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A new global coalition on Tuesday announced a new campaign to have psilocybin mushrooms reprogrammed internationally.
As the psychedelic reform movement continues to grow in the United States, the International Therapeutic Psilocybin Rescheduling Initiative (ITPRI) is seeking global policy change to facilitate research into the substance’s therapeutic potential.
Coalition partners include the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the Beckley Foundation, Mind Medicine Australia, Drug Science and the Open Foundation.
The initiative focuses on the international listing of drugs under the 1971 United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances, which currently places psilocybin in the more restricted category, Schedule I, which is supposed to be reserved. drugs which constitute “a particularly serious risk” and have “limited therapeutic uses.”
Proponents say psilocybin does not meet any of these criteria.
Global coalition launches initiative to reprogram psilocybin under the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances. Proud to recognize partners and the advisory board @PLANS @RickDoblin @BeckleyResearch @Drug_Science @MindMedicineAU @ACNIERIKA @OPEN_fndn @b_neuro @ScottLeckie @WKScholten pic.twitter.com/aOJXp1xDbG
– reschedulepsilocybin.org (ITPRI) (@ItpriOrg) January 11, 2022
Schedule I drugs like psilocybin are “subject to strict limits on their scientific and medical use,” the coalition said in a press release. “Annex I authorization, safekeeping, security, manufacture, quantity and import / export restrictions result in a level of regulatory control and oversight which is considerably more onerous than for the three other annexes of the Convention ”.
Therefore, researchers interested in studying the controlled substance “face many regulatory hurdles that dramatically increase the cost, complexity and duration of research and can negatively impact ethical approvals, funding and the collaboration “.
To reprogram psilocybin as part of international policy, the coalition initially said it would engage with member countries that are part of the treaty to initiate a formal review of the benefits and risks of the psychedelic. A single country would need to request the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) review to initiate the process.
“Given the current scientific understanding of psilocybin’s high potential therapeutic value and low risk of dependence, a change in its schedule I drug status is long overdue,” said Christopher Koddermann, co-founder of ITPRI and chairman of the board, in a statement. Press release.
Once the process is initiated by a member country or by the WHO itself, the Executive Committee of the international body on drug dependence (ECDD) would then initiate a critical review of the issue and provide recommendations on a possible policy change. . If the review results in a recommendation for rescheduling, two-thirds of the treaty countries would have to approve it.
There are about a dozen countries that ITPRI has identified as possible carriers of a reprogramming petition for psilocybin, Koddermann told Marijuana Moment. Canada is one of the main targets, as the country has already taken steps to ease restrictions on entheogen in certain therapeutic settings. It has also legalized marijuana nationwide in defiance of international treaties.
“The reprogramming procedures under the 1971 Convention offer a potentially revolutionary opportunity to advance research and accelerate the approval of treatments for patients,” said Willem Scholten, member of the ITPRI advisory board and former secretary of WHO ECDD.
David Nutt, director of the Center for Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London and founder of ITPRI’s partner Drug Science, added that current international psilocybin programming “has severely limited – and continues to limit – research in neuroscience and the development of treatments for patients “.
Separately, the WHO also recently decided not to recommend that kratom – a plant touted for its pain-relieving qualities – be banned internationally following scientific review.
Prior to the decision, some feared that the WHO EDDD would take action to seek international kratom monitoring or recommend a critical review that could ultimately have led to programming following another year-long investigation. .
Additionally, the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs approved a WHO recommendation in 2020 to remove marijuana from the most restrictive global programming category.
Meanwhile, back in the United States, a former Republican congressman joined the board of a psychedelics advocacy group working to reform federal policies around entheogenic plants and fungi like psilocybin.
While Congress has yet to end the marijuana ban, psychedelic reform is also gradually gaining attention in the nation’s capital.
For example, a congressman recently began asking fellow lawmakers to join him in asking the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to allow terminally ill patients to use psilocybin as an experimental treatment without fear of prosecution. federal.
A letter to a dear colleague that is circulated by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) notes that there are federal and state Right to Try (RTT) laws that should ensure that some patients can get the psychedelic given that he showed early potential. in ongoing clinical trials.
Yet the DEA denied access, which prompted a lawsuit filed last March by a Washington state doctor who sought advice from the federal government in treating terminally ill patients with psilocybin mushroom and was told there was no legal way for him to do it.
The lawsuit against DEA is currently before the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which heard oral arguments in the case in September. The Washington State Attorney General‘s Office has joined the plaintiffs in supporting access to psilocybin. DEA argued that the court should dismiss the action because it lacked jurisdiction.
Blumenauer separately told Marijuana Moment last month that he was “excited” by the progress of psychedelic research, as well as the implementation of a psilocybin therapy program that is being implemented in his. Home state of Oregon, where voters approved historic reform in last year’s election.
Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate also introduced legislation late last month that would make it easier for scientists to research Schedule I drugs like marijuana and psilocybin.
Marijuana Moment is already following more than 900 cannabis, psychedelic, and drug bills in state legislatures and in Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $ 25 / month have access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.
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The DEA has repeatedly proposed significant increases in the production of marijuana, psilocybin, and other psychedelics for research purposes, in an effort to aid in the development of federally approved new therapeutic drugs.
NIDA Director Nora Volkow told Marijuana Moment in a recent interview that she was encouraged by the DEA’s previously proposed increase in the drug production quota. She also said studies demonstrating the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics may lead more people to experiment with substances like psilocybin.
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