Cannabis Science & Technology - June 2022

Cannabis Science & Technology - June 2022

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Psychedelics: New Frontiers in Alternative Medicine | vol. 5 no. 5 8 feature The Path to Legalized, Accessible Psilocybin Therapy B Y L A R R Y B E R E S F O R D S MALL-SCALE PUBLISHED STUDIES have shown dramatic results for psilocybin as a treat- ment for the depression and demoralization ex- perienced by people confronting a terminal or life-threatening illness, among other mental health appli- cations. Numerous parties are asking how this psychedelic substance could become recognized, permitted, and wide- ly accessible for treatment uses beyond its current, limited research context. But the legal barriers, primarily at the US Federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), contin- ue to impede these wider applications. Research teams at New York University (NYU) Lan- gone Health (New York, New York), Johns Hopkins Med- ical Center (Baltimore, Maryland), and elsewhere contin- ue to advance our scientific understanding of psilocybin, a psychedelic drug derived from so-called "magic" mush- rooms, for the treatment of spiritual and existential suffering and trauma. Meanwhile, pharmaceutical com- panies wait in the wings, in anticipation of its legalization within the next few years. But what would legalization and widespread availabili- ty of psilocybin therapy look like? Sunil Aggarwal, MD, a palliative care physician and cofounder of the Advanced Integrative Medical Science Institute (AIMS) in Seat- tle, Washington, wants to find out. AIMS provides what it calls "entheogen"-assisted psychotherapy with psy- choactive substances that have historically been used for culturally sanctioned mystical or visionar y experiences. Dr. Aggarwal already offers ketamine-assisted therapy, us- ing that legally available psychedelic and Federal Drug Ad- ministration (FDA)-approved anesthetic, which has shown powerful results against depression, suicidal ideation, and psy- cho-spiritual distress. Its effects are said to resemble a near death experience. "I've been using ketamine-assisted therapy Image credit: Oleksandr/

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