🫠 This Week in Psychedelics

[5-min read] Stanford researchers study ketamine under surgical anesthesia.

Welcome to Tricycle Day. Go ahead and put your blindfolds on. Y’all are so awakened you can probably read our newsletter with your third eye. 👁️

⚠️ Free stuff alert: We crossed 30k subscribers and decided to give away a ton of psychedelic prizes to celebrate. See what (and how) you can win. 

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Here’s what we got this week.

  • The genius way to blind a study 🧑‍🦯

  • A win for decrim in California 💡

  • Crackdown at the entheogenic church ⛪

  • Party in the city where the heat is on 🥵

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Set & Setting

The top stories in psychedelic research, policy, and business

RESEARCH

Stanford takes “blinding” to a whole new level

Psychedelic research has a problem. A blinding problem.

Blind driver

This guy took LSD. Now look at him. 🧑‍🦯

Jk, it’s not that bad. In clinical trials, “blinding” is when you keep certain info secret—like who received the study drug and who didn’t—to avoid influencing the results.

The problem is, it’s hard not to notice when the fabric of reality starts unraveling before your eyes. In other words, the subjective effects of psychedelics make conducting unbiased research difficult.

But recently, some clever researchers at Stanford figured out a solution. And they just published the surprising results.

For their study, they found 40 people with depression who just so happened to be scheduled for routine surgery. Then, while they were knocked out under anesthesia, the researchers dosed ‘em with either ketamine or placebo. Here’s what they found.

  • 👯 Both groups improved. No matter if they received ketamine or placebo, depression scores dropped on average by 50% within a day.

  • 📆 The results lasted. Their scores stayed about the same throughout a two-week follow-up.

  • 🙈 The blinding worked. Participants were asked whether they thought they got ketamine or placebo, and their guesses were uncorrelated with reality. In fact, their answers were more closely tied to how much better they felt. (60% thought they received ketamine.)

Now, your takeaway shouldn’t be that ketamine is bogus. But the findings do support the idea that positive expectation, aka the placebo effect, is a powerful force for healing.

Considering ketamine and hope both work on the same brain receptors, it couldn’t hurt to double up. 🫠

MICRODOSES

📈 Self medicating: LSD is getting more popular, especially among young adults and people with depression.

💗 Heart opening, innit? British researchers are testing methylone, an entactogen similar to MDMA, as a treatment for PTSD.

👃 Nose goes: Beckley Psytech has dosed the first patient in its Phase 2b study of intranasal 5-MeO-DMT for treatment-resistant depression.

🧑‍🤝‍🧑 Come together, right now: Group psilocybin therapy may be as effective for PTSD as MAPS’ MDMA protocol, based on self-reported outcomes from MycoMeditations retreats.

🍬 Melts in your mouth, not in your gut: Awakn Life Sciences has created a formulation of MDMA in an orally disintegrating tablet (ODT) that’s suitable for pre-gastric absorption.

😞 Chin up, young buck: Diamond Therapeutics is kicking off the first FDA-approved trial of microdosed psilocybin for demoralization.

POLICY

Eureka, California sticks it to the man

Still salty that California’s legalization bill got vetoed? Apparently, we’re not the only ones in denial.

This week, the city council of Eureka, CA voted to decriminalize psychedelic plants and fungi locally. Take that, Governor Newsom. 😤

Newsom: You deliberately disobeyed me.

Dude’s literally shaking right now.

The resolution passed with unanimous approval, making Eureka the sixth jurisdiction in Cali to deprioritize law enforcement related to psychedelics. Eureka follows Oakland, Santa Cruz, Arcata, Berkeley, and San Francisco, who’ve all passed similar measures.

That means, effective immediately, Eurekans 21+ can cultivate, use, and share entheogenic plants and fungi—and the psychoactive compounds they contain—without fear of prosecution by local police.

Aside from the (proverbial) middle finger it raised to state leadership, the city ordinance included two fairly controversial points.

  • ✅ KEPT: Eureka’s resolution does NOT exclude peyote, unlike other cities that have chosen to avoid the sticky issues of overharvesting and traditional indigenous use.

  • ❌ STRUCK: Before passing the resolution, the council removed a mention of the ”profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth” brought on by these substances.

Guess it got a little too real there… even for a city named after the sound you make when your mind is blown. 🤯

MICRODOSES

👏 Get it together: After failing to elect a House speaker, Congress has postponed what would have been the first ever hearing on psychedelics as a solution to the veteran suicide epidemic.

🔨 Order in the court! A Seattle doctor sued the DEA for denying his patients access to psilocybin. His case was just heard in the US Court of Appeals.

🦅 First Nations first: Minnesota is using its Psychedelic Medicine Task Force as an opportunity to smooth government relationships between the state and the sovereign Dakota Tribes.

⏲️ It’s the final countdown: Politicians and advocates weigh in on the timeline for psilocybin legalization in Canada.

BUSINESS

Soul Tribes is fighting for religious freedom

Where’s the ACLU when you need ‘em?

Detroit police have padlocked the doors of Soul Tribes, a local entheogenic church, just weeks after raiding its stash of shrooms sacrament.

The church’s leader, Shaman Bobby Shu, is calling the shutdown an example of “religious redlining.” He’s invoking the First Amendment, and he’s ready to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court.

But local police say it’s a matter of public safety. Psychedelics may be decriminalized in Detroit, but that doesn’t override state laws. In their view, Soul Tribes has been operating as an illegal dispensary.

So who’s right, and who’s full of cow dung?

Shaman Shu argues they’ve done everything by the book.

Pretty solid case if you ask us. On the other hand, Soul Tribes has made some—let’s just say, unconventional—moves for a church.

  • 🤨 In June, they tried to raise $10 million by issuing Soul Bonds, the “world's first tax-exempt psychedelics bond.”

  • 🤔 A month later, they were promising free sacrament to attract their first 500 crowdfunders.

  • 🥴 They’ve been posting bright yellow signs all over Detroit advertising shroom delivery.

🤷 Tough call. We’re no lawyers, but you know who is? Victoria Litman, who shared her Psychonaut POV with us on the religious use of psychedelics back in June. (If you’re considering opening your own entheogenic church, start here.)

MICRODOSES

👑 King of the machine elves: Cybin has completed its acquisition of Small Pharma, creating the industry’s largest and most advanced DMT program.

🍄 For the serious cultivator: Orange Phototonics’ newest device lets “non-technical users'' measure mushrooms’ psilocybin and psilocin content. You can pick up a LightLab 3 Psy Analyzer for the low, low price of $16,000.

🧑‍⚕️ Standards of care: ATMA Journey Centers and Cena Life are teaming up to try to standardize the delivery of psychedelic-assisted therapy across Canada.

🤑 Big Psychedelic: Worldwide sales of Spravato (J&J’s esketamine drug) hit $183 million in Q3 2023, up from $100 million in Q3 2022.

🏥 Systemic issues: Low-cost, generic ketamine is still inaccessible to many who could benefit. A team of medical researchers explains why.

Trip Reports

Hot takes from around the web

Cyclists' Picks

Our favorite opportunities for mind expansion

Wonderland

Wonderland Conference — Mushrooms got you feeling that childlike spontaneity? It’s not too late to book a trip to Miami for Wonderland, an immersive psychedelic event happening Nov 9-11. Featuring 250+ speakers at the intersection of psychedelic medicine, longevity, and mental health, it’s much more than a lecture marathon. You’ll hop around between workshops, wellness sessions, mind-bending activations, and a comedy show. Use code TRICYCLEDAY20 for 20% OFF your ticket.

DB Psychedelics and Creativity

Psychedelics & Creativity for Leaders & Innovators — We’re probably preaching to the choir now, but psychedelics have utility far beyond mental health. Want to learn how to weave psychedelics into your creative process to improve your thinking, generate better ideas, and solve complex problems? This weekend, DoubleBlind is hosting a workshop on just that.

SPORES

Spores — Clear your coffee tables, fungiphiles. This 208-page glossy hardcover features stunning mushroom photography captured by more than 90 artists. From the forest floor to the monotub, each page celebrates the magic of the most underrated kingdom in nature.

That’s all for today. Before you head off, don’t forget to share, rate, and review Tricycle Day below. Catch ya next time, Cyclists! ✌️

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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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