Top Federal Drug Official Praises Psychedelics' Potential, Psilocybin And Ketamine On City Health Plans And More

Zinger Key Points
  • NIDA Director Nora Volkow stressed the need for rigorous research on the therapeutic potential of psychedelics despite growing acceptance..
  • The NCCIH highlighted psilocybin's benefits for treating mental health conditions like anxiety, depression and alcohol use disorder.
  • Atlanta City Council explores adding psilocybin and ketamine to healthcare plans for city workers as alternative mental health treatments.

"Tremendous Excitement" Around Psychedelic Medicine, Says Top Federal Drug Official

There is "tremendous excitement" about the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, says National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Nora Volkow. However, this top federal drug official emphasized that while promising, psychedelic treatments need more rigorous research and are "not magic."

During a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Volkow explained that despite growing enthusiasm, current data does not fully support widespread use, reported Marijuana Moment. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) inquired about current research status, stressing the need for evidence from agencies like NIDA before calling certain substances medicine. Meanwhile, Volkow stressed the importance of understanding optimal administration to ensure long-term benefits and minimize risks, underscoring the need for further studies.

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Federal Health Agency Recognizes Psilocybin's Therapeutic Potential

A newly posted page on the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) website highlighted the therapeutic potential of psilocybin, especially for treating alcohol use disorder, anxiety and depression. The page, “Psilocybin for Mental Health and Addiction: What You Need To Know,” outlines federally funded research into psilocybin’s effects on pain, migraine headaches and psychiatric disorders.

While psilocybin is a Schedule I controlled substance, it has received “breakthrough therapy” status from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The NCCIH emphasizes the need for more research, citing studies on short-term benefits and safety concerns. The page advises against using psilocybin as a substitute for professional medical care and encourages consulting healthcare providers about its use.

Atlanta Considers Adding Psilocybin And Ketamine To City Workers’ Healthcare Plans

A new proposal from an Atlanta City Council member seeks to explore adding psilocybin and ketamine to the city's healthcare plan for mental health treatments. The resolution, sponsored by the majority of the council members, directs officials to assess the feasibility of these treatments for firefighters, police and other government workers.

Council member Liliana Bakhtiari, lead sponsor, stressed the need for alternative therapies due to the limited effectiveness of traditional treatments for conditions like PTSD and depression. The city's human resources department is tasked with reviewing scientific evidence, safety, cost and regulatory implications, with findings due by December 10.

"We should be offering our employees, and especially our first responders who are expected to be superhuman, the same amount of grace and providing them with a tool set to essentially overcome this issue," Bakhtiari told Axios.

Photo: Benzinga edit with photo by Alexander_Volkov and canbedone on Shutterstock.

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Posted In: CannabisGovernmentNewsPsychedelicsRegulationsMarketsAtlanta City CouncilBrian SchatzdepressionFDAKetamineLiliana BakhtiariNational Center for Complementary and Integrative HealthNational Institute on Drug AbuseNCCIHNIDANora VolkowPsilocybinPTSD
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