A research team from Yale has been exploring the effects of psychedelics on the brain. Their research has shown that a single dose of psilocybin is enough to cause structural changes in the brain. Changes that could potentially counteract symptoms of depression and mental illness, as well as increasing the size and density of neurons in the brain. Their research was inspired by studies done on ketamine that showed the same potential neurological changes in the spine.

The study: 

  • The research team used mice as a stand in for humans. The goal was to better understand the changes that the brain undergoes during the psychedelic experience.
  • 82 mice were used and there was an equal distribution between males and females. This was widely regarded as a very robust sample size.
  • Evidence was presented that administering Psilocybin to mice resulted in a 10% increase in neuron size and density in the brain.
  • This “remodeling” of the brain occurs within 24 hours of drug administration and persists for approximately one month.
  • Interestingly, results showed that the male mouse brain experienced a smaller effect from the dose.

In the future, the research team hopes to investigate the exact mechanisms by which psilocybin increases the neuron density. Which could potentially result in the identification of new compounds that have neuropsychiatric treatment properties.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that psychedelics are at the precipice of moving entirely into the mainstream. Much like the cannabis market before it, the limelight has brought an increasing amount of investors and money to the industry. The psychedelic market is attracting more smart capital than ever as “in the know” people become interested in investing in a new frontier. The market is giving off signals that show positive signs for a smarter, more sustainable investment than the early cannabis market offered.

The industry

  • Despite being an early stage industry, the potential value coming from the market is massive. Projections have the value of the market being over $10B by 2027.
  • Capital is attracted to the industry for three key reasons: evolving legislation, widely supportive public opinion and a global need for increased mental health treatments.
  • An example of the industries upside – ATAI Life Sciences saw a 40% bump on its first day of public trading, they are now valued at $2.6B

The primary path to profitability seems to be through clinical trials and expanding traditional mental health treatments. And as the world continues to decriminalize psychedelics, more opportunities for growth are presenting themselves.

Mental Health Facts 

  • It should be no surprise that COVID increased the demand for health care, and with that, an increase in demand for psychedelic health care. Which could become an essential tool for treatment of the worsening public mental health condition.
  • Studies from the UK state that approximately 17% of the adult population are on some sort of antidepressant.
  • Pharmaceutical companies have been looking to significantly increase investment into new medical treatments to address new arising problems.

There is a massive market with room for a myriad of organizations to thrive in. Over 50% of the public would consider psychedelic assisted therapy. As legislation, public opinion and early signals continue to move in an encouraging direction, the market should see increased profitability and returns.

If you don’t know, Synthesis Institute is a wellness retreat and psychedelic practitioner training organization with operations in the Netherlands. More importantly, they just closed $7.25M in Series A funding in a very non-traditional, steward backed effort. This makes them the first psychedelic startup to adopt and raise funds as a Steward-Ownership organization.

The Steward Structure: 

  • This specific type of self-governance structure means that there are safeguards in place to ensure that when the company realizes profits, they are directed towards a very specific function, rather than towards investors.
  • This increases the accountability of the team members, investors, and the overall organization to the company’s mission and social impact.
  • Like conventional startup owners, stewards are in charge of managing and controlling the company’s direction. But unlike traditional models, they are also committed to driving a higher standard of accountability. In a world where ESG metrics are more important than ever, mission driven decision making is imperative.

The psychedelic renaissance is fundamentally changing the way that the public thinks and discusses about mental health. Synthesis believes that it is possible to integrate new methodologies into already in place systems ethically and with respect. Their flagship training program will open in 2022 with enrollment slated to take place in December 2021.

The wave of psychedelic decriminalization and medicinal legalization in the states has caused an increase in interest around use across the USA. Recently we put out a briefing that discussed Bill 519 in California. A motion that would legalize possession of several psychedelics if passed. Last week that bill was tabled until January 2022. But it does not seem like that was enough to stop the growing informal psychedelic scene in the state.

In LA, shroom are the new cannabis 

  • MIchelle Lhooq, a drugs and music journalist, claims that Los Angelenos have been experimenting with drugs more than ever before since the pandemic.
  • Like cannabis, the perception that legalization is imminent has led to a flourishing underground market that seems to be widely ignored by law enforcement.

The LA micro-party scene is thriving. From Bougie parties in Malibu that have sparkling water enhanced with MDMA to backyard BBQ featuring mushroom tea. These events are happening in relaxed, outdoor environments during the day. Far from the stereotype of sketchy back alley deals in unsafe environments are over, and the age of wellness and self-optimization is in.

These parties are generally micro-dose focused (or just small doses). It is not usually enough to feel the psychotropic effects of the drug. But rather a subliminal, gradual effect that stacks up over multiple micro-parties that results in mental health benefits.

As mentioned above, several studies have decriminalized them, and Oregon has already legalized medicinal psychedelics. Could Vermont be the next domino to fall?  Bill H.878 would decriminalize certain drugs commonly used for medicinal, spiritual, religious or entheogenic purposes.

The path to legalization

  • The bill was raised in January 2020, and currently sits in committee. A new petition was recently organized to change that decriminalization to legalization.
  • The petition has over 260 signatures at last check. It sites research evidence from The Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research proving the safety and mental health benefits for psychedelics.
  • The petition urges Vermont to follow in the steps of other parts of the country that have already decriminalized certain psychedelics.

Brain Cina, a Vermont State Representative thinks that “It is a waste of society’s resources to criminalize behaviours that stretch to the roots of humanity”. Psychedelic substances have been used around the world for thousands of years, from the Amazon basin to the Steppes of Asia.

Biden’s Drug Czar wants to make it easier to research marijuana, psychedelics and other Schedule I Substances.

SoundMind opens a psychedelic clinic in West Philly as momentum builds for treatment of depression, PTSD with mind-altering drugs.

Suicide remains a leading cause of death in the US. Depression treatment options are expanding as psychedelic-assisted therapy proves to be an increasingly effective approach to transformative mental health.

Filament Health has gone all natural, and it has investors seeing green.

Ketamine One and Cognetivity sign LOI to collaborate on mental health assessment tools.