Psilocybin-Alcohol Study, FDA’s Psychedelic Guide, & the NCAA’s Cannabis Overhaul Begins

June 30, 2023 08:00 am ET Estimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
Psilocybin-Alcohol Study, FDA’s Psychedelic Guide, & the NCAA’s Cannabis Overhaul Begins

A study investigated psilocybin’s effect on alcohol addiction, the FDA outlined best practices for future psychedelic research, and the NCAA is inching toward cannabis policy change.

Let’s dive into this week’s canna-news.

Unlocking Sobriety With Psilocybin

A joint analysis from researchers at NYU, UC San Francisco, and Fluence—a mental health practitioner training provider—sought to test claims that psilocybin can help those with alcohol use disorders (AUDs).

For their analysis, researchers conducted qualitative interviews with 13 individuals who had participated in a psilocybin clinical trial. The 13 individuals were chosen because of their reported improvements in negative drinking behavior following the clinical trial. The joint analysis’ findings were published in the journal Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.

Researchers found several important similarities in the participants’ experiences, which could explain how psilocybin was able to help them. To start, participants reported that psilocybin had helped them process emotions tied to painful events in their past. Thanks to this, participants felt they had laid the foundation needed to regulate these emotions with self-compassion rather than alcohol.

Additionally, participants also reported feeling increased self-awareness and general improvement in relationships following their treatment. Armed with sturdier support systems and a newfound understanding of their AUDs, the participants were able to acknowledge and address their use of alcohol as a coping mechanism.

While these results are promising, the analysis also noted that psilocybin is not a cure-all, as alcohol cravings persisted for some participants. Researchers say this emphasizes just how important it is that psilocybin therapy be done in a controlled setting with therapy and community-based after-care. Further, researchers stressed the need for future psilocybin studies to include more participants from historically underrepresented communities.

What do you think about psilocybin’s potential to help those with alcohol addiction? Let us know in the comments!

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FDA Drops Psychedelic Research Guide

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released draft guidance outlining the unique considerations researchers should keep in mind when studying psychedelics.  

The 14-page document covers several aspects of the drug development process, including trial best practices, data collection, and new drug application requirements. The document also addresses study participant safety emphasizing how psychedelics’ psychoactive effects increase the potential for abuse. Lastly, the guide lays out the complex DEA registration process researchers much navigate to gain access to plants like psilocybin.

Most notably, the document acknowledges the potential for psychedelics to help individuals with mood, substance, and anxiety disorders. This stance mirrors shifting opinions on psychedelics and their therapeutic potential within other federal government agencies.

The draft has been published in the National Federal Register as of June 23. For the following 60 days, the public can comment on the draft and give feedback that will shape its final form.

NCAA Committee Backs Removal of Anti-Cannabis Policy

The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) expressed its support for the removal of cannabis from the NCAA’s list of banned drugs and testing protocols. In order for this change to go through, however, each of the three NCAA divisional governance bodies will need to first propose and adopt the appropriate legislation.

In the meantime, the CSMAS plans to work on convincing the NCAA Board of Governors to halt cannabis testing at NCAA championship events. The basis of the CSMAS argument stems from the findings of the 2022 Summit on Cannabinoids in College Athletics. The Summit found that cannabis does not enhance athletic performance.

The CSMAS also intends to push for changes to the NCAA’s cannabis punishment structure. Instead of doling out suspensions and bans, the CSMAS suggests using education instead. Student-athletes who legally use cannabis will be informed on how to do so in a responsible and healthy way.

The final decision on the NCAA’s cannabis-policy changes is expected to come in the fall. Make sure you check in with Veriheal to stay up to date on the latest happenings in the NCAA.

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