Weekly Psychedelic News – Week 42, 2023

Stay up-to-date with the latest in the world of psychedelics with our weekly news roundup for week 42 of 2023. Read about the latest research, policy updates, and industry developments in the rapidly growing field of psychedelic science.

California Governor Vetoed Bills on Hallucinogen Decriminalization

California government building

California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoed two significant bills. The first would have made California the pioneer U.S. state to ban caste-based discrimination. The second aimed at decriminalizing the possession and personal use of certain hallucinogens, including psychedelic mushrooms.

Regarding the decriminalization of hallucinogens, the bill sought to protect individuals from arrest or prosecution for possessing small quantities of plant-based hallucinogens. However, Newsom argued that more preparatory work is needed before decriminalization, suggesting that guidelines for treatment should be established first. Though psychedelic treatment has gained momentum as a therapeutic option for mental ailments, with the Federal Drug Administration acknowledging its potential, concerns remain. Some fear increased crime rates and easier drug access for minors, although studies dispute the former.

The proposed legislation in California, set to be effective by 2025, aimed at directing the state’s Health and Human Services Agency to research and provide guidelines on the therapeutic use of psychedelics.

Despite state-level acceptance, these substances would remain illegal under federal law. Recently, psychedelics have gained recognition for potential therapeutic benefits, notably with the FDA acknowledging psilocybin as a promising treatment for depression. The public’s perspective on psychedelics has evolved to support their medicinal use, with veterans among its vocal proponents, citing their effectiveness in treating trauma-related disorders.

New Study Suggests Classic Psychedelics May Offer Therapeutic Benefits in Reducing OCD Symptoms

Modeling subsequent intake probability and frequency. (A) Repeated use of the substance. (B) Persistence of substance-induced OCD improvement. (C) Estimated probability of subsequent intake as a function of OCD improvement magnitude, as modeled using a logistic regression (n = 90). One dot is one participant; the line and ribbon represent the regression curve and associated standard error. D. Estimated distribution of subsequent intake frequency according to the persistence of OCD improvement, as modeled using an ordinal regression (n = 69).

A study published in Scientific Reports on August 17, 2023, explored the potential therapeutic effects of classic psychedelics, such as LSD and psilocybin, in reducing symptoms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD is a challenging psychiatric condition characterized by intrusive thoughts, repetitive behaviors, and avoidance behaviors. Current treatments, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), often have limitations, and some patients do not respond well.

The study investigated the subjective efficiency of various psychoactive substances in reducing OCD symptoms through an online survey. Classic psychedelics were found to be associated with significant improvements in OCD symptoms compared to other substances. The intensity and pleasantness of the acute effects of psychedelics, as well as the dose, were correlated with the magnitude of the therapeutic effect. Furthermore, over 30% of participants reported that these improvements lasted for more than three months.

The study also found that substance usage appeared to be tuned to the therapeutic effect, with participants experiencing stronger therapeutic effects more likely to use the substance again. However, there was no significant impact observed regarding the mindset and context during substance intake.

The results suggest that classic psychedelics may have potential in reducing OCD symptoms, but caution is advised due to the subjective nature of the study and the need for further clinical trials to confirm these observations. Additionally, the persistence of the therapeutic effect and its mechanisms remain to be explored.

FDA Issues Alert on Risks of Unsupervised Ketamine Use for Psychiatric Disorders

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about the risks associated with the unsupervised use of compounded ketamine for treating psychiatric conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Compounded ketamine is a modified version tailored for individual patients. The FDA’s alert comes amid a rise in telemedicine prescriptions that enable users to take the drug at home, which the agency says could lead to adverse health outcomes such as increased blood pressure, respiratory depression, and urinary issues.

While the FDA recognizes supervised ketamine use in clinics and wellness centers, it warns that online platforms prescribing ketamine may not provide sufficient information about potential risks. Except for the federally approved esketamine nasal spray, the psychiatric use of ketamine remains unregulated and unapproved, though not illegal.

Experts in the pharmaceutical industry have voiced concerns that the lack of nuance in the FDA’s guidance may lead to stringent crackdowns by state regulators, potentially limiting access to what they consider a valuable medication. Medical professionals, on the other hand, argue for strict supervision during ketamine treatments, emphasizing that the drug should not be administered at home.

Psychedelic Market Update – October 9th – 13th

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