President Joe Biden signed off on a new defense bill that includes provisions for funding clinical trials on the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs for active-duty military personnel.
The president approved 2024’s National Defense Authorization Act on Dec. 22, a week after Congress green lit the package and sent it to his desk earlier last month.
In a statement, Biden made no remarks or references to the specific language regarding psychedelic treatment for military members.
The NDAA allocates $10 million for the Department of Defense to conduct research in collaboration with academic institutions and federal and state agencies. The focus is on the potential benefits of psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin, MDMA, ibogaine, and 5-MeO-DMT, in treating post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries, conditions prevalent among military members.
Rep. Morgan Luttrell, a Texas Republican and member of the House Armed Services Committee, carried those provisions to the NDAA.
The move marks a shift in the government’s approach to mental health care within the military, opening doors to treatment methods that have been largely unexplored due to regulatory constraints. Nearly a year ago, Biden gave his nod to a historic stand-alone cannabis research bill.
The legislation requires the Department of Defense to establish a system for active-duty service members with PTSD or TBI to participate in these clinical trials. The department has been given a 180-day deadline from the bill’s enactment to set up this research program.
While the NDAA has also broadened the scope of research to include various plant-based alternative therapies, it notably excluded a proposed section for a medical cannabis pilot program for veterans. That amendment from Rep. Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican, and a Senate-passed provision to protect individuals from being denied security clearances due to past marijuana use were left out of the final bill. (Full Story)