iridescent holographic waves.

The Psychedelics Industry: Psychedelic Evangelism in Second Wave Research

By Patric Plesa

As interest in psychedelics research and popular psychedelics culture resurges, it is becoming progressively more difficult to discern facts from fantasy. As an academic with expertise in psychology, I too share in the growing enthusiasm for psychedelics research, especially toward therapeutic ends. But I believe a critical perspective, characterized by open science practices and critical theoretical lenses, is indispensable if this field is to avoid the errors of the past and the neoliberal pitfalls of the present.

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colorful soap bubble bursting.

Introductory Editorial — Critical Psychedelic Studies: Correcting the Hype

By Neşe Devenot

Since the 2022 publication of “Preparing for the Bursting of the Psychedelic Hype Bubble,” a JAMA Psychiatry Viewpoint by David Yaden and colleagues, a wave of scholarship and commentaries has emphasized the ethical importance of nuanced science communication about the still-nascent field of psychedelic medicine.

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Modern Medical Research Laboratory with Computer Showing Virus Genome Research Software. Scientific Laboratory Biotechnology Development Center Full of High-Tech Equipment.

How Artificial Intelligence is Revolutionizing Drug Discovery

By Matthew Chun

In recent months, generative artificial intelligence (AI) has taken the world by storm. AI systems like ChatGPT and Stable Diffusion have captured the imagination of the masses with their impressive and sometimes controversial ability to generate human-like text and artwork. However, it may come as a surprise to some that — in addition to writing Twitter threads and dating app messages — AI is also well underway in revolutionizing the discovery of life-saving drugs.

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WASHINGTON MAY 21: Pro-choice activists rally to stop states’ abortion bans in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, DC on May 21, 2019.

Restricting Reproductive Rights During the War on Drugs: Intersectional Regimes of Surveillance and Criminalization That Harm Us All

By Taleed El-Sabawi, Jennifer J. Carroll, and Bayla Ostrach

Health law and policy in the United States are, in many senses, driven by a desire to control. When that control is enacted to impose anti-scientific but deeply moralized social norms, suffering always follows. Consider, for example, the decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which ended a constitutionally recognized right to abortion. This decision allows states to exert near-total control over pregnant people and their bodies — and many are already experiencing physical and emotional harm as a result.

This suffering at the hands of the state is compounded by existing drug law and policies, which also prioritize control over bodies above personal wellbeing and autonomy. Pregnant people who use drugs (including alcohol) are often subject to both of these coercive regimes, facing head-on the harmful synergism between drug criminalization and the criminalization of abortion.

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WASHINGTON, DC - OCT. 2, 2021: Women's March in Washington demanding continued access to abortion after the ban on most abortions in Texas, and looming threat to Roe v Wade in upcoming Supreme Court.

How the Dobbs Ruling Will Affect People with Substance Use Disorder

By Hayfa Ayoubi and Karishma Trivedi

At the young age of 21, Regina McKnight unexpectedly suffered a stillbirth due to umbilical inflammation. She was a grieving mother, but to the state of South Carolina, she was a killer. In 2001, prosecutors charged McKnight with homicide allegedly caused by her use of cocaine while pregnant. The jury in the case returned a guilty verdict after deliberating for thirty minutes. It was not until years later in 2008 that her wrongful conviction was overturned by the state’s Supreme Court

Unfortunately, McKnight is one of many marginalized women of color who make up the majority of individuals criminally prosecuted for substance use during pregnancy. Now that the constitutional protection for abortion under Roe v. Wade has been overturned, more women like McKnight will have the full power of the state brought to bear on them through forced procedures, surveillance, and jail sentences solely because they happened to get pregnant. 

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Washington, USA- January13, 2020: FDA Sign outside their headquarters in Washington. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or USFDA) is a federal agency of the USA.

Mushroom Monographs? The FDA’s Potential Role in a Legal Recreational Drug Market

By Jonathan Perez-Reyzin

Within the psychedelic legal landscape, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays a central role — it is the regulatory mechanism by which drugs like MDMA and psilocybin may soon become legal for medical use.

But for many working in drug policy, medicalization is not the exclusive goal. Indeed, there have been calls for legalization of psychedelics for non-medical use — and we are seeing an early attempt at such a model in Oregon.

These efforts are not yet reaching the federal level, but it’s only a matter of time before the legalization of psychedelics and other currently illegal drugs for adult recreational use becomes a federal question, as is already occurring with marijuana. And despite the FDA’s widely recognized role in medicine, few have considered the role the FDA would play in a federal regulatory regime for the non-medical use of drugs, even though it already does regulate at least one recreational substance legal for recreational use: tobacco.

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Person examining psilocybin mushrooms in lab.

Microdosing Under the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act: A Definite Maybe

By Dave Kopilak

In November 2020, Oregon voters passed the Oregon Psilocybin Services Act (the “Act”), of which I was the primary drafter. This piece of legislation legalizes and regulates the manufacturing of psilocybin products and the provision of psilocybin services under Oregon law. The manufacture, sale, and use of psilocybin products under the Act will continue to be illegal under federal law.

The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) is the state agency that will regulate the program. The Act provides for a two-year program development period that began on January 1, 2021 and that will end on December 31, 2022. The OHA is currently engaged in the rulemaking process and will adopt final rules by no later than December 31, 2022. The OHA will begin receiving license applications on January 2, 2023, and the first licensed businesses likely will begin operating in the first half of 2023.

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Woman experiencing headache lying in bed in darkened room.

Small Doses of Psychedelics for Cluster Headaches

By Bob Wold

One understudied condition for which small doses of psychedelic substances such as psilocybin may be beneficial is cluster headache.

As founder and executive director of the advocacy group Clusterbusters, I have seen firsthand, as a patient and an activist, that, despite its modest name, cluster is far from “just” a headache. It is a chronic pain condition that lasts “on” and “off” for months or years, often with no hint as to its origin. Estimates suggest that one in 1,000 people – which equates to over 332,000 Americans – suffer from cluster headache.

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A paper figure of a cat that fills the shadow of a lion. 3D illustration.

A Proportionate Response to Microdosing

By James Fadiman

Law and policy around microdosing of psychedelic substances should reflect its proportionally low risks.

“Microdosing” refers to the practice of consuming very low doses of psychedelic substances, about 1/10th to 1/20th of a typical dose, primarily of psilocybin-containing mushrooms or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Doses typically are taken intermittently, over several weeks, and they do not interfere with normal daily activities, unlike the powerful consciousness-altering effects of higher doses.

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pieces of paper with chemical structures, micro dosing concept.

Findings from the Microdose.me Study: A Large Scale Observational Study of Psychedelic Microdosing

By Joseph Rootman

Public uptake of psychedelic microdosing has outpaced research on the practice, which has left gaps in our understanding. In order to help fill some of these gaps in the scientific literature, our clinical psychology research team at the University of British Columbia has launched the Microdose.me study along with a team of international researchers and partners. This symposium contribution provides an overview of our findings to date, and offers suggestions for future microdosing research.

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