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HIV-Cannabis Study, SAFE Banking Gets Another Chance, & MDMA’s Belief-Shifting Powers

Cesar Gallegos

by Cesar Gallegos

June 23, 2023 07:30 am ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
HIV-Cannabis Study, SAFE Banking Gets Another Chance, & MDMA’s Belief-Shifting Powers

Weill Cornell Get’s Funding For HIV-Cannabis Study

Exciting things are happening at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences. The program received a $11.6 million grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to study how cannabis interacts with the brains of individuals with HIV.

The five year study is headed by Dr. Lishomwa Ndhlovu. Researchers will analyze gene activity and other molecular mechanisms within individual cells using brain tissue samples from deceased human patients and animal models. Analysis will primarily focus on the hippocampus region of the brain which plays a crucial role in learning and memory.

The reason the team is focusing on the hippocampus is that HIV causes individuals to experience cognitive decline, affecting their working memory and attention span. The study will help the team figure out if cannabis exacerbates or protects against HIV’s effects on the brain.

If all goes well, the project could kickstart the next generation of HIV care.

Is It Finally Time For SAFE Banking?

The SAFE Banking Act has had many opportunities to become law. Unfortunately, it has never been able to get past the Senate. According to prominent Senate Banking Committee member Senator Steve Daines however, this time will be different.  

Sen. Daines recently sat down with Pelorus Capital Group Co-Founder and President Rob Sechrist for a podcast. During the interview, Sen Daines said he has the ten votes needed to pass the SAFE Banking Act.  

Given Sen. Daines recent statement, just how likely is it that SAFE Banking actually becomes reality? Well, to start, the Act needs to make it past the markup session. During this session, legislators will have the opportunity to make adjustments or modifications to the bill. If ‘too many’ social justice amendments are added to the bill during this period, it may lose support among Republican senators.

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If the bill makes it past the mark up stage, it then heads to a vote. 51 votes means it passes but leaves it open to debate and the possibility dying on the senate floor. A super majority of 60 votes however, will immediately pass the bill with no further action needed.

Do you think SAFE Banking will finally pass? Let us know in the comments!

How MDMA Changed A White Supremacist, Forever

In 2020, the University of Chicago conducted a study to investigate how MDMA effects the “pleasantness of touch”. At the study’s conclusion, participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their experience. While reviewing the questionnaires, one participants response stood out.

Brendan wrote a cryptic message at the end of his questioner saying his experience with MDMA helped him sort out a personal issue. After googling Brendan’s name, researches discovered that he had previously been the leader of a white supremacist group. Concerned at what his response meant, researchers reached out to Brendan to get more details.

To everyones surprise, Brendan explained that the drug had made him realize the importance of love and connections with others. Brendan’s experience led researchers to wonder this meant that MDMA could help others break free of their cognitive biases.

Before we get lost in the excitement of this incredible story however, it is important to mention that more research is needed. Recent studies into MDMA indicate that its effects on people are incredibly context-dependent. Simply put, psychedelics and MDMA have the same potential to shift options as they do to strengthen existing beliefs or political biases.

Nonetheless, researchers and advocates alike recognize that psychedelics like MDMA have the immense potential to facilitate healing, empathy, and connection. These substances are likely to play a major role in the future of therapeutic care. Make sure to check in with Veriheal to stay up to date on the latest advancements in psychedelic therapy.

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