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Congressional Committee to Hold Hearing on Psychedelics, Medical Cannabis Bills for Veterans

This week a congressional committee will be considering two measures on psychedelics and medical cannabis for military veterans. The House Veterans’ Affairs Health subcommittee will be discussing a measure that would require the veterans’ affairs department to carry out and support studies on the safety and effectiveness of forms of marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain, among other eligible conditions.

The measure, called the Veterans CARE Act, was sponsored by Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

The legislation also stipulates that the research conducted must include extracts and plants, at least three varieties of marijuana with varying concentrations of CBD and THC as well as different methods of marijuana delivery, including inhalation, ingestion and topical application. Additionally, the department of Veterans Affairs would have to present a research plan to Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs committees and make requests to support their research. The department will also be required to come up with yearly reports on its progress once the measure is enacted.

Miller-Meeks has, in the past, discussed the need to support new research to unlock the potential of marijuana and psychedelics for the treatment of conditions that affect veterans, such as PTSD.

The other legislation being discussed will instruct the same department to inform Congress of any psychedelic substances added to its formulary within 180 days of approval by the FDA. The legislation, sponsored by Representative Derrick Van Orden, stipulates that the department’s report should include the secretary’s justification for this decision. Van Orden also cosponsored a bipartisan initiative to allocate funds to the defense department to carry out trials on the therapeutic potential of some psychedelics for military members on active duty.

This initiative was signed into law by President Joseph Biden via an amendment attached to this year’s National Defense Authorization Act.

At the moment, however, no psychedelics have been approved at the federal level as medicine. This may soon change as the Food and Drug Administration recently consented to review a new drug application for MDMA-assisted treatment. It has also designated a compound similar to LSD and psilocybin as breakthrough therapies.

This development comes after veterans’ affairs issued a request for applications earlier this year to carry out studies on the use of psychedelics in treating depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

In other news, officials from the FDA recently joined researchers at a public meeting on next steps for carrying out studies to develop drugs based on psychedelics.

These hearings are likely to be welcomed by cannabis enterprises such as Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NASDAQ: ACB) (TSX: ACB) since they could result in the enactment of laws easing access to psychedelics and marijuana products by members of the U.S. military, and that would be one more vestige of prohibition chipped away.

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