Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2023, which funds the U.S. Department of Defense and its many domestic initiatives for the upcoming fiscal year.
Tucked into the almost four-thousand page annual spending bill is Section 782, which piqued our interest. We think you’ll appreciate why.
Section 782 paves the way for the Department of Defense the ability to study the science and effects of certain psychedelic substances as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
The section grants funding for these studies, and allows active duty service members to participate in clinical trials studying MDMA and psilocybin as alternative treatments for PTSD.
At Remeday, we’ve written about the science and current clinical trials involving psilocybin and PTSD, so we’re excited that the federal government seems to be taking steps in this direction.
What are the next steps in psychedelic therapy funding and access?
But before any of the psychedelic therapies funding in Section 782 can be put to good use, the entire NDAA bill heads to the U.S. Senate, where it needs just a simple majority (51 votes) to pass.
If it does, and the President signs it into law, the Secretary of Defense will have full authority to start spending those Section 782 dollars come January 2023 when the fiscal year begins. Fingers crossed!
The U.S. Senate is likely to vote on the bill in September.
We'll be sure to keep you updated on the latest news and legislation.
How can I support funding for psilocybin PTSD research?
The best thing you can do right now is to contact your senator and tell them you support section 782 provisions.
While the federal government decides whether or not to officially recognize the science and potential benefits of using psychedelics as therapeutics, some states aren’t as eager to sit around and wait, and are instead pressing on with clinical research, criminal deprioritization, or, in the case of Oregon, statewide legalization.
What psilocybin legislation is active in my state?
Many states have already started researching the applications of psilocybin and other psychedelics for mental health treatment support.
Head over to our state-by-state guide to see where your state stands on psilocybin legality for research and recreational use.
Understanding the psychedelics bill recently passed by the house
Below we've compiled a summary and full text of the section pertaining to psychedelics research:
Amendments introduced to NDAA
#339: Adds methylenedioxymethamphetamine (commonly referred to as MDMA) and psilocybin as substances authorized for a study on the use of therapies alternative to prescription opioids in the treatment of members of the Armed Forces.
Introduced by Reps. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Correa (D-CA)
#636: Creates a grant program carried out by SECDEF for certain eligible entities (departments or agencies, academic institutions, non-profits) to study the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder of active duty service members using certain psychedelic substances and for service members to take part in clinical trials.
Introduced by Reps. Crenshaw (R-TX) and Van Duyne (R-TX)
Ultimately adopted as one section in the final bill –
Full bill text (searchable) – pages 824 - 826
SEC. 782. GRANT PROGRAM TO STUDY TREATMENT OF POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER USING CERTAIN PSYCHEDELIC SUBSTANCES.
(a) GRANT PROGRAM.—The Secretary of Defense shall carry out a program to award grants to eligible entities to conduct research on the treatment of members of the Armed Forces serving on active duty with post-traumatic stress disorder using covered psychedelic substances.
(b) CRITERION FOR APPROVAL.—The Secretary may award a grant under this section to an eligible entity to conduct research if the Secretary determines that the research involves a therapy that has the potential to demonstrate significant medical evidence of a therapeutic advantage.
(c) ELIGIBLE ENTITIES.—The Secretary may award a grant under this section to any of the following:
(1) A department or agency of the Federal Government or a State government.
(2) An academic institution.
(3) A nonprofit entity.
(d) USE OF GRANT FUNDS.—A recipient of a grant awarded under this section may use the grant to—
(1) conduct one or more phase two clinical trials for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder that—
(A) include members of the Armed Forces serving on active duty as participants in the 9 clinical trial; and
(B) use individual or group therapy assisted by covered psychedelic substances; or
(2) train practitioners to provide treatment to members of the Armed Forces serving on active duty for post-traumatic stress disorder using covered psychedelic substances.
(e) PARTICIPATION IN CLINICAL TRIALS.—The Secretary may authorize a member of the Armed Forces to participate in a clinical trial that is conducted using a grant awarded under this section or funds provided under subsection (f) and is authorized pursuant to section 505 21 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 22 355), without regard to—
(1) whether the clinical trial involves a substance included in the schedule under section 202 of 25 the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); or
(2) section 912a of title 10, United States Code 2 (article 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice).
(f) ADDITIONAL AUTHORITY.—In addition to awarding grants under this section, the Secretary may provide 6 funds for a clinical research trial using covered psychedelic substances that is authorized pursuant to section 505 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 355) and includes members of the Armed Forces as participants in the trial.
(g) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:
(1) The term ‘‘covered psychedelic substances’’ means any of the following:
(A) 3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (commonly known as ‘‘MDMA’’).
(D) 5–Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (commonly known as ‘‘5–MeO–DMT’’).
(2) The term ‘‘State’’ includes any State, district, territory, or possession of the United States.
Additional articles for further reading
We put together a complete timeline of psilocybin news and legislation here.
We do our best to take complicated psychedelics news and distill it for our readers. Stay in the loop by subscribing to our no-nonsense newsletter: The MorningMush