Psychedelic Medicine For PTSD: The Key To U.S. Legal Reforms

  • Roughly every hour of every day, another U.S. veteran commits suicide due to untreated/poorly treated post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Psychedelic medicine has now proven it has the capacity to prevent some/most of these deaths
  • A grassroots movement in the U.S. to legalize psychedelic medicine for the treatment of PTSD is rapidly evolving
  • $300 billion in annual treatment revenues up for grabs in the U.S. alone



The Mental Health Crisis, now affecting 2+ billion people globally, is an enormously powerful driver for necessary legal reforms to facilitate psychedelic medicine. However, for a U.S. federal government that is still strongly-and-obviously resistant to such reforms (and correcting its previous War on Drugs mistakes), that alone may not be enough.

Psychedelic Stock Watch was one of the first industry voices to identify PTSD treatment as a more powerful specific driver of legal reforms in the U.S.

Why?

The Mental Health Crisis within the U.S. military is even more severe than the crisis within the broader population. We have previously drawn attention to the horrific numbers.

In the past 20 years, over 115,000 U.S. veterans have committed suicide, mostly driven by untreated/poorly treated PTSD. That’s roughly double the total number of combat fatalities that occurred over the entire 20 years of the Vietnam War.

Over 1 million veterans of recent U.S. conflicts have been afflicted with PTSD. Apart from the tragic number of suicides, veterans also suffer from high rates of poverty, substance abuse and even homelessness – with most of that attributable to their untreated mental health conditions.

Equally appalling has been the gross neglect of veterans’ health, from a federal government that constantly exhorts Americans to “support the troops”.

85% of veterans can’t get adequate care for PTSD

To start with, most U.S. veterans suffering from PTSD receive no care from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Zero.

Of those who do obtain treatment, roughly 2 out of 3 report no benefit. Conventional therapies for PTSD have been largely ineffectual.

Let’s crunch these numbers.

Out of the 1+ million veterans with PTSD, approximately 5 out of 6 (~85%) either obtain inadequate treatment from the U.S. government, or no treatment at all. Appalling negligence.

These volunteers fought the wars started by members of Congress, while the politicians remained safe and secure in their ivory towers. When the veterans returned from combat – with many of them damaged – Congress (and a series of both Republican and Democrat presidents) gave them the middle finger.

This neglect is inexcusable under any circumstances. What makes this Congressional negligence both despicable and unforgiveable is that new therapies have emerged which offer radically superior treatment outcomes for veterans (and others) suffering from PTSD.

Psychedelic medicine can help 90% of veterans with PTSD

Currently, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is in its second Phase III clinical trial of an MDMA-assisted therapy for the treatment of PTSD. In the first Phase III trial, MAPS reported:
 
  1. Roughly 90% of participants obtained significant benefit from the therapy.
  2. Two out of three (~66%) “no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis” (i.e. they were effectively cured).

Night and day. Success versus failure.

This therapy for PTSD has already been working its way through formal clinical trials for more than twice as long as the vaccines that Congress frantically recently fast-tracked for release.

Yet with more than 20 veterans committing suicide per day, MAPS is being forced by the FDA to repeat its FDA trial – when most drugs are approved following a single successful Phase III trial.

Why?

Because in the United States, MDMA is classified as a “Schedule I” controlled substance, the most-extreme level of criminal prohibition. To put this into context, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and opioids (which kill one American approximately every 5 minutes) are only Schedule II drugs.

As a Schedule I drug, and according to Congress and the DEA, MDMA:
 
(i)  Has a high potential for abuse (a ridiculous falsehood)
(ii) Has no accepted medical use (an outright lie)

Back in the real world, MDMA is not physically-addictive. Few “recreational” consumers ever use it regularly. And as a non-toxic substance, MDMA (unlike heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and opioids) doesn’t kill anyone.

A Phase III clinical trial (sponsored by the FDA itself) with a 90% success rate obviously constitutes an “accepted medical use”.

In the time it will take to complete this second Phase III trial, ~10,000 more veterans will take their own lives. Blood on the hands of the members of Congress and the Biden administration.

State governments leading legal reforms for psychedelic medicine

While Congress continues to callously allow veterans to needlessly die (and the DEA blocks psychedelic medicine even as compassionate relief for terminally-ill cancer patients), an increasing number of U.S. states are taking matters into their own hands.

In just the past eight months, ten different states have been pursuing legal reforms for psychedelic medicine (or at least “studying” such reforms) that are wholly or partially aimed at treating PTSD: Maryland, Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Missouri, California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

Only ten states, but included among them are the five most populous states, representing (by themselves) 40% of the U.S. population.

Support is emerging in ultra-red states like Texas. Support is emerging in ultra-blue states like California. A bipartisan consensus is emerging in the United States with respect to the potential of (and need for) psychedelic medicine – in particular, for the treatment of PTSD.

In the U.S., when Republicans and Democrats agree on an issue, it’s like some biblical event of “lions and lambs” laying down together.

It says a lot about the desperate need for new therapies to treat PTSD. It says a lot about the potential of psychedelic medicine to address that need.
 
The numbers above don’t include three other states that are generally looking at psychedelic drug reforms (Washington, New Hampshire and Kansas), while Oregon has already legalized psilocybin therapy.

This also doesn’t include numerous voter-led ballot initiatives for psychedelic drug reform. And more than a dozen U.S. cities have already passed some sort of “decriminalization” measures around psychedelic drugs.

The Psychedelics Revolution

Psychedelic medicine is sparking a Revolution in mental health care.

All revolutions have two principal components:
 
a)  Some emergency or crisis that galvanizes a population
b)  A strong vision to address that crisis, around which the People unite

Globally, at least 1 in 4 people now have an untreated mental health disorder that could likely benefit from psychedelic medicine. There are no other options to psychedelic medicine for addressing this general catastrophe in mental health – and the specific crisis in treating PTSD, in particular.

Big Pharma largely abandoned research into mental health drugs in the previous decade.

It’s either psychedelic medicine to treat PTSD, or the status quo. And the status quo is killing far too many veterans.

Beyond PTSD, there has been a Suicide Epidemic among the broader population in the United States for more than 8 years. One American dies via suicide roughly every 10 minutes.

One American dies via drug overdose every 5 minutes. And psychedelic medicine is equally seen as the only answer for addiction therapy.

Governments in U.S. cities can see this. Governments in U.S. states can see this. The People can see this.

Only the Senior Citizens of Congress remain seemingly oblivious to the necessity of psychedelic medicine as a desperately needed therapy for PTSD and other mental health disorders.

Maybe the members of Congress all need to get stronger prescriptions for their eye glasses? Maybe Americans just need to vote in a new Congress, instead of continually re-electing the same old-and-tired retreads?

Whatever the prescription that is necessary to mobilize Congress into action on psychedelic drug reform, the American people need to deliver that remedy as soon as possible.

Roughly every hour of every day, another veteran commits suicide, primarily due to untreated PTSD. Most of these deaths can now be prevented. It has to end.

The commercial potential of psychedelic medicine

As explained above, psychedelic medicine is coming to the United States. This will happen with or without the cooperation of the current elderly relics in Congress – many of whom already have one foot in the grave.

When it comes, the psychedelic drug industry will begin to carve up the $300 billion per year currently spent (and mostly wasted) on mental health in the United States.

Psychedelic drug companies, with valuations currently compressed to pennies on the dollar, are rapidly advancing the drug development necessary for the Psychedelics Revolution.

Psychedelic drug companies are rapidly building the mental health treatment networks to deliver these next-generation therapies to millions/billions of people.

Psychedelic drug companies are even pursuing the next-generation digital therapeutics platforms that can rapidly improve therapeutic efficacy/efficiency – while also facilitating the scaling-up of these therapies.

Opportunity is converging with crisis.
 
Psychedelic medicine is the future of mental health therapy. In the United States, that “future” will almost certainly begin with new therapies for the treatment of PTSD.

 
PTSD (cover) by Artur is licensed under Adobe Stock
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