Hardships of a Critical Workforce

Canadian non-profit Therapsil is advocating for doctors and therapists to legally trip on mushrooms. They’re joined by initiatives from Novamind and Cybin to highlight healthcare workers. Focus will remain on training and mental wellness of the workforce.

  • Dave Phillips, an advisor to TheraPsil, is teaching 21 doctors, therapists, and nurses across Canada to facilitate psilocybin therapy.
  • Last month, 5 Canadian healthcare practitioners were first to undergo psilocybin-assisted therapy legally, as part of their training program.

Patients seeking psilocybin-assisted therapy will face bottleneck access until more doctors are granted exemptions by the Canadian health minister to undergo such training.

Frontline workers in the COVID-19 battle

COVID-19 put a toll on the mental health of frontline healthcare workers. Novamind (CSE:NM) and Cybin (NEO: CYBN) are addressing the stress and trauma caused by this global hardship.

  • In a recent Medscape survey of 7,500 physicians, 64% reported experiencing intense burnout while 46% reported feeling increased isolation and loneliness.
  • Novamind and the Wholeness Center will launch “Frontline KAP”, a ketamine-assisted psychotherapy protocol, in Utah and Colorado.
  • The protocol will be available to 40 healthcare workers and is set to start in June.

Loneliness, anxiety and burnout

Cybin’s initiative “EMBARK” will be a randomized, placebo-controlled trial of psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy.

  • Frontline clinicians experiencing COVID-related distress will be treated at the University of Washington.
  • The study will aim to treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, burnout and post-traumatic stress among frontline doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals.
  • It will be hosted in Seattle, where COVID-19 hit early and hard.

The Year of the IPO

Berlin-based biotech company Atai Life Science (NASDAQ: ATAI) went public on Friday. The company first launched in 2018.

  • Over 100 biotech companies went public so far in 2021, including a number of psychedelic firms.  
  • The company raised $225 million from selling 15 million shares in the IPO.
  • Shares surged 40% giving the Atai a market capitalization of $3.19 billion.
  • Atai’s  is back by billionaire investors Christian Angermayer, and Peter Thiel.

The bio-pharmaceutical company leverages a decentralized platform approach to accelerate the development of treatments for several mental health problems, including depression, brain injury, and opioid addiction.

Psychedelic Clinical Trials May be Inherently Flawed

Clinical trials are at the heart of all modern psychedelic research efforts. That’s why RCT guidelines exist to eliminate bias and evaluate the true effects of any substance.

The problem: It’s too simple to tell if you’re high, or were administered a placebo!

  • New Zealand psycho-pharmacologist researcher Suresh Muthukumaraswamy suggests many findings from recent psychedelic trials may be largely over-estimated.
  • Not impartial to the matter, Suresh is currently running the world’s first placebo-controlled LSD micro-dosing trials.

What’s an RCT?

  • For the last 50 years, randomized controlled trials (RCTs) have been standard to evaluate the effectiveness of new medical interventions. They deliver empirical evidence whether a novel treatment works or not.
  • The process involves a group of participants with a certain condition, and randomly separating them into at least 2 groups. One group receives the experimental intervention while the other group, known as the control, receives a placebo (sugar pill).

Blatantly knowing you’re part of a placebo group as a patient, or healthcare practitioner, can be disappointing. Especially considering that clinical trials take place over the course of several weeks. Boring!

Scientific method (remixed)

To get truly accurate data, clinical trials may have to continue outside of the RCT box with unusual methods.

  • Using ‘active placebos’ (drugs) such as ‘midazolam’ (ketamine-like) and ‘procin’ (psilocybin-like), to recreate symptoms similar to psychedelics.
  • Trials where 1 group takes a high dose, while the other is administered a low dose.
  • Have more transparency and detailed reporting, including unsuccessful trials.
  • Giving less details to participants about likely outcomes, to better manage bias and expectations.

A really fun study was done with a bunch of people tripping on a fake drug… read about it here.

Seattle to Decriminalize Magic Mushrooms

In 2016, King County leaders created a task force on heroin and prescription opioids. Now, a new task force will explore a similar approach towards addiction with decriminalized shrooms.

  • On Monday, seven council members signed a letter to launch the Overdose Emergency and Innovative Recovery Task Force, in King County.
  • The panel will be community-oriented and include experienced representatives working on the ground.
  • Led by Black Lives Matter Seattle-King County and VOCAL Washington, the panel plans to reconsider how governments and communities can reduce overdoses & racial inequities in drug-user health and criminal-legal system challenges.

A group named ‘Decriminalize Nature Seattle’ was also present at the council meeting. Their goal is to ensure safe and equitable access to psychedelics like psilocybin, ibogaine and ayahuasca, for human health & wellness.

The momentum continues forth

If Seattle decriminalizes psilocybin, they will be joining a growing list of places in the U.S.

  • Denver, Colorado
  • Oakland & Santa Cruz, California
  • Ann Arbor & Washtenaw County, Michigan
  • District of Colombia
  • State of Oregon
  • Somerville, Cambridge, and Northampton, Massachusetts

Report Readout

Kaiser Family Foundation poll reveals 4 times as many people suffering from mental health disorders since COVID-19. A Vancouver company is hoping to help change that.

Amanda Feilding has devoted the last 55 years to studying psychedelic benefits and mechanisms.

Could psychedelics be the next big cure for everything?

Cybin officially selects social anxiety disorder (“SAD”) and generalized anxiety disorder (“GAD”) as target indications for its proprietary psychedelic molecule CYB004.

Wake Network and Santé Cannabis will collaborate on first-of-its-kind clinical research initiatives in Canada to discover new treatment options for patients.

Field Trip Health (CSE:FTRP) announces completion of DMPK studies for its novel psychedelic compound.

New U of C research position 1st in Canada to focus on psychedelic drug therapy for mental health.

Cannabis multi-state operator Vireo Health dives into psychedelics and changes name to Goodness Growth Holdings. And change CSE stock symbol from VREO to GDNS.