Psychedelic prohibition as restraint-of-trade: results from a limited trial of psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression

The Imperial College of London just announced that a small safety trial of twelve patients with moderate to severe treatment-resistant depression shows that psilocybin can be administered safely and can relieve symptoms of depression for up to five months.

The article states that 350 million people around the world (that’s all?) suffer from depression. Other than safety the purpose of the study was to make an initial determination as to whether psilocybin could be an effective treatment for depression.

It has always seemed to me that if news spreads that psychedelics can be useful in treating depression and/or anxiety there will be heavy pressure on the floodgates considering the high number (so it seems to me) of people who experience those conditions. Perhaps the 350 million number is limited to people who are “clinically” depressed, as opposed to people who have depressive or anxious tendencies. Still 350 million people is a respectable consumer pool.

Preliminary findings that psychedelics, including but not limited to psilocybin, can affect those conditions positively highlight what I, as a commercial litigator, have always believed is the essence of psychedelic prohibition (including cannabis): psychedelic prohibition is a form of market-protection for businesses whose pharmacotherapy products simply suppress symptoms as opposed to facilitating changes in cognitive perspectives. In other words, psychedelic prohibition just prohibits competition in the market of treatments for “psychiatric disorders,” a restraint-of-trade that should be illegal – except that it is a creation of governments around the world. I can’t claim any great familiarity with the travails of the market for “alternative” energy, however it seems to me that there is an analogy: imagine if solar energy were criminally-prohibited.

 

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Author: Noah Potter Law

I'm a commercial litigator based in New York providing provide legal research, writing and strategic analysis as an independent contractor to other attorneys. I have unusually long experience with drug law and policy generally and with cannabis in particular dating back to my time as an undergraduate political science student at Columbia.

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