Washington may legalize these Schedule I drugs way before weed

congress drugs

The “war on drugs” has raged on for decades, with lawmakers often at the center of the battle. Many politicians have eased up on certain substances, admitting that things like cannabis and mushrooms maybe aren’t so bad after all. But when it comes to weed vs. psychedelics, which has broader support from legislators across the political aisle—and which could be legal first?

According to a high-ranking official from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), psychedelics like psilocybin and MDMA may actually carry less stigma in Washington than marijuana. The reason? More evidence of therapeutic benefits, especially for former military members.

RELATED: Lawmakers put veteran medical marijuana access back on the table

VA Under Secretary for Health Shereef Elnahal offered his perspective at the recent Horizons psychedelic conference in New York, as reported by Marijuana Moment. Elnmahal said there’s an “unstoppable narrative” surrounding the approval of psychedelic medicine, pointing to current FDA studies on the compounds as well as anecdotal testimony from veterans themselves.

The Under Secretary established that veterans want to see increased medical marijuana, yet the government itself is more in favor of psychedelics.

“Cannabis has been advocated for more aggressively by the veteran community for some time, but I think psychedelic substances surpassed that in terms of acceptance and bipartisan support,” Elnahal said. 

He added that members of Congress, both Democrat and Republican, have been pushing for more psychedelic research. As it stands, it’s less challenging to study psychedelics versus marijuana.

“They want us to do this type of work, and they’ve been trying to be proactive to pass even more legislation to enable this,” he said of lawmakers, adding the DEA “Has a much easier waiver process to be able to do studies on psychedelics than…cannabis.”

RELATED: THCP – is the new cannabinoid safe?

It turns out it’s not only veterans being considered when it comes to the VA’s stance on psychedelic medicine. A large-scale defense spending bill included a budget for research on the potential benefits of psychedelic compounds for active duty service members.

Elnahal admitted he was “surprised” by the sweeping bipartisan support of psychedelics in Congress. It makes sense, given the eroding societal stigma around the substances. The Under Secretary also said the VA needs to be “prepared” for the expected FDA approval of MDMA for PTSD, saying there will be “overwhelming demand” for the drug from veterans.

Access to medical cannabis may be more widespread across the country versus psychedelic compounds, but the tides are starting to turn. And while cannabis may soon be a Schedule III substance, FDA approval of drugs like MDMA and psilocybin could actually happen quicker. If Under Secretary Elnahal is correct, the prediction may come true.


rachelle gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist, Emerald Cup judge, Budist critic, and editor of GreenState.com. She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter