🫠 This Week in Psychedelics

[4-min read] New study suggests older adults respond in unique ways to psychedelics.

Welcome to Tricycle Day. We’re the newsletter that knows age ain’t nothing but a number. We’ll give you that child-like sense of wonder, no matter how old you are. ✨

Here’s what we got this week.

  • How older adults respond to psychedelics 👴👵 

  • Vancouver may legalize shroom stores 🛍️ 

  • More opioid settlement funds for psychedelic research 🍄 

  • A trippy Bicycle Day celebration 🚲️ 

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MICRODOSES
🔬 Research

fMRIs don’t lie: Psilocybin enhances insightfulness during meditation.
All in your head? A new meta-analysis chalked up 72% of ketamine’s antidepressant effects to placebo response.
Look at the pretty colors: Drinking ayahuasca may increase your appreciation for art and aesthetic experiences.
Put the Advil down: A psilocybin “pulse regimen” cuts cluster headaches in half.
When all else fails: MDMA and psilocybin therapy gave this woman relief from Long-COVID.

🏛️ Policy

DORA the explorer: Colorado’s first psychedelic bill of 2024 proposes new guidelines for licensed psychedelic operators.
Psychedelic exceptionalism: Drugs are officially recriminalized in Oregon. But the state’s regulated psilocybin services program is unaffected.
The mission to start a commission: Bills to create psychedelic task forces in Maine, Maryland, and Alaska moved forward.
Single-payer shroom plug: This member of UK Parliament wants psilocybin available through the NHS.
The FDA of Europe: The EMA is live broadcasting a workshop on psychedelics and their regulation in the EU.

📈 Business

Lessons learned: If cannabis legalization flopped, why should legal psychedelics be any better?
Research powerhouse: One British research firm is running the clinical trials for Mindset, PharmAla, Mydecine, Psyence, and more.
Pure and uncut: PharmAla Biotech’s joint venture, Cortexa, is now manufacturing MDMA capsules for clinical trials and authorized prescriptions in Australia.
That’s gay: Meet the real estate mogul funding psychedelic research to support the LGBTQIA+ community.

🫠 Just for fun

Micro-tutorial: A 9-step guide to getting started with microdosing.
Witchcraft and wizardry: How a PhD Harry Potter stan ended up studying the OG Brazilian ayahuasca church.
Meme of the week: Walking away from my meaningless job to serve plant medicine like

THE PEAK EXPERIENCE

Respect your elders

Some people are afraid of getting old. Excuse the bluntness, but they’re idiots.

Less working, more porch sitting. Few responsibilities, plenty of grandkids. Uh, what’s not to look forward to again?

Okay, maybe it’s not all Florida sunshine and rainbows in your golden years. By some estimates, one in every four older adults is dealing with some kind of mental health condition.

Well, good thing there’s no age limit for psychedelics, right?

This week, we got the first study to directly examine how older and younger adults respond differently to these substances.

Researchers (including friend of the newsletter Robin Carhart-Harris) surveyed 124 people who’d attended psychedelic retreats—half aged 60+, and half 18-59. When they compared the two groups, they found 3 striking patterns among the seniors.

  • 😮‍💨 They had less intense experiences, despite seeing similar improvements in well-being as the younger adults.

  • 🩺 Those who’d had psychiatric diagnoses in the past responded even better than their younger counterparts.

  • 🧑‍🤝‍🧑 A sense of community and togetherness was a stronger predictor of improvement for the elders. (In the younger group, outcomes depended more on their individual experiences.)

Basically, the therapeutic benefits to older folks may be more related to the social aspects of the psychedelic experience than the intensity of the trip itself.

So, here’s our million-dollar idea: a retirement home where instead of weekly bingo and water aerobics classes, they have group psychedelic ceremonies. Who’s building this? 🫠

AFTERGLOW

Get ready for licensed psychedelic shops

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, err, regulate ‘em? Lately, policing the countless unlicensed shroom dispensaries around Canada has probably felt like an endless game of Whac-a-Mole. There’ve been plenty of busts, but stores are still selling, and consumers are definitely still buying. That’s why two Vancouver city councillors want to set up a regulatory framework for the retail sale of psilocybin and other entheogens.

The way they see it, you can’t just ignore the situation and expect it to go away. There’s clearly demand for entheogens, and current policies are driving the market underground. When that happens, bad actors can run amok selling mislabeled and adulterated products. (We know for a fact some name brands are not being totally honest.) Basically, they’re preaching harm reduction 101.

Vancouver City Council is scheduled to debate the motion today, April 10. If it passes, Vancouver could be the first city in Canada or the US to allow psychedelic dispensaries to operate above board. Time to trade in those mole-whacking hammers for fountain pens and get signin’.

Psilocybin vs fentanyl

Big Pharma, you’ve made your bed; now lie in it. As opioid overdose deaths continue to climb, the pharmaceutical industry is only beginning to pay the price for its role in the epidemic. Over the next couple decades, nearly $50 billion in settlements will be paid out to state and local governments. Now, one more state is on track to put part of its share toward psychedelic research.

This week, Missouri’s House of Representatives approved a bill that would budget $10 million to study psilocybin as a treatment for opioid use disorder. They’re not the first to consider something like this. (Kentucky took a big swing with ibogaine, but that initiative has since relocated to Ohio.) Hopefully, they won’t be the last, either.

Originally, the Missouri bill would have funded research on ibogaine, not psilocybin. But lawmakers made the swap because they had reservations about ibogaine’s safety profile. Either way, there’s something oddly satisfying about watching Big Pharma reap its Big Karma.

CYCLISTS’ PICKS
UNTIL NEXT TIME

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ONE CYCLIST’S REVIEW
Feeling euphoric

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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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