For the second time in a month, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has decided not to ban new psychedelics before researchers have a chance to investigate their therapeutic potential.
Last week, the DEA announced that it was withdrawing a recent proposal that would have classified DOI and DOC, two relatively unexplored psychedelics, as Schedule I drugs. The agency initially announced its plans to ban these two compounds in April, citing anecdotal reports from internet forums claiming that these drugs have strong hallucinogenic properties.
Based on these random online reports, the feds concluded that it was “reasonable to assume that DOI and DOC have substantial capability to be a hazard to the health of the user and to the safety of the community.” The proposed ban also made it clear that “there are no reports of distressing responses or death associated with DOI in medical literature,” though. The DEA also acknowledged that there is no evidence that either of these psychedelics is addictive.
Fortunately, the scientific community called the feds out on their bullshit. Researchers from Emory University joined psychedelic research firm Panacea Plant Sciences in filing a motion to challenge the proposed ban. The scientists argued that feds had no right to classify these compounds as Schedule I drugs without providing evidence that they pose an actual public health risk.
DEA officials just announced that they will back down on the proposed ban, for now. “DEA is withdrawing the proposed rule, terminating all proceedings related thereto, and will be publishing a new proposed rule using an amended procedure,” the agency wrote in a new notice.
DOI, or 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine, and DOC, or 4-Chloro-2,5-dimethoxyamphetamine, are phenethylamine hallucinogens that were popularized in Alexander Shulgin's iconic 1991 book PiHKAL ("Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved"). DOI reportedly has psychedelic effects comparable to an LSD trip, and DOC is known to bring on trips that can last up to 24 hours.
Researchers currently believe that these psychedelics may be able to help treat rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer's, and other conditions involving chronic inflammation. DOI has also been found to increase neuroplasticity by promoting rapid growth of nerve cells, much like DMT, LSD, and psilocybin do. Classifying these psychedelics as Schedule I drugs would have stopped this research in its tracks, but now that the ban has been reversed, researchers will be able to continue investigating their therapeutic potential.
“This is a victory and I’m just incredibly happy because now it’s one less thing that we have to worry about going forward,” said Panacea Plant Sciences CEO David Heldreth to Marijuana Moment. “DOI and DOC are incredible tools for research, as well as mental and physical health.”
A similar situation played out at the end of last month, when the DEA reversed its plans to ban another five novel tryptamine psychedelics. In January, the agency proposed a plan to classify 4-OH-DiPT, 5-MeO-AMT, 5-MeO-MiPT, 5-MeO-DET, and DiPT as Schedule I drugs. Researchers pushed back, again arguing that the feds did not have the scientific evidence to back up the supposed dangers of these drugs. Last month, the DEA agreed to allow another federal agency to investigate these compounds before banning them outright.