Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., filed legislation on Friday to make it easier for researchers to study the therapeutic and medical benefits of certain psychedelic drugs such as magic mushrooms amid a growing national shift in attitudes toward the substances.
In an amendment to a large-scale appropriations bill, Ocasio-Cortez wants to end the rider that prohibits federal money being spent on “any activity that promotes the legalization of any drug or other substance in Schedule I” of the Controlled Substances Act.
“Academics and scientists report that provisions like this create [stigma] and insurmountable logistical hurdles to researching Schedule I drugs,” her summary states.
While certain entheogenic substances – such as mushrooms and peyote – have been used for centuries by Native American communities, the drugs were widely made illegal across the globe during the 1960s and 1970s. The tide, however, seems to be turning on these substances amid research at numerous universities into their efficacy in treating mental health issues and addiction.
In an analysis published last October in an issue of Neuropharmacology, a medical journal focused on neuroscience, researchers from Johns Hopkins University recommended that psilocybin be reclassified for medical use – arguing its benefits in helping treat PTSD, depression and anxiety and helping people stop smoking.
“In the 1960s, they were on the cutting edge of neuroscience research and understanding how the brain worked,” Matthew Johnson, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins, told the New York Times. “But then it got out of the lab.”