The decriminalization of psychedelics in Canada is arguably the next logical step after the legalization of cannabis. However, drug reform was not a major highlight of the most recent Canadian elections. To be fair, it almost never is. Nevertheless, it continues to disappoint to see major political parties yet again ignore the popularity and potential […]
Category: psychedelic therapy
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Israel is one of the leading countries for medical cannabis research and has held this title for decades; since the 1960s to be exact. Now, they’re joining efforts to study the benefits of psychedelics in a clinical setting as well.
Of the main areas of focus is using psychoactive compounds to treat clinical depression and other psychiatric disorders. One Israeli company, Nextage Therapeutics, is looking specifically at utilizing ibogaine, along with their own patent delivery system, to better treat people with these conditions.
When it comes to treating psychological disorders and minimizing the risk of side effects, psychedelics are the way of the future. Check out our newsletter, The Delta 8 Weekly, to learn more about these incredible compounds as well as gain access to exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles, and other products.
What are Psychedelics?
Psychedelic drugs are a subset of hallucinogens. They contain psychoactive compounds that are capable of altering a person’s mood, perception, and cognition; sometimes permanently. The active compounds are usually found in nature, like psilocybin or mescaline, but they can also be manmade, like LSD.
Psychedelics are known for causing ‘trips’, which is what the high is referred to. When a person is tripping, they may have altered perceptions of the world around them. Many people believe this is limited to visual and auditory hallucinations, but it can also include feeling, tasting, and smelling things that are not real, as well as a heightened sense of connection and understanding, and greater feelings of introspection.
The trips that people most commonly associate with these types of the drugs are the ones in which a state of hallucinogenic delirium is reached, but that is not always the case. Many times, it is more of an experience than a trip, and something can be learned and achieved psychologically with every small dose.
The word itself, ‘psychedelics’, was first used in 1957 to recognize substances that were said to open the mind, however, the more accurate term for them is ‘entheogens’. This term was adopted, not necessarily for the sake of being scientific, but rather to allow the sector to operate without all the stigma attached to psychedelics from smear campaigns and restrictive policies throughout history. The term entheogen comes from Greek where it means ‘building the god within’.
Different psychedelics produce different trips. For example, with DMT you can expect a short high lasting less than 1 hour, whereas LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline trips can last up to ten hours. Some hallucinogens are more potent than others, like mushrooms vs acid. The active compounds are different in each drug so there is a lot of variation to the effects that can be felt.
Some people experience bad trips in which negative, or even scary, hallucinations are experienced, and/or a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, disorientation, and fatigue occur. There is indication that the majority of these symptoms can be controlled through proper dosing. This is why most modern-day, therapeutic users of psychedelics consume the drugs in micro-doses.
Nextage Pharmaceuticals and MindMend
According to Nextage Founder and CEO Abraham Dreazen, “there has been a shift in the last decade. The US Food and Drug Administration, for example, is starting to see quality of life as a factor in evaluating medicine, opening the door to these drugs.”
Earlier this year, Nextage signed a collaboration agreement with industry trailblazer Mindmend, to use their proprietary new technology known as Brain Targeting Liposome System (BTLS) – a delivery system Dreazen claims will “optimize the delivery of drug products based on noribogaine, and ultimately other ibogaine derivatives.”
Ibogaine is a naturally occurring psychoactive substance found in Apocynaceae plant family in Gabon, a small coastal country in central Africa. Although minimal research exists, a handful of clinical studies found that Ibogaine and its derivatives can be used to combat addiction, and it was looked at particularly for the treatment of opioid addiction, for which the results were promising.
Unfortunately, when used at high doses over a longer period, there are potential side effects. In a recent press release, reps from MindMend explained that, “orally administered ibogaine and noribogaine present unacceptable safety risks due to their torsadogenic effects at high systemic concentrations.”
Simply put, there’s a moderate risk of heart attacks when using noribogaine. However, Dreazen believes that if the drug is administered using certain methods that better permeate the blood-brain barrier, so more of the drug actually reaches the brain rather than going to other parts of the body, including the heart. He described it as “the winning lottery ticket.”
Permeating the Blood-Brain Barrier
When it comes to treating psychological and neurological disorders, or really any other disease or condition affecting the brain, the main challenge is permeating the blood-brain barrier. The purpose of the blood-brain barrier is to protect the brain from foreign substances, and as such, can prevent up to 95% of molecules from reaching the brain.
So far, the most common way to work around that is by giving prescribing these drugs at extremely high doses, and that, needless to say, can have numerous unwanted and severe side effects. Using a more effective model, The BTLS platform, licensed from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, has been making use of a “liposomal vehicle with a unique targeting complex” that allows for blood-brain barrier permeation at much lower doses of various pharmaceutical agents.
This is a relatively well-known concept, but according to Dreazen, Nextage took it a step further and attached a “small arrow of seven amino acid peptides – essentially a very small protein – which is part of a much larger protein that is native to the brain and has a way of actively transporting the liposomal capsule through the blood-brain barrier. Once the capsule is drawn into the brain with the arrow, it gets lodged there and starts dissolving, facilitating release of the active material – the drug.”
What the Future Holds for Nextage
Nextage has been working in the drug delivery sector for 14 years and their daughter company, IMIO, is focused solely on psychedelics. The company completed most of required preclinical worked needed to determine the potential efficacy and generality of their new patent technology. They have already worked with CBD and THC-based medications and Nextage/IMIO plans to explore the potential of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
Dreazen says LSD “is a really promising drug.” Its challenge is that when taken, people can “trip” for 15 to 17 hours, making it very unfeasible as a chronic treatment. But just like with ibogaine, he believes that if the dose can be reduced and the least amount possible gets into the body as opposed to the brain, “you could potentially get the same therapeutic effect without the longevity of the trip.”
“In the US, the psychedelic movement has exploded in the last 12 months,” Dreazen added. “I think psychedelics in Israel are just emerging, and we are the first public company to really put our teeth into it. Israel has always been in the forefront of research and development and we are committed to spearheading this industry.”
As you can see, conversations surrounding the use of psychedelics to treat mental health and neurological disorders is reaching nearly every corner of the globe, and the countries that have been more accepting of cannabis are also spearheading the medical psychedelic revelation. Psychedelics are here to stay, and in the very near future, we can expect to see a lot of these compounds being safely used in clinical and therapeutic settings.
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Vancouver-based company Numinus received federal approval for a study on MDMA. Sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), the therapy study will involve twenty people with post-traumatic stress disorder. The goal is to learn more about MDMA-assisted therapy, specifically as a treatment for PTSD and eating disorders. In addition, researchers are hoping to […]
The post Vancouver Study on MDMA Therapy Approved by Health Canada appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.
Matt Stang has seen the future. When the former High Times owner was staring down the barrel of a possible life sentence for cannabis trafficking in 2010, he knew we’d already passed the event horizon — His sentence was somewhere in the epilogue of the war on drugs. Now, Stang is the CEO of Delic, […]
In 2019, a new kind of wellness business sprouted – a legal psychedelic drug company. We spoke with Matt Stang, the co-founder and CEO of Delic Corp to learn more about their mission as well as any strategies they utilized to build a publicly traded, legal psychedelic ecosystem. Matt Stang spent twenty years pioneering the […]
The post How is Delic creating a legal psychedelic ecosystem appeared first on Latest Cannabis News Today – Headlines, Videos & Stocks.
As the legal cannabis market booms, another class of drugs on the horizon is getting closer to legalization, with its own impending boom coming. And that means a whole new place for investment. So as MDMA, psilocybin, and DMT work their way through medical trials, here’s how to invest in this new medical psychedelics field.
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What are psychedelics?
Psychedelics are a subset of hallucinogenic drugs, which themselves are a subset of psychoactive drugs. Whether made in a lab like LSD, or found in nature like psilocybin or peyote, psychedelics are known for causing ‘trips’. When a person is tripping, they may have altered perceptions of the world around, experience/feel/taste/see/hear things that are not real (hallucinations), feel a heightened sense of connection to those around them, experience euphoria, feel a sense of spirituality and connectedness with the universe, and a greater sense of self-introspection. A large percentage of psychedelics are serotonergic, meaning they effect serotonin receptors in the brain, though they can do this in different ways.
Some drugs like DMT produce short trips of less than an hour in duration. While other drugs like LSD, psilocybin, and mescaline can cause trips that last for many hours, as many as eight or ten. Sometimes people experience bad trips in which negative, or even scary, hallucinations are experienced, and/or a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nausea, disorientation, and fatigue occur. There is indication that the majority of these symptoms can be controlled through proper dosing. In fact, many therapeutic psychedelic users consume the drugs in micro-doses.
All psychedelics are Schedule I in the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, a drug scheduling treaty which defines the legality of different compounds globally. Starting with the Staggers-Dodd bill in 1968 which illegalized LSD and psilocybin, and finishing with the placement in the Convention, making all such substances illegal to buy, sell, or consume, with no purported medical value.
Psychedelics have been used for thousands of years, all throughout the world, though their uses in medicine in the mid-1900’s, and proposed uses today, are generally different than the shamanistic/ritualistic way they were primarily used in history, although this is not to say that there were not traditions that did use psychedelics therapeutically. Technically, if a shaman is consuming ayahuasca to get rid of demons, I suppose that could be thought of as therapeutic anyway.
Medical psychedelics research
Psychedelics, particularly, LSD, were introduced to modern medicine around the 1950’s after Albert Hoffman synthesized the compound in Switzerland in 1938. Several psychotherapists at the time, like Humphry Osmond and Ronald Sandison caught onto the idea, bringing these treatments to England and America. Hoffman conducted, among other research and therapy, the Saskatchewan trials, and ultimately came up with the idea of ‘psychedelic therapy’ in which a single large dose of LSD was given along with therapy sessions.
‘Psycholytic therapy’ is what Ronald Sandison’s version became known as in the UK, with the difference being that Sandison’s treatment style was to do multiple sessions with smaller amounts of the drug that increased through the process. Both doctors found great success particularly with alcohol addiction. How much success? According to the Saskatchewan trials, as many as 40-45% of drinkers were still not drinking a full year after the therapy session.
Unfortunately, when the drugs were made illegal, all ability to continue such treatments ended, and the ability for research into the field was completely stymied, and did not pick up again until much more recently. However, to give an idea of the massive turnaround that has been going on when it comes to psychedelics, consider that the US’s Food & Drug Administration (FDA), singled out both psylocibin in 2019 and MDMA in 2017 as ‘breakthrough therapies’ for depression and PTSD respectively. Such a designation by the FDA is meant to speed up research and development for products deemed necessary for health.
This indicates a desire by a US government agency to not only test these drugs, but to get them to market. And they’re all schedule I right now. One exception to psychedelics all being schedule I, however, is magic mushrooms. Though its psychoactive components like psilocybin are Schedule I, and therefore illegal, the plants themselves are not outlawed, creating a bit of gray area in terms of mushroom use, cultivation, and production. This gray area could prove useful in the future.
What can be expected?
If you’re wondering why this matters, consider how massive – and growing – the legal cannabis markets are. Well, psychedelics offer many of the same medical benefits, especially psychologically, with possibly added abilities in other departments. And they’ve proven to be very safe. As an industry in which much of it is pharmaceutical to begin with, it’s a safe bet that these drugs are going to pick up quickly. Because the pharma world is sure to take a massive interest, it gives even more reason to invest in medical psychedelics now, before everything explodes.
So how much is it worth? I’m not the kind of writer who generally likes to get into these numbers. Every publication makes its own predictions, off its own information, and very rarely do these predictions seem to consider world changes. Whatever the size of the CBD industry was originally predicted to grow to a few years ago, that number would be invalid by now because it didn’t account for THC-based medicines growing in popularity, or legal markets, or psychedelics.
Imagine how much psychedelics could eat away at cannabis revenue. And not only that, any predictions of the future market size for psychedelics would have to take into account the still expanding cannabis markets (with more countries constantly legalizing in some form or another), and the question mark of what currently unforeseen factors could upend the trend a few years down the line. So, I’m not concerned with too many predictor numbers, but here’s just one, in order to get an idea what we’re dealing with.
PRNewswire, citing an analysis by Data Bridge Market Research, explained the forecast for 2020-2027, in which the field is expected to grow to $6.8 billion by 2027. It was worth just over $2 billion in 2019.
Best ways to invest in growing medical psychedelics field
Now that a certain barrier seems to be broken, more companies are conducting clinical trials, getting patents, and starting to get clearances for products. In fact, if you thought the psychedelics market was off limits, you’d be very much mistaken. Not only is this a growing market with a lot of possibility, but companies are already staking their claim, leaving room for you to start investing. So, if you like the idea of getting in on something before it explodes, consider investigating the following companies, and invest in the medical psychedelics field.
Much like with cannabis, Canada is quickly establishing itself as a leader in medical psychedelics, with the top companies coming out of this country. In the first half of 2020, $150 million USD was raised by six different companies: Mind Medicine, COMPASS Pathways, Field Trip Psychedelics, ATAI Life Sciences, Orthogonol Thinker, and Numinous Wellness. Mindmed and Numinous are already publicly listed companies. This is an early stage entry for investors. In fact, to give an idea of how seriously Canada is taking this, the first exchange traded fund – The Horizons Psychedelic Stock Index ETF, made its debut in January. ETF’s are like regular asset exchanges, except that they include a mix of stocks, commodities, and bonds. This exchange is solely for psychedelics.
The CEO of the fund, Steve Hawkins, said that while larger pharmaceutical companies have been admitted to the fund, the idea is to keep it mainly for smaller psychedelics companies. Companies can be added to the fund if they can tick the following boxes: be a part of a regular US or Canada-based stock exchange, be a biotechnology company focusing on medical psychedelic research, be a producer and/or supplier of psychedelic medicines, and be a company that works within the general supply chain for psychedelic medications.
Biggest names so far
When it comes to emerging fields and investing, the majority of people will never get there preemptively, and will instead act by reaction. For anyone who wants to get in on it before the top blows off, the following companies currently provide the best prospect for future growth, expansion, approval, and ability for revenue. These names should be noted, they will likely be bringing you the first approved medical psychedelic products, and for anyone looking to invest in this rapidly growing field of medical psychedelics, they stand out as the best options so far.
Mind Medicine is one of the furthest along when it comes to getting a product out there. It’s a pharmaceutical company that specifically works to develop psychedelic medications. The company is currently in the middle of six different trials on drugs like MDMA, LSD and DMT. In January of 2021, MindMed announced the first ever clinical trials to involve a combination of MDMA and LSD, with company president Dr. Miri Halperin Wernli stating:
“I believe that when LSD and MDMA are taken together they have exceptional potential to open a window into our mind which will awaken it to new levels of awareness by changing the fluidity of the state of consciousness, amplifying changed perceptions, intensifying emotions, and stimulating novel thoughts. It is like a gateway to a multidimensional universe.”
When it comes to MDMA trials, MAPS – Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, is also making its way to approval. MAPS entered phase III of its trials into MDMA for PTSD, and aligned this phase with the FDA according to a Special Protocol Assessment made directly with the FDA. This means that so long as the trials show clinically significant results, the study will already check all FDA regulatory boxes, and make it that much easier for approval.
However, a psychedelic drug has technically already been approved by the FDA. In March of 2019, Johnson & Johnson’s Spravato got approval. The spray treatment is considered for those who have not received a benefit from at least two separate anti-depressants. Spravato is a drug that’s a chemical cousin of the drug ketamine, which is classified as a dissociative drug, but also as a psychedelic. The medication is meant for severe depression.
There are tons of companies popping up. Apart from the companies already listed, prospective investors should check out Champignon Brands, Hollister Biosciences, Better Plant Sciences, Captiva Verde Land, Core One Labs, Cybin, Empower Clinics, Ehave, Jazz pharmaceuticals and EGF Theramed Health. All of these companies are associated in some way or other with the production of psychedelic medications. And while I have yet to see it mentioned in an article, it seems to me that what might upend everything I just said, is the ability to cultivate magic mushrooms.
Something to consider
Much like cannabis, mushrooms come with the ability for easy self-cultivation, as well as large scale cultivation. People who invest in today’s cannabis cultivation already know the value of having growing fields. Imagine the same thing, but with mushrooms. I personally believe that the biggest way in the future to invest in medical psychedelics, will be through the growing of mushrooms.
As stated, this is my opinion, and has not been discussed much as far as I can tell. This is not shocking though, and really doesn’t mean much, as this topic is also an undesirable one for any biotech or pharmaceutical company that – much like with cannabis – would much prefer you know nothing about how to do this on your own. And much like cannabis, it’s easy enough to learn how for anyone who needs some help getting started. Plus, since cultivation and sale of the mushrooms themselves is actually legal in many places, it’s way more legal to grow a field of mushrooms in much of the world, than to grow a field of cannabis.
How to invest in Medical Psychedelics – Conclusion
That the medical psychedelics field is coming is not as much up for debate as many would believe. It might be growing in the shadow of the cannabis market, and being kept quiet until the ability for large scale monetization is possible, but it’s coming, and it will be big. For those who want to invest in the growing medical psychedelics field, getting in now is probably the best idea, and with all the new companies popping up every day, it’s sure to become a heated race very soon.
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With psilocybin on the rise as a natural option to traditional therapy, Ketamine is now leading the race of psychedelic-based therapy. Approved by the FDA as an anesthetic in 1970, it is used for pain control during surgeries and to decrease postoperative pain in human and veterinary medicine. Make no mistake – these are not […]
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Vancouver based Numinus Wellness Inc. announced early this morning that it will undertake a clinical trial of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy. The compassionate access clinical trial will enable the company to refine optimal protocols for the use of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy for participants with a range of substance use disorders. About the Research & Clinical Trial Numinus Wellness […]
Imagine having a treatment-resistant addition. You’ve tried going to therapy, taking medications, receiving treatment at rehabilitation centres–everything. But none of it worked. Where do you even go from there? What else is there to do? Getting an addiction can not only hinder one’s mental and physical health, but also their relationships, career, and life in […]
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