Two United States Senators have sent a letter to the leadership of federal agencies asking for an update and pushing for advancement on research into psychedelics.
Former presidential candidate Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) sent the official letter to the top brass of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) yesterday. In it the two legislators remind the agencies that the US government used to support research into psychedelics and urged the agencies “to further expand their role in identifying research gaps, potentially promising therapeutic uses of psychedelics, and regulatory hurdles in the field of psychedelic research.”
They also ask for specifics, showing that this is more than just for show. The Senate has oversight powers so an official request from senators isn’t easily ignored. Here are the 5 requests sent to the heads of the NIH and FDA:
1. Please provide details on current NIH funding of psychedelic research, including a breakout by institute, and a breakout by basic versus clinical research.
2. Has NIH conducted a review of the scientific studies on psychedelics funded by NIMH and other federal entities in the period from 1950 to 1965? Was there a focus on the outcomes of those studies and the scientific limitations of those studies, as a means of informing directions of current and future NIH-funded research on psychedelic compounds? If not, would you initiate such a review?
3. What are the gaps in current psychedelic research, including questions about the methods of current clinical trials and other key scientific questions that need to be addressed to further our understanding of psychedelics?
4. What is the current status of collaboration between FDA, NIH, NIH-funded researchers and their academic institutions, and the private sector on research into psychedelics, including on identifying areas of therapeutic impact and potential medications development?
5. What are the regulatory barriers to research on psychedelics? a) What, if any, additional regulatory barriers or requirements are there to studying natural or botanical psychedelics, such as psilocybin?
See the complete letter here:
This high-profile move could help in pushing these crucial agencies towards a more progressive position on research and development of psychedelic medicine.