This case marks another development in years-long efforts to make psilocybin legally available to patients for therapeutic purposes.
On Friday, October 20, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard Aggarwal v. United States Drug Enforcement Administration, centered on the efforts of Sunil Aggarwal, MD, to be able to provide psilocybin to terminally ill patients and patients suffering from anxiety and depression (1,2). Dr. Aggarwal, a palliative care physician, is co-founder of the Advanced Integrative Medical Science Institute (AIMS), which is “an outpatient clinic and research institute dedicated to the advancement of integrative medical care, research and education in oncology, psychiatry, neurology, rehabilitation, pain and palliative care” (2). Over the past several years, he and his team have taken legal action to make psilocybin widely and legally accessible, including filing a petition to reschedule psilocybin, which was denied by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in September 2022 (1,2). .
“The (current) case asks the federal court to review the DEA’s denial of a petition to reclassify psilocybin (commonly known as magic mushrooms) from a highly restricted Schedule I drug to a Schedule I drug. Schedule II less restricted so that it can be accessed by doctors and other providers to help people with terminal illnesses or other life-threatening illnesses,” says a press release on the AIMS website. (2) “This case focuses on the DEA’s long history of applying an inaccurate test to rescheduling petitions. The outcome of this case could have implications for other emerging and promising therapies.”