This Week in Psychedelics

Massachusetts activists pass huge milestone, forcing lawmakers to consider psychedelic legalization in 2024; and that's just the beginning!

December 8, 2023

This Week...

Massachusetts activists announced that the state’s local election clerks certified that there are now enough valid signatures to force consideration of a psychedelics legalization initiative before potentially putting the issue on the state’s 2024 ballot.

After submitting signed petitions to local clerks last month, the campaign Massachusetts for Mental Health Options (MMHO) said that those officials have now verified more than 95,000 of the signatures. Those petitions will now be forwarded to the secretary of state’s office for final validation.

Supporters need 74,574 valid signatures to initiate the first step of the process, which will put the reform in front of state lawmakers next year. Here’s more:

Compass Pathways announced the publication of a paper in JAMA Psychiatry that demonstrated the potential for the company’s COMP360 psilocybin treatment for treatment-resistant bipolar type II disorder.

Results from the investigator-initiated open-label study were first presented at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology in 2022.

The study, which was conducted by Dr Scott Aaronson at Sheppard Pratt, Baltimore, and funded by Compass, investigated the safety and efficacy of a single 25 mg dose of COMP360 psilocybin treatment in participants with treatment-resistant bipolar II.

The primary outcome measure was change in Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale (MADRS) total score from baseline to week 3. All participants had lower MADRS scores, with a mean change from baseline of -24.0 points. 12 participants met the response criteria and 11 met the remission criteria.

There was no increase in the suicidality score based on the MADRS, no manic symptoms and no unexpected adverse events or difficulties with the dosing sessions reported throughout the study. The most common adverse event was headache reported by 4 out of 15 participants on the day of dosing, with symptoms resolving within 24 hours. Check it out:

Bipartisan congressional lawmakers reached an agreement on a large-scale defense bill that contains a section to fund studies into the therapeutic use of psychedelics such as psilocybin and MDMA for military service members.

Following negotiations, lawmakers released the conference report for the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday evening, maintaining psychedelics research provisions championed by Rep. Morgan Luttrell that were attached to the House version over the summer.

The psychedelics provisions that have been adopted would require the Department of Defense to establish a process by which service members with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury could participate in clinical trials involving psilocybin, MDMA, ibogaine and 5-MeO-DMT. The list of covered psychedelics was also expanded to broadly include “qualified plant-based alternative therapies.” Here’s more:

Did You Know?

Did you know that anthropological research reveals ancient cultures used psychedelics to increase productivity within startup companies? Ok, maybe not. But this piece of satire from the Onion is just too good not to share. Enjoy: