🫠 This Week in Psychedelics

[5-min read] NY bill would legalize psilocybin use with a permit.

Welcome to Tricycle Day. You don’t need a gov’t ID to read our newsletter. But if you forward it to your friends, you’ll be a card-carrying Cyclist in our hearts forever. (Proverbially speaking, ofc.) 🪪

Here’s what we got this week.

  • The neuroscience of ego death 💀

  • NY may issue shroom permits 🗽

  • Can AI train better psychedelic therapists? 🦾

  • Resources for aspiring facilitators 🍄

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MICRODOSES
🔬 Research

Group think: Integration groups have a lot to offer, but there are risks, too.
Sniff, sniff: Intranasal ketamine could be an option for people with cluster headaches.
Don’t forget: Long-term ayahuasca use may preserve cognitive function and working memory.
T-t-today, Junior! According to Redditors, psychedelics help with stuttering.
We are all one: But apparently race still matters when it comes to benefiting from psychedelics.
Seeking volunteers: If you’ve ever met an entity on ayahuasca, or if you drink alcohol and have depression, researchers want to hear from you.

🏛️ Policy

Georgia on my mind: Atlanta could become the first city to cover its employees’ psychedelic therapy.
Doctor’s orders: The Illinois CURE Act, which proposes a psilocybin services program like Oregon’s, has been amended. Now, clients would need a healthcare provider’s referral first.
Down but not out: Now that California’s psychedelic therapy bill has been killed, Sen. Scott Wiener is considering a ballot measure.
Extra Special Access Program: Canada’s Federal Court overturned Health Canada’s refusal to allow psilocybin.
Let’s be fair: The state-by-state approach to psychedelic policy reform is causing equity concerns.

📈 Business

Knowledge is power: The world’s first consumer psychedelic therapy expo is coming to Toronto.
Paying penance: An ayahuasca church and its owner owe $15 million for the wrongful death of a member.
Bwiti business: Terragnosis has released its Nagoya-compliant, GMP iboga extract.
In hot water: Lucy Scientific Discovery has lost $43 million, with no clear revenue streams. Also, their CFO just quit.
Soul supplier: Optimi Health became the exclusive psilocybin supplier for ATMA Journey Centers’ clinical trials.
Healthy, wealthy, and wise: Employers may be the ones to convince insurance companies to cover psychedelic therapy.

🫠 Just for fun

Psychedelic tourism: 10 places around the world to travel as a psychonaut.
Sh*tty trip: A bacterial disease, passed from poop to mouth, broke out at an Australian psychedelic festival.
Vibing with the frequency: With or without psychedelics, music is medicine.
Meme of the week: It’s up to you to end generational trauma

THE PEAK EXPERIENCE
Bragging about my ego death experience like

Your ego has left the chat

Kill your ego, they said. You’ll become enlightened, they said.

Idk, my ego took a pretty massive hit when I accidentally called my teacher “mom” in fifth grade. Somehow I didn’t end up a Bodhisattva. Better luck next life, I guess?

Anyway, a new psychedelic study just dropped, and it paints a different picture of ego death altogether—a moving picture.

Researchers from Maastricht University took 22 volunteers, gave ‘em a healthy dose of psilocybin, and scanned their brains for 6 minutes while they were peaking. Here’s what they found.

  • 🧠 Psilocybin induces “hyperconnectivity.” Participants' brains didn't just become more connected; they became more dynamically connected. (That means different regions were talking to each other, and the strength of those connections was constantly in flux.)

  • 🌊 You’re the ocean in a drop. This state of hyperconnectivity was strongly linked to spiritual experiences and feelings of unity and bliss—or what researchers call "oceanic boundlessness." (So much for ineffability, huh?)

  • 👁️ The visuals were secondary. Sure, the participants hallucinated, too. But the ego-dissolving (or “egotropic”) effects were more correlated with the hyperconnected brain state than the trippy visuals were.

So what does this all mean? For starters, it suggests ego death isn’t some static final destination. It’s what happens when your brain’s forming and dissolving connections so quickly that you can no linger cling to an identity or sense of self at all.

And if ego dissolution is the goal—especially in the context of therapy—then maybe we should ignore the sparkly colors and pretty patterns for now and focus on how to rewire the brain for hyperconnectivity.

Scientists, if you’re out there reading this, I’m begging you. Please sort this out before I call my boss “dad.” 🫠

AFTERGLOW
Me presenting my psilocybin permit

Empire state of mind

Something every New Yorker loves to say: “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.” Cool, we get it. You’re tough. But the real question is: do the same rules apply to policy reform? Because a new bill in the New York State Assembly is proposing to legalize psilocybin for any adult who obtains a permit. It’s kinda like a driver's license, but instead of commuting to work, you’re communing with spirit.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, would allow adults to legally grow, possess, use, and share psilocybin with (other permitted) friends. To score one of these passes, you'd just need to sit through a five-hour educational course and pass a health screening. FWIW, the measure lists several conditions that could theoretically be treated with psilocybin, but it also states eligibility would not be limited to those with a diagnosis.

It’s not a full decriminalization campaign, like what passed in Colorado. (Get caught without a permit, and you could face a penalty.) It’s also not a facilitated services model, like what’s going on in Oregon. (Though NY lawmakers are working that angle, too.) It’s a secret third thing. Now let’s make it there, so we can have it everywhere.

Machine elves and machine learning

We’ve all had that psychedelic experience where we sensed a non-human entity in the room, right? Okay, so if we can get past that, then maybe this AI news won’t feel so dystopian. From drug discovery to patient selection, AI has already infiltrated the psychedelic ecosystem. Now, it's found its newest target: therapist training.

Fluence, one of the OGs in psychedelic therapy education, has teamed up with Metamorph AI to create a generative AI tool to improve and scale its programs. Essentially, their AI is a coach for therapists-in-training. It listens in on role-play sessions, identifies missed opportunities and areas for improvement, and delivers personalized feedback. Naturally, this is a huge time-saver for instructors, which means more psychedelic therapists can get trained faster.

If psychedelics are realistically going to make a dent in this mental health epidemic, then we’re gonna need a lot of therapists. (There’s a shortage of mental health professionals as it is.) So maybe AI is the answer here. After all, AI and psychedelics have at least one thing in common. They both do something so mind-blowing that it’s tempting to call it magic.

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DISCLAIMER: This newsletter is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice. The use, possession, and distribution of psychedelic drugs are illegal in most countries and may result in criminal prosecution.

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