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A medical marijuana facility in Massachusetts. Photo: Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Once-off-limits drugs are gaining a bigger foothold in the health care market as scientists reassess how they work and what they're capable of.

What to watch: Cannabis is the leader on this front — marijuana is a booming business, and the FDA approved a drug last year derived from cannabis — but psychedelics are also getting a closer look from pharmaceutical companies.

Details: CNBC reports that Walgreen's will sell cannabis-oil products, including creams, patches and sprays, in some 1,600 stores across 6 states. CVS embraced CBD drugs earlier this month.

For psychedelics, the FDA's approval of a "ketamine-like" drug to treat severe depression has already provided one popularity boost, CNBC's Christina Farr writes.

  • On the heels of that decision, ATAI, a German company specializing in "formerly stigmatized compounds," raised $40 million, for a valuation of $240 million.
  • "Biotech investors believe that psychedelic medicine will experience a revival in the wake of recent research studies as well as some early signals of support from regulators," Farr reports.

Between the lines: CBD and psychedelic medicine are very different. Cannabis oil doesn't produce a high like smoking marijuana does. Psychedelic drugs do still have profound effects on the brain, which is why they're so tightly regulated and scarcely used.

  • If there's a constant here, though, it's a willingness to look at, as ATAI puts it, "formerly stigmatized medicines."
  • The opioid epidemic has opened up new approaches to pain therapy; treatment-resistant depression demanded something; the criminal justice system is reevaluating drugs, too; and regulators are willing to give these products a shot.

Go deeper: Ahead of 2020, Kamala Harris supports marijuana legalization

Go deeper

Alabama trying to use COVID relief funds to expand prisons

Inside the Julia Tutwiler Correctional Facility in Wetumpka, Alabama in 2018. Photo: Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images

Alabama state lawmakers are trying to funnel up to $400 million of the state's American Rescue Plan funds to pay for a $1.3 billion plan to build and renovate prisons across the state, the Associated Press reports.

Why it matters: Diverting dollars from the COVID-relief package, passed in March, is prompting criticism over misuse.

1 hour ago - World

Jake Sullivan discussed human rights and Yemen with Saudi crown prince

MBS in 2018. Photo: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman discussed efforts to end the war in Yemen, the de-escalation of regional tensions with Iran, and Saudi Arabia's human rights record in their meeting on Monday, a senior U.S. official told Axios.

Why it matters: This was Sullivan's first trip to the Middle East since taking up his post in January, and he was the most senior visitor to the kingdom so far from the Biden administration, which has kept the crown prince at arm's length over his roles in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the war in Yemen.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Top Pentagon officials contradict Biden on Afghanistan advice

Photo: Carolone Brehman/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Top military leaders confirmed in a Senate hearing Tuesday they recommended earlier this year that the U.S. keep 2,500 troops in Afghanistan, and that they believed withdrawing those forces would lead to the collapse of the Afghan military.

Why it matters: Biden denied last month that his top military advisers wanted troops to remain in Afghanistan, telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "No one said that to me that I can recall."