Will The DEA Give In As Advocates Revolt Over Proposed Scheduling Of Five Psychedelic Compounds?

Despite decriminalization efforts underway across the country, the DEA proposed putting five psychedelic compounds in the Schedule I category of the Controlled Substances Act. 

The agency’s ban of 4-OH-DiPT, 5-MeO-AMT, 5-MeO-MiPT, 5-MeO-DET, and DiPT would put five tryptamines in the same category as drugs like heroin, ecstacy, LSD and of course cannabis.

Some 90 people, including researchers and advocates, have submitted official feedback to the agency upon publishing the scheduling proposal in the Federal Register, Marijuana Moment reported.

The DEA justified its move by saying that it considered research and recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which found that “these substances are being abused for their hallucinogenic properties,” in addition to its own eight-factor analyses, in the process of making the scheduling proposal.

Constructive Criticism

Interestingly, according to Matt Baggott, a neuroscientist and CEO of the pharmatech company Tactogen, the HHS provided the DEA with its analysis of the compounds a decade ago, which “raises the question of whether this scheduling is in response to the increased interest in psychedelic medicine.”

Advocates critical of the DEA's scheduling decisions are questioning the agency's judgment on the subject, as well.

“Actions such as this are completely misguided and actually contribute negatively to the so-called war on drugs,” one of the advocates wrote in the comments submitted to the agency on the proposal to date. “If these substances are banned, they will be replaced by more and more obscure and convoluted chemicals with even more questionable safety profiles. Please stop and think about the potential ramifications of a decision like this.”

Another person who identified themself as a military veteran highlighted the extremely promising results of using psychedelics in therapy for depression, anxiety, addiction and other mental health disorders like PTSD.

“As a veteran that suffers from PTSD, who has many other friends suffering from PTSD, some of whom have committed suicide, I am hopeful that one of these compounds will one day be able to end our suffering for good,” the person said. “But that won’t happen without study and research.”

The Petition To Reschedule Psilocybin

In the meantime, a petition filed last week by Seattle phycian Sunil Aggarwal, who specializes in end-of-life care, is urging the DEA to reschedule psilocybin as a less-restricted Schedule II drug. The move came on the heels of a rejection of a lawsuit by the doctor and cancer patients seeking access to psilocybin to help treat end-of-life depression and anxiety. In January, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit dismissed the lawsuit on procedural grounds.

Photo: Courtesy of Anni Roenkae from Pexels

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