This funding would’ve come from about 5% of the settlement funds received by Kentucky in a lawsuit against manufacturers of prescription opioids in which the state alleged manufacturers had engaged in deceptive marketing practices. Settlement funds are restricted for programs to mitigate the impact of opioid addiction.

For more state news, including a detailed look at considerations from Colorado’s committee that makes recommendations on the state’s upcoming market for professional psychedelic services, please visit our roundup.

Defense bill includes funding for Republican-led measure for psychedelic studies

As part of the $886 billion annual defense spending bill, Congress allocated $10 million in funding toward clinical trials of psychedelics (MDMA, psilocybin, ibogaine, and 5-meo-DMT). An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act requires the Department of Defense to figure out how service members can participate in the trials, including those to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Texas Tribune reported the idea originated as a bill from Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Humble) and was adapted into an amendment by Rep. Morgan Luttrell (R-Houston), both military veterans who have championed psychedelic research aimed at treating active duty service members and veterans.

This month, the Department of Veterans Affairs issued a public call for research grants to study psychedelic therapy. “This is the first time since the 1960s that VA is funding research on such compounds,” reads the announcement.

“This is an important step to explore the efficacy of a potential new set of promising treatments that could improve the health and quality of life for veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough in the new release.

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