GOP Congressman Who Used Psychedelics For Mental Health Slams FDA Panel’s MDMA Rejection

In recent years, a quiet revolution has been unfolding within the realm of treatment for combat-related injuries: psychedelic therapies. Substances like MDMA, psilocybin and ibogaine are now at the forefront of cutting-edge research for their potential to alleviate severe conditions, particularly post-traumatic stress (PTS) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

As the mental health crisis deepens and veteran suicide rates continue to increase, it is imperative to embrace and expand access to these innovative treatments, offering hope to those who have been suffering in silence.

I can personally attest to the benefits in treating PTS and other cognitive issuesthrough the use of psychedelic substances. While these treatments still carry a stigma, I believe it stems from a lack of education and experience around the clinical use of psychedelics. I understand that when many of my colleagues in the House of Representatives and researchers in this space hear “psychedelics,” they think about how they were abused decades ago.

However, this perception could not be further from the reality of the clinical applications we are discussing. Psychedelic substance trials take place in a medical setting and are administered by trained professionals in the medical field. These rigorous, controlled studies have shown that psychedelics, when administered in a therapeutic setting, can lead to profound and lasting improvements in mental health.

Unfortunately, just last week, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel rejected the use of MDMA as a treatment for PTSD. This decision is a significant setback. The rejection highlights the persistent barriers and misconceptions that continue to hinder progress with emerging therapies.

Despite a growing body of evidence demonstrating MDMA’s efficacy and safety in treating PTSD under controlled, therapeutic conditions, of which I have studied and researched myself, regulatory bodies remain wary. This decision delays access to potentially life-saving treatments for veterans and others who have exhausted conventional options. The advisory panel’s decision underscores the urgent need for continued education, robust advocacy, and more comprehensive research to shift the paradigm and unlock new pathways to healing.

Making this news even more disappointing was that the results of the trials showed extremely promising results—“researchers found that a treatment approach that consisted of MDMA given in three eight-hour therapy sessions, four weeks apart, worked better than a placebo in reducing the severity of their symptoms,” and a separate recent trial showed “86% of participants who got the MDMA treatment along with talk therapy saw a reduction in the severity of their symptoms after 18 weeks.”

Creating quite the about-face, less than 48 hours after the FDA panel’s decision, a Dutch state commission recommended the “Dutch government should allow treatment with ecstasy chemical MDMA for people with PTSD” and called for the government to act “expeditiously.”

For the United States to make progress in this field, we must continue to fund research to expand our understanding of the mechanisms behind psychedelic-assisted therapy and its long-term effects.

In the recently passed Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2025, Congressmen Jack Bergman (R-MI) and Lou Correa (D-CA) and I pushed forward two amendments that will ensure we can make progress in the emerging therapies space.

The first expresses congressional support for the recently announced VA-funded research into psychedelic-assisted therapies to treat PTSD and depression, encouraging VA to prioritize the proactive training of therapists to administer these treatments in hopeful preparation for FDA approval on psychedelic medication to treat veterans. The second amendment is inclusion of report language for psychedelic treatments for PTSD.

I was also able to secure $76.8 million in funding for Neurology Centers of Excellence to expand this crucial research. This follows the success I had in both the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) National Defense Authorization Act and the final appropriations bill that funded the Department of Defense for FY24, which authorized and funded a pilot program to allow service members with PTSD or TBI to participate in clinical trials for psychedelic treatments.

We must continue to explore all avenues and think outside of the box when the lives of our service members and veterans are at stake. These therapies, as a multitude of trials have shown, provide a lifeline for countless individuals for whom conventional therapies have proven insufficient.

The growing body of research highlights the potential of substances like MDMA, psilocybin and ibogaine to facilitate breakthroughs and healing in ways that traditional therapies often cannot achieve, especially in more severe cases, which are often seen in our veterans and service members. It’s time we move beyond outdated stereotypes and recognize the legitimate, science-backed potential of these substances to transform lives.


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