Veterans Affairs, After Decades, Will Fund Psychedelic Research For Vets With PTSD And Depression

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is taking a groundbreaking step by launching new studies on using psychedelic compounds to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression among military veterans. This move represents a significant shift for the VA, as it marks the first such research since the 1960s.

The VA-backed effort aims to explore the effectiveness and safety of using MDMA and psilocybin-augmented psychotherapy in veterans. This decision comes after mounting evidence suggesting the positive impact of these substances in addressing mental health struggles. However, VA officials acknowledge that existing research has largely excluded veterans, prompting the need for dedicated research into how these alternative treatments may benefit them.

Dr. Shereef Elnahal, the VA Under Secretary for Health, stated, “Veterans and VA researchers have long told us about the potential promise of psychedelics. Now is our chance to rigorously study this potential method of treating veterans with PTSD and major depression across the country.”

While the exact timelines for the studies and the potential for wider psychedelic use in veterans’ mental health care remain undisclosed, the announcement marks the beginning of a call for proposals from researchers and academic institutions within the VA network.

It is worth noting that the VA has previously conducted limited studies on psychedelics in federal facilities, albeit without VA funding. In September, a gathering of more than 75 VA and other federal clinicians, scientists, and policymakers in Denver recommended that the VA begin funding its own studies into these compounds. This initiative demonstrates the VA’s commitment to exploring innovative approaches to improve the mental health of veterans.

With increasing research and support from both the VA and legislators, there is hope that psychedelics may soon become a valuable tool in the arsenal of veteran care. This new avenue of treatment has the potential to transform the lives of veterans suffering from PTSD and depression, offering them a fresh ray of hope and the possibility of effective healing.

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