By Ruth Hill, R.N.
The California legislators have two current bills related to the use of psychedelics.
SB-58 Controlled substances: decriminalization of certain hallucinogenic substances. The purpose of this bill is to make lawful the possession of specified quantities of psilocybin, psilocyn, dimethyltryptamine (DMT), ibogaine, and mescaline, for personal use.
AB-941 Controlled substances: psychedelic-assisted therapy for combat veterans. This bill, the “End Veteran Suicide Act,” would authorize a licensed professional clinical counselor to administer controlled substances to combat veterans, as specified. This bill is for professional use.
Statistics on Chronic Pain in the US
The CDC estimates 20.4% (50.0 million) of U.S. adults had chronic pain and 8.0% of U.S. adults (19.6 million) had high-impact chronic pain, with higher prevalence of both chronic pain and high-impact chronic pain reported among women, older adults, previously but not currently employed adults, adults living in poverty.
Long term use of opiates for chronic pain can lead to addictive behaviors, especially when professional dosing and supply are nonexistent. How many patients with legitimate pain become pseudoaddicted by medical professionals when they do not receive a prescription for proper pain medications or when the prescribed dosage of these medications is too low to manage their pain?
Approximately 1.7 million people live with limb loss each year in the United States, and the vast majority experience phantom-limb sensations beginning in the days and weeks after amputation. Neuroplasticity appears to play a central role in the published case study of a 35-year-old man whose intractable phantom-limb pain resulting from an amputated leg suddenly all but disappeared. The treatment? Three doses of psilocybin paired with mirror visual feedback. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29764303/
Twenty percent of people who experience a traumatic event will develop PTSD. About 8 million people have PTSD in a given year. 1 in 13 people will develop PTSD at some point in their life. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd
Several studies over the past 50 years have shown potential analgesic benefit in cancer pain, phantom limb pain, cluster headache, PTSD, addiction, and alcoholism.
Botanical Herbs for Treating Pain Syndromes
The use of natural herbs to treat chronic pain has become universally accepted and even recommended when pharmaceuticals are ineffective or are not available. Our brain gets in these firing patterns that are maladaptive and pathologic, and by using psychedelics as a reset button, it resets the brain’s ability to fire in a more healthy and efficient way. The longer patients are in these pathologic states, the firmer those neural pathways are set.
Many scientific studies written in CV Weekly Cannabis Columns, have shown mammals make anandamide (THC) and 2-AG (CBD). An endogenous psychedelic, Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is now known to be produced in small quantities from the pineal gland of the brain. Since 1961, studies have shown endogenous DMT could underlie mental illness. In 2001 Rick Strassman’s landmark book DMT: The Spirit Molecule was published. DMT was still a niche subject in a niche field. An early and now widely cited study out of Europe on the subjective effects of the psychedelic brew ayahuasca, which contains DMT produce positive results.
The FDA has already given universities access to research psychedelics. Massachusetts General Hospital through the Center for Neuroscience of Psychedelics and UC San Diego through Psychedelics and Health Research Initiative are producing positive results for the use of psychedelics for depression, alcohol addiction, near death anxiety, agitation, PTSD, and chronic nerve pain unrelieved by current pharmaceuticals.
The question remains is it the role of the legislators to dictate and legalize a potentially life-altering new option for millions who suffer from all of these debilitating conditions? Or is it the role of the FDA to legalize these psychedelics and cannabis and let the medical physicians choose among the many drugs prohibited in Schedule I?
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