On January 5, 2022, Health Canada made effective amendments to Canada’s special access programs (SAP’s). These amendments allow medical practitioners to request access to certain psychedelics for eligible patients. These amendments to the SAP now allow manufacturers of psychedelics to provide them to a medical practitioner. Specifically for patients with serious or life threatening conditions. These treatments are addressed on a case by case basis. They are intended for emergency situations or in situations when conventional treatments have failed or may be unavailable.
Health Canada noted that restricted drugs are not generally approved unless it is under extraordinary circumstances. With the emergence of the psychedelic industry (as a heavily science laden industry) and advancements in public understanding. They could not really delay the amendment for too much longer. Health Canada was inundated with hundreds of support letters during the public consultation period. This forced them to restore psychedelics to the SAP.
This level of support discovered by Health Canada appears to be consistent with other reported figures. In August 2021 the Canadian Psychedelic Association revealed survey findings from Nanos Research. This research demonstrated that 82% of Canadians approve the use of psilocybin-assisted therapy for people suffering from an end-of-life illness. 78% would support a government that legalized the same. With increased public support, voters and legislators alike have begun to reflect that support in their decision-making. Including through legislative efforts in the United States seeking to decriminalize certain psychedelics at state and local levels of government.
Toadely Trippin with Lexston
After being involved in cannabis for nearly a decade, Lexston Life Sciences has set its sights on psychedelics. They are hoping that they can make a dent in the industry. This will be done by leveraging the knowledge they have gained from working with regulated and restricted substances. Lexston and their subsidiaries Egret Biosciences and Zenalytic Laboratories claim to know the industry inside and out. They hope they can hit the ground running once legalization hits.
One of Lexston’s goals is to best integrate psychedelics into modern society to improve mental health and wellness.
A quote from the CSO
“We are building the tools necessary for a regulated supply chain that does not yet exist on the market.” Lexston chief science officer and director Dr. Philippe Henry said. “We have been active in the cannabis space for the past eight years. And have developed chemical and genetic tools for best practice in the cannabis industry”.
Destination, the Colorado River bed
And one of the next steps for Lexston in its journey will involve toads.
Egret Bioscience, Lexston’s R&D arm, and Alvarius Research Inc have teamed up for research involving the Colorado River toad. The study will examine the tryptamines produced in the toads’ parotid glands secretions. Which may be the most efficient producer of psychoactive compounds of any living organism.
However, the Colorado River toad falls under conservation status, making it challenging to work with. The goal of Egret is to ensure alternative means to produce tryptamines in a lab without upsetting the natural environment.
The company is also teaming up with American company Panacea Plant Sciences. With the goal of expanding the supply chain, reduce the supply cost, and characterize the chemistry and pharmacology of a host of psychedelic compounds using each team’s particular expertise.
Despite some of what has been going on in the world. These are still exciting times for the psychedelic industry. Lexston is showing that there are still new and novel ideas out there.
Nucleus is a new South Florida startup focused on mental health data and technology. They are owned by Iter Investments. Their plan is to unveil an ecosystem designed to bring their services directly to where people are. Supporting them on their mental health journey. Nucleus is centered around a unique search engine experience that can provide space for the psychedelic discovery process to play out safely and effectively.
Nucleus is made up of technology, data, and media assets. All intended to deliver intelligence, education, and opportunities to those that are looking for self-discovery resource. Within the platform, users can assess their emotional health, find treatments, journal their experiences. All to fully own all of their documented health data along the way. This is all in an effort to give the power back to patients, giving them more understanding as they grow and evolve.
The Nucleus Ecosystem
- Neuly: A subscription-based data platform for researchers and professionals in the psychedelics and mental health industry.
- Psychedelic Invest: A resource equipping investors with reports and insights spanning the growing industry of plant, entheogenic, and psychoactive medicines.
- Matter Academy: A collection of training programs for wellness practitioners.
- Psyrise: A marketing partner for mental health brands.
- Particles: A decentralized community building the future of well-being.
Serial tech and marketing entrepreneur, Logan Lenz, has joined as CEO of Nucleus and is hoping to lead their ascent. Over the past 20 years, he has founded several startups and worked with Disney, Coca-Cola, and Planet Fitness on their media plans. Lenz has garnered a portfolio of success stories ranging from blockchain development to IPOs. He is a prime candidate to help navigate the psychedelic world. By expanding their opportunities into NFT’s and blockchain bridges, Nucleus may be able to exceed revenue goals.
Nucleus believes that they can assist all industry stakeholders including patients, clinicians, therapists, practitioners, investors, advocates, and psychedelic companies in some way – all while collaborating and helping to propel the entire industry forward.
The rush to business maturity for the psychedelics industry has led to inevitable comparisons to the growth and development of the cannabis industry. Both have captured the interest of retail and institutional money alike. Both have attracted hype investors, and both have complicated histories. So where do the “mush rush” and “green wave” stand in relation to each other now?
After their rocky start in the 60s and then a 50 year long reflection period around their mental health benefits. Psychedelics today have bypassed the sort of negative stoner-boy druggy drop-out stereotype that dogs the cannabis industry. This is mostly due to the depth of the science and research of the psychedelic industry.
Most forms of psychedelics have been found to improve the mental well-being of humans if used properly. They are not total cures to such things as depression and some of the more difficult human mental conditions. But ongoing, and accelerating, clinical research at institutions like Johns Hopkins Medicine has shown that they can at least provide people with a better quality of life.
Psychedelic companies are building partnerships with academia to help redefine what psychedelics can mean for health and wellness. The psychedelics industry has seemingly learned a lesson from the cannabis industry about how to position itself as a health and wellness substance first, and keep the pure fun of doing legalized psychedelics out of the picture entirely.
The cannabis industry sprung out of the basements and backyards of black market growers and sellers who had no intention of using it medically. As the cannabis industry grew, it became clear it prioritized how buzzed you can get by maximizing THC. There were goofy stoner boys promoting brands, which did not help the straights. The psychedelics industry developed by featuring guys in white lab coats and researchers with PhD’s carefully presenting results of clinical studies that demonstrated amazing medical breakthroughs.
That mindset of cannabis has bled into psychedelics a bit. The recreational psychedelics folks want a piece of the psychedelics profits pie. But they are proceeding carefully, with decriminalization. With Oregon being the leader through decriminalization and legalization.
The future may be dependent on how the Oregon measure is interpreted, and on how other cities and state push through their own versions of recreational psychedelic sales. It is unclear as to whether there will there be different brands of shrooms available in retail stores. Or how the recreational industry will pan out.
Early Days, but different ways
These early legalized psychedelics days are nothing like the heyday of early cannabis legalization days, where any buzz-worthy outing was just you and a couple of friends laughing at getting away with getting high.
Legalized recreational psychedelics appear to be about serious mental health help, not about goofing and giggling a night away. They are therapy. They offer self-exploration. In short, they offer nothing recreational at all… for now.
The US arm of Japans Otsuka Pharmaceuticals has recently invested in a psychedelic drug discovery company. This rare endorsement by big pharma is a big showing for the psychedelic field.
The McQuade Center for Strategic Research and Development (the US arm of Otsuka) will fund $5M in development for two psychedelic drug compounds from Mindset Pharma. A Toronto psychedelics company.
Mindset will be using the money to support their early stage human trials for the two earmarket compounds. As an incentive for the investment, Otsuka will be receiving the first right of refusal for any asset sale, licensing or collaboration opportunities that may come from the trials.
Otsuka seems to be hoping that the potential commercialization of these drugs will round out their portfolio nicely. Their current focus is on central nervous disorders. Which psychedelics have been shown to be impactful on when used properly.
The Compounds In Question
One of these molecules is MSP-1014. According to Mindset, this drug has the potential to be a safer, more effective derivative of psilocybin. With reduced potential for side effects, and it hopes to develop it for major depressive disorder, substance misuse disorders and end-of-life anxiety associated with terminal illnesses.
They are also working on a derivative of 5-MeO-DMT. So they are jumping into the ring with Beckley scientific, who has already started clinical studies for the use of it for Short-lasting unilateral headache attacks.
- Kathryn Walker, CEO of Revitalist (CSE:CALM) is predicting that 2022 will be the year many ideas come to fruition in the psychedelic industry. The CEO says her ideas for rapid expansion will continue with the opening of several new clinics in strategic locations. Revitalist is focused on building an ecosystem of ketamine clinics in the USA. And for them, 2022 looks like expansion into new strategic areas. Their first big step is by helping veterans, and new and strategic clinic buildouts.
- Queen’s University will be hosting CATALYST Summit 2022 — one of the largest hybrid in-person and online conferences in Canada dedicated to psychedelic medicine — from Friday, May 20 to Sunday, May 22, 2022, with local and international scientists, researchers, and speakers providing insight into the latest research and findings.
- If you’re a Canadian and you’ve ever taken a psychedelic substance, a recently launched survey is looking for your feedback. Sponsored by MAPS Public Benefit Corp. (PBC) and two Alberta-based businesses, psychedelics manufacturer Psygen, and mental health clinic Sabi Mind, the Canadian Psychedelic Survey gives psychedelic users an opportunity to share information about their past and current experiences with psychedelic substances.