House dismisses AOC amendment to promote medical research into psychedelics

Before July came to an end, an amendment that could have opened the door for psychedelic medical research was rejected by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Numerous other related amendments were also addressed by House members during the meeting, which was held on July 27.

Since this time, a psychedelics company in Canada has received a green light for a PTSD therapy study using MDMA; something that could potentially influence the House body to vote differently next time round.

Psychedelic research measure was filed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)

Based on its language, the proposed bill sought to eliminate a provision that’s been included in spending legislation for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) since the 1990s. 

Ocasio-Cortez made an effort to banish the language via an amendment in 2019. Unfortunately, it was crushed by Republicans and most members of her own party in a vote of 91-331.

During the most recent event, which occurred at a pivotal time for psychedelics reform, the measure was defeated by the chamber in a vote of 140-285. Had it been approved, the measure would have been included as part of an extensive funding package covering numerous federal agencies. 

Although the psychedelic research bill was supported by the majority of Democrats, support was not strong enough for the measure to be adopted.

“The United States has and continues to uphold an obsolete provision from the war on drugs,” Ocasio-Cortez expressed on the floor prior to the vote. “This provision specifically has for a very long period of time presented and acted as a barricade to federal research on certain substances psilocybin, MDMA and [cannabis] and allowing us to research the potential therapeutic applications of these drugs in the treatment of diseases such as PTSD, addiction and depression. We are long overdue.”

Psychedelics could help veterans deal with “invisible wounds”

Broadening psychedelic research could “help veterans deal with those invisible wounds that they bring back from the battlefield—PTSD and other mental issues that they bring back with them and carry with them on a day to day basis.” 

This is according to Rep. Lou Correa (D-CA), who spoke out about her support for the measure. She makes a good point, since randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have proven that MDMA-assisted psychotherapy can produce long-lasting symptomatic relief among PTSD patients. 

Moreover, numerous small-scale studies have shown that ketamine can provide temporary relief from PTSD. Classical psychedelics may also contribute to the psychotherapeutic treatment of PTSD. However, controlled studies have not yet been carried out into this class of substances, which include LSD and psilocybin. Further research is needed.