The Dutch government has established a national commission to investigate the properties of MDMA, its risks and benefits for society and its potential value as a therapy.
Last Tuesday, the Netherlands’ University of Groningen announced that it was appointing Brigit Toebes as the Chair of the new Dutch State Commission on MDMA. Toebes is a law professor and scientific director at the European institution.
The news follows the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport of the Netherlands Ernst Kuipers attending the presentation of a report entitled “Therapeutic applications of psychedelics” from the research foundation ZonMW at the University Medical Centre Groningen (UMCG) On March 6.
Kuipers initially started developing an interest in the potential of psychedelics last year and said the Netherlands can play a pioneering role in developing the right frameworks, limiting potential risks and designing training programs.
The report discusses the current landscape for psychedelic-assisted therapy, target populations that could benefit the most from it as well as difficulties with scientific research in the field of clinical psychedelics. It also talks about the development of certified educational institutions that will help set the standard for the quality of psychedelic therapies.
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The council was proposed by Kuipers and approved by the Dutch Council of Ministers this month. It will act as an independent advisory body and provide unbiased insights and recommendations to the council, according to the non-profit European psychedelics research organization Open Foundation.
The commission has been tasked with evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of using MDMA for medical purposes and its analysis will be a multidisciplinary assessment of possible risks to human health and the prevention of those risks. It will be providing its findings to the Dutch Cabinet by the end of January next year.
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Open Foundation says it is estimated that approximately 200,000 people in the Netherlands suffer from severe psychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and treatment-resistant depression (TRD).
“There are indications that MDMA could help patients. Trauma patients, for instance. The State Commission comprises a very broad base encompassing a wide range of expertise,” said Toebes.
“It is a positive development that the status of MDMA in the context of public health and its medicinal use are being investigated. I am looking forward to receiving the State Commission’s advice,” said Kuipers.
Other members of the commission will include Wim van den Brink, Emeritus Professor of Addiction and Psychiatry at the Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam; Eric Vermetten, Professor of Medical-Biological and Psychiatric Aspects of Psychotrauma at Leiden University Medical Centre; and Martha de Jonge, the Senior Project Leader of Drug Prevention at the Trimbos Institute.
The Netherlands has been a significant contributor to psychedelic research and advocacy
In September last year, Vancouver’s Algernon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (CSE: AGN) (FRANKFURT: AGWO) (OTCQB: AGNPF) received approval to conduct a phase 1 clinical study in Leiden’s Centre for Human Drug Research examining an intravenous formulation of DMT (AP-188) for the treatment of ischemic stroke.
Red Light Holland Corp (CSE: TRIP) (FSE: 4YX) (OTC: TRUFF) is a Netherlands-based psychedelics company specializing in the sale of psilocybin truffles. The company is currently running a matching donation campaign with British Columbia’s non-profit TheraPsil to help pay legal fees for a group of patients suing the Canadian federal government over its restrictions on psilocybin access.
Recently, Australia became the first country to implement regulations around MDMA after it passed legislation allowing psychiatrists to prescribe the substance –along with psilocybin– for the treatment of certain mental health conditions.