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Missouri House Approves Budget Bill With $10 Million To Research Psilocybin As Treatment For Opioid Addiction



Missouri’s House of Representatives gave final approval to a budget bill on Thursday that would spend $10 million from state opioid settlement funds to study the use of psilocybin to treat opioid use disorder. It’s part of a growing push by state governments to support more psychedelics research.

The bill for a short time would have instead put the $10 million toward grants to study ibogaine, another psychedelic, as a possible treatment for opioid use disorder. But earlier this week on the House floor, that provision was adjusted to fund psilocybin research instead.

Money for the program would come from state opioid settlement funds, the result of multiple lawsuits filed against the opioid industry and peripheral businesses.

Rep. Chad Perkins (R), who’d supported the ibogaine research plan, told Marijuana Moment he thought the initial proposal was a “worthy and prudent investment” but is nevertheless optimistic about the shift to study psilocybin.

“I had several concerned individuals reach out and provide me with information regarding the potential benefits of ibogaine,” he told Marijuana Moment in an email. “After some research, I believed it was a worthy and prudent investment for the state to combat opiate addiction.”

“I’m not disappointed,” he said of the substitution of psilocybin for ibogaine in the bill, HB 2010. “I believe that bringing more exposure to the benefits of psychedelics has been an ancillary effect of the pursuit of this budget item. This issue will hopefully raise the profile of psychedelics and provide a foundation on which we can base future policy decisions.”

Neither Perkins nor Rep. Cody Smith (R), the sponsor of the underlying budget bill who brought the psilocybin amendment on the floor,  responded to questions about whether the legislation might see further changes—including to reintroduce the ibogaine provision—once the Senate takes it up in the coming weeks.

Smith explained on the House floor this week why the ibogaine proposal was nixed, saying the change resulted from a conversation he had with the state Department of Mental Health last week.

“They had concerns about the ibogaine research they had read, and there are concerns about the dangers involved in that research,” Smith said. “However, they are interested in the psilocybin piece. And we’ve seen many other states use their opioid settlement funds to that end.”

The provision in its current form would take a one-time $10 million deduction from the state’s Opioid Addiction Treatment and Recovery Fund and use that money to award grants to research universities in to study psilocybin as a treatment for substance use disorder.

Advocates cheered the inclusion of the psychedelic research funding in the House-passed legislation.

Tim Jensen, president of the board of directors for the Grunt Style Foundation, a nonprofit that supports military veterans and their families, said the group commended Perkins and state lawmakers “for examining the path forward on psilocybin and ibogaine as a modality to address these issues.”

Eapen Thampy, a lobbyist and founder of the group Psychedelic Missouri, added that recent clinical research “has indicated psilocybin users may be able to significantly decrease their dependance on opiates.”

“An ongoing phase 1 trial at the University of Wisconsin is examining safety of psilocybin as an intervention for opiate use disorder,” he said in an email to Marijuana Moment, “but more research is needed on efficacy of this treatment. We hope to continue advancing Missouri’s interest in advancing these kind of treatments.”

In the coming decades, Missouri is set to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in opioid-related settlement funds. Psychedelic medicine proponents have been working to encourage states to use those millions to fund further research into ibogaine and other entheogens.

An earlier plan to use $42 million from Kentucky’s opioid settlement fund for ibogaine research, for instance, ultimately fell through late last year after the state’s new attorney general replaced then-Kentucky Opioid Commission Chairman Bryan Hubbard, who was spearheading the ibogaine initiative, with a former Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official. Hubbard and others have since shifted attention to other states, including Missouri and Ohio.

A Stanford University study published earlier this year found that military combat veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) saw “dramatic” and “life-changing” improvements in their symptoms and cognitive functioning immediately after receiving treatment with ibogaine. In response to the increased demand for research, DEA has proposed a dramatic escalation in the production quota for ibogaine and other psychedelic compounds in 2024.

Marijuana Moment is tracking more than 1,400 cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

Lawmakers in a growing number of other states are also considering psychedelics legislation this session, with many focusing on psilocybin.

For example, the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates have both passed legislation to create a psychedelics task force responsible for studying possible regulatory frameworks for therapeutic access to substances such as psilocybin, mescaline and DMT, sending the proposal to Gov Wes Moore (D). It would be charged specifically with ensuring “broad, equitable and affordable access to psychedelic substances” in the state.

Vermont’s Senate recently passed a measure that would establish a working group to study whether and how to allow therapeutic access to psychedelics in the state. If the bill is enacted, a report from the working group would be due to the legislature in November with recommendations on how to regulate the substances.

The Indiana governor also recently signed a bill that includes provisions to fund clinical research trials into psilocybin.

Utah’s governor allowed a bill to authorize a pilot program for hospitals to administer psilocybin and MDMA as an alternative treatment option to become law without his signature.

An Arizona House panel also approved a Senate-passed bill to legalize psilocybin service centers where people could receive the psychedelic in a medically supervised setting.

The Maine Senate approved legislation to establish a commission tasked with studying and making recommendations on regulating access to psychedelic services.

A Connecticut joint legislative panel approved a bill to decriminalize possession of psilocybin.

A bipartisan bill to legalize psychedelic service centers in California was recently amended in a number of different ways as supporters prepare for an expected committee hearing this month.

The governor of New Mexico has endorsed a newly enacted resolution requesting that state officials research the therapeutic potential of psilocybin and explore the creation of a regulatory framework to provide access to the psychedelic.

Alaska lawmakers are considering legislation to create a task for to study how to regulate access to psychedelics following federal approval.

An Illinois committee also recently held a hearing to discuss a bill to legalize psilocybin and allow regulated access at service centers in the state where adults could use the psychedelic in a supervised setting—with plans to expand the program to include mescaline, ibogaine and DMT.

Lawmakers in Hawaii are also considering a bill that would provide some legal protections to patients engaging in psilocybin-assisted therapy with a medical professional’s approval.

New York lawmakers also said that a bill to legalize psilocybin-assisted therapy in that state has a “real chance” of passing this year.

A Nevada joint legislative committee held a hearing with expert and public testimony on the therapeutic potential of substances like psilocybin in January. Law enforcement representatives also shared their concerns around legalization—but there was notable acknowledgement that some reforms should be enacted, including possible rescheduling.

The governor of Massachusetts recently promoted the testimony of activists who spoke in favor of her veterans-focused bill that would, in part, create a psychedelics work group to study the therapeutic potential of substances such as psilocybin. Last month a Massachusetts joint legislative committee held a hearing to discuss an initiative that would legalize psychedelics that may appear on the November ballot if lawmakers decline to independently enact it first.

Currently, there are no psychedelic drugs that are federally approved to prescribe as medicine. But that could soon change, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently agreed to review a new drug application for MDMA-assisted therapy on an expedited basis.

At the start of this year, VA separately issued a request for applications to conduct in-depth research on the use of psychedelics to treat PTSD and depression.

In October, the agency also launched a new podcast about the future of veteran health care, and the first episode of the series focuses on the healing potential of psychedelics.

FDA also recently joined scientists at a public meeting on next steps for conducting research to develop psychedelic medicines. That came months after the agency issued historic draft guidance on psychedelics studies, providing scientists with a framework to carry out research that could lead to the development of novel medicines.

Study Finds Natural Psychedelic Mushrooms Produce ‘Enhanced Effects’ Compared To Synthesized Psilocybin, Suggesting Entourage Effect

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Ben Adlin, a senior editor at Marijuana Moment, has been covering cannabis and other drug policy issues professionally since 2011. He was previously a senior news editor at Leafly, an associate editor at the Los Angeles Daily Journal and a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs. He lives in Washington State.


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