Ann Arbor Decriminalizes

The City Council in Ann Arbor, Michigan, voted unanimously to decriminalize naturally occurring psychedelics in their city.

What Council Passed:

As we included in last week’s Briefing, the motion reads like that of other cities, making the enforcement of laws against these substances the lowest priority of law enforcement. In order to gain the support of all of council a statement was added to the motion clarifying the city was not authorizing any crimes, and there was an update which allowed city resources to be used if there were to be a significant breach of state or federal laws. 

Law Enforcement Comment: 

Ann Arbor Police Chief Michael Cox said his police force has only made 6 arrests for psychedelics since 2017 and none in 2020. 

What’s Ahead?

Good Times. 

Diversity in Psychedelics 

The psychedelic industry has a diversity problem. Not only are the researchers, clinicians and business people involved overwhelmingly white, narratives persist that psychedelic use originated in white counter culture, an exclusionary and untrue myth. There is also the reality of uneven enforcement of drug offences against people of color. Although psychedelics remain illegal in most jurisdictions, white people are pretty free to use them, it’s a different story for black people. 

How Deep Does the Problem Run: As an example, for the last several years MAPS has been training therapists in psychedelics assisted therapy in anticipation of this practice being approved. So far they’ve trained 285 therapists, fewer than 10% of them have been people of colour. 

What’s Being Done: MAPS recently hosted a conference in Louisville, KY to discuss psychedelics with people of colour and hosted a week-long training session with fifty therapists of colour. The reasoning goes, if MAPS wants to help people of colour with this treatment, they’ll need therapists of colour to administer it. 

MAPS also recruited therapist Dr. Monnica Williams, who studied obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety and the effects of racism, to participate in a clinical trial of MDMA that would only include patients of color. 

Ahead: 

  • The decriminalization movements happening across the United States are a promising sign for increasing psychedelic access
  • Once approved, the cost of psychedelic assisted therapy is being estimated at $13,000 to $15,000, a very high price for many to afford.
  • Improved study design and better education will be necessary to increase access. Dr. Williams and her team had to redesign the MAPS study and educate patients in order to attract enrollment. 

Bexson Developing Ketamine Device 

Bexson Biomedical is developing a wearable device in partnership with Stevanato Group to administer ketamine to patients to manage post operative pain. 

SG EZ-be Pod® is Stevanato’s award winning drug delivery device which they will be modifying to administer BB106, Bexson’s proprietary ketamine formulation. The device delivers drugs subcutaneously, meaning an injection into the third layer of skin below the dermis and epidermis. 

What’s the Need?

In most cases the use of ketaime post surgery is only able to be administered in hospital, while opioids are prescribed to treat pain at home. It is the at home use of opiods that commonly leads to addiction. The device being developed would include “anti-tampering” and “anti-abuse” technologies, enabling medical professionals to send patients home with ketamine. 

Road to Approval

Bexson still must develop the device and receive approval for it as well as their ketamine formulation. They plan to begin animal testing this year, a phase I clinical trial in 2021, and if everything goes to plan receive FDA approval by 2026. The company is currently raising a $4 million Series A, postoperative pain is a $12 billion market. 

Numinus Begins Psilocybe Production

Numinus Wellness Inc. (TSXV:NUMI) has started the cultivation of psilocybe mushrooms for the production of psilocybin. 

Background: Numinus is a Vancouver, BC based company with several psychedelic related business lines including wellness clinics, research and development, and a 7,000 sq. ft. facility. 

Is a license required to grow magic mushrooms? Yes, a Narcotics Dealers License is required to grow, possess and research psilocybin in Canada. This license does not permit a holder to sell to patients or recreationally. 

What Will Numinus Do with their Psilocybin?

  • Research and develop standardized extraction methods.
  • Research product formulations.
  • Develop and evaluate mycochemical standardized test methodologies .
  • Explore naturally occuring psilocybin as an alternative to synthetics currently used in research. 
  • When permissible, delivery of psilocybin assisted therapy at clinics. 

What Else We’re Watching

Inside 9/20, the Holiday for Psychedelic Mushrooms: Rolling Stone explores the origins and the celebration of the magic mushroom holiday. 

Dr. Michael Mithoefer & Ann Mithoefer Join AWAKN’s Scientific Board: AWAKN adds two psychedelic veterans affiliated with MAPS to their team. 

Mushrooms, the Last Survivors: New York Times Style Magazine explores the magical world of mushrooms from food to psychedelics. 

A Bet on Magic Mushrooms Made One Investor $316 Million Richer: Christian Angermayer, a German millionaire bet big on Compass Pathways.