As the human body continues to age, it is inevitable that some individuals will eventual develop ailments that make it difficult to live a full, quality life. What if there was a way that you could enjoy that quality of life even after the cancer or heart attack or stroke or other serious affliction had already claimed your life?
A Philadelphia federal court has granted a writ of habeas corpus that will force the Department of Health and Human Services to produce records that could prove it violated federal law when it denied liver transplant and hospice patients the use of experimental drugs, including cannabis, while they were dying.
As a number of you know, I’m a great supporter of the right to try to end your own life. But I don’t think the federal government has any business being in the business of making that decision for a patient. If someone is terminally ill and they’ve tried every other option, they should have the right to try experimental therapies that have not been adequately studied. Today we have the FDA taking the position of overreach, of refusing to allow patients a chance at a better life.Medicinal plants and their decoctions have been used by cultures around the world throughout history. It is only in the last few hundred years that the way we can treat our bodies has been regulated by government agencies. Over the past 100 years, many herbal therapies that were common throughout history have been banned by governments around the world and replaced with synthetic, laboratory-produced preparations that we call drugs. To legally access other treatments, including natural options like psilocybin, you must invoke the Right to Try Act, which requires that you have a terminal illness. Have we ever thought that if we could use these plants legally, maybe we wouldn’t get sick so often with incurable diseases?
Introduction of the Right to a Trial Act
The Right to Try Act by Trickett Wendler, Frank Mongiello, Jordan McLean and Matthew Bellin passed at 30. May 2019, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This legislation allows people diagnosed with a life-threatening condition or disease, who have exhausted all other approved treatment options and therapies, and who are also unable to participate in clinical trials, access to certain treatments that would not otherwise have been approved. Today, 41 states have passed some form of right-to-try legislation or RTT.
On its website, the FDA refers to this program as the expanded access program. Although they offer approved clinical trials that give patients the opportunity to try out potential treatment options, many patients are unable to participate in clinical trials, and that’s where the importance of right-to-try programs comes in.
Common treatments allowed under right-to-try laws include cannabis, psilocybin, MDMA and various other highly regulated or banned natural substances, as well as untested pharmaceuticals and various other treatments.
In recent months, a lawsuit has been filed against the Federal Drug Administration by cancer patients seeking to legalize access to psilocybin for end-of-life treatment. In addition to the patients, a Seattle palliative care physician, Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, is also involved in the lawsuit. Soon after, a bipartisan group of attorneys general from several states joined the lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed after the DEA denied his request to use a synthetic form of psilocybin under RTT laws. The lawsuit argues not only the therapeutic potential of psilocybin, but also MDMA for cancer patients.
As psilocybin has successfully completed Phase I clinical trials and is currently in the later stages of testing, it meets the basic requirements to be considered an investigational medicinal product within the meaning of the RTD legislation. In addition, the effectiveness of methylenedioxymethylamphetamine, also known as MDMA, in treating anxiety associated with terminal illness is currently being investigated.
Patients are not alone in this situation
Additional support has been prepared to allow patients access to psilocybin as part of end-of-life care. Support came from law professors, bioethicists, the ACLU of Washington, the Goldwater Institute, a coalition of end-of-life care providers, and many others. A preliminary brief was filed earlier this year by the patients, Aggarwal and the AIMS Institute, and a preliminary brief from the U.S. Department of Justice will be filed by the 21st Circuit Court of Appeals. January expected.
Thanks to the work of numerous advocates, there are now places where patients can theoretically use psilocybin in a somewhat legal manner. Last year, the state of Oregon passed a law decriminalizing the use of all drugs in small quantities, including psilocybin. Psilocybin has been decriminalized in Denver, as well as several other cities and states. Just find someone who can get you mushrooms, powder or psilocybin capsules. However, patients should not look for loopholes to gain access to potentially therapeutic substances.
Cannabinoid therapy for cancer patients
The study, published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, is the longest available evaluation of the effects of psilocybin on cancer patients with psychiatric problems. The study showed that cancer patients who received a single dose of psilocybin along with psychotherapy experienced significant benefits almost 5 years after beginning treatment.
Moreover, a study conducted by researchers at the Heffter Research Institute and the Riverstyx Foundation and published on the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Research (MAPS) website found that psilocybin, when ingested by cancer patients, results in significant and sustained reductions in depression and anxiety in patients with life-threatening cancer, and that experiences of a mystical nature during session days mediate the effect of psilocybin dosage on therapeutic outcomes. Six months later, these results seem to have held up, as approximately 80% of participants still experienced a reduction in anxiety and depressed mood.
What do you think about the Right to Trial Act and the lawsuit against the DEA? We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below!
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur and activist fighting for the abolition of drug prohibition around the world, for a better future for all. Ashley is passionate about sharing knowledge about the divine plant that is cannabis. She believes that one seed can make all the difference and that together, through education, we can end the stigma that prevents cannabis from reaching its full potential worldwide.
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