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Wednesday, Jun 19, 2024
Mugglehead Magazine
Alternative investment news based in Vancouver, B.C.


U.S. invests millions in psychedelics research to treat chronic pain in older adults

The initiative has potential to greatly expand the range of treatment options available

U.S. to invest millions in psychedelics research for treating chronic pain in older adults
Photo: Rowan Dunne

The American National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced plans to spend US$8.4 million on researching psychedelic therapies last week. The upcoming studies aim to help treat chronic pain in older adults with the help of “classic” psychedelics like LSD, psilocybin and DMT.

The notice of funding opportunity posted by the government agency recognizes that clinically authorized psychedelic-assisted therapy (PAT) will likely become widespread in the years to come. This has prompted the NIH to organize a clinical trials network with a particular focus on gathering data that can help aid older Americans.

The organization has pointed out that chronic pain is alarmingly prevalent among the country’s older adults. About 40 per cent of them report living with it while 60 per cent of that group say they have multiple types. It has several causes.

“Studies should include measures of participants’ subjective experience to elucidate its relationship with therapeutic effects and measures of blinding participants and study staff to control for expectancy effects,” the agency described in the notice.

“Qualitative and quantitative measures of feasibility [e.g., recruitment and retention], acceptability, tolerability, willingness to participate and possible stigma associated with participation should be considered too.”

Those interested in participating in the trials network can apply to receive a portion of the funding starting this September. Eligible organizations include non-profits, academic institutions and local governments.

The initiative has the potential to greatly expand the range of treatment options available for those suffering from chronic pain.

Work on this project will start ramping up next summer and It will be ongoing for up to five years.

Read more: DEA permits Arizona church to import ayahuasca for religious purposes

Read more: California advances bill for psychedelics centers

Psychedelics slowly but surely gain acceptance

Federal agencies in the United States have become increasingly interested in the value of psychedelics and more lenient with their policies. Just last week, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) authorized an Arizona church to import the psychedelic ayahuasca for religious purposes.

The DEA has agreed to produce 250 per cent more DMT (11,000 grams) and 25 per cent more psilocybin (20,000 grams) for research purposes this year than it did in 2023.

The NIH has recognized the potential psychedelics have to help treat other conditions like depression, PTSD and substance use disorders. Like the DEA, It has acknowledged the cultural and spiritual significance of psychedelics as well.

“Research with psychedelics was inspired by millennia of Indigenous experience incorporating sacred plant medicines in ceremonial healing practices,” the agency said last week.

The American Food and Drug Administration released its first draft guidance document on psychedelics last June. It has designated certain psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA as breakthrough therapies.

Several American universities — such as John Hopkins, the University of California and Ohio State — continue to become increasingly interested in psychedelics too.


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