A GOP congresswoman is touting recently released Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance on psychedelics research and calling for additional work to study the therapeutic benefits of marijuana for military veterans.
In a speech on the House floor on Wednesday, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) talked about the need to support “novel forms of research” to unlock the potential of psychedelics and cannabis for the treatment of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that commonly afflict veterans.
“As a doctor, former director of the Iowa Department of Public Health and 24-year U.S. Army veteran, the mental, emotional and physical health of my constituents and fellow veterans is one of my top priorities in Congress,” she said. “For too long, PTSD and other mental or physical ailments have had devastating effects and far too often go untreated.”
“The new FDA guidance that presents considerations for designing clinical trials for psychedelic drugs will give patients and their doctors increased access to effective treatments, rather than alternatives such as opioids,” she said.
The guidance was also requested under a bipartisan bill that Miller-Meeks introduced, alongside Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and Ro Khanna (D-CA), late last month. Days after that filing, FDA came out with the first-ever non-binding guidelines to support research into developing psychedelic medicines.
In the House floor speech, Miller-Meeks also briefly discussed a separate bill she’s championing, the Veterans Cannabis Analysis, Research, and Effectiveness (CARE) Act, which she filed in March.
She said that the legislation would “allow the [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] to research the effectiveness of using medical cannabis for chronic mental and physical pain.” The congressman also noted that her interest in this field is the reason “we have held roundtables on emerging breakthrough therapies” in the House Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee that she chairs.
“I hope others will join me in supporting these novel forms of research that will benefit our heroic veterans,” she said.
Meanwhile, cannabis and psychedelics policy is also being advanced as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the House including a provision mandating Department of Defense studies into psilocybin and other substances, along with one on a medical marijuana pilot program.
Additional cannabis and psychedelics amendments were blocked from receiving floor votes by the House Rules Committee, however.
Separately, the Senate Appropriations Committee recently released a report for a spending bill that calls on VA to facilitate medical marijuana access for veterans and explore the therapeutic potential of psychedelics. (Full Story)