🫠 This Week in Psychedelics

[5-min read] First-ever study explores the effects of psychedelics on sexual function.

Welcome to Tricycle Day. Roses are red, magic mushrooms are blue. Couldn’t write you a love note, so this newsletter will have to do. Happy Valentine’s Day, Cyclists! 💘

🌬️ Don’t hold your breath: Use it! Conscious breathing is a versatile tool you can use to practice mindfulness, regulate your nerves, and induce profound psychedelic experiences.

We’re breaking down the techniques in our new course, High On Your Own Supply. It’s on presale for one more week. Get it today. 👈

Here’s what we got this week.

  • First look at sex and psychedelics 😏

  • MDMA gets FDA’s priority review ⏩

  • California’s new psychedelic therapy bill 🧑‍⚕️

  • We smoked Blue Lotus 🪷

FROM OUR SPONSORS
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MICRODOSES
🔬 Research

Are you ready? A new preparedness scale can predict how well someone will respond to psychedelics.
Tap the vein: Intravenous DMT may reduce depression and neuroticism.
It’s all in your head: The mental health benefits of psychedelics seem to come from psychological insights, not mystical beliefs.
Dig deep: MDMA users benefit more when they’re focused on self-insight vs euphoria.
Jungle fever: Ayahuasca leads to lasting increases in gratitude and connection to nature.
Paid opportunity: UT Austin needs bereaved partners and family members for a study on psychedelics and grief.

🏛️ Policy

Decrim… everything? Medford, MA has effectively decriminalized all controlled substances, including psychedelics.
Just in case: A bill that would legalize psilocybin therapy in Massachusetts moved forward in committee. But a similar ballot initiative will be considered first.
50 shades of gray area: What does “decriminalization” actually mean in Colorado?
Nutt case: An ousted gov’t drug czar says denying access to psychedelics is like denying access to vaccines.

📈 Business

Education for all: A nonprofit is demystifying psychedelic science with a free hotline.
Asian persuasion: Cybin secured two DMT patents in Japan, while Clearmind patented its flagship molecule in China.
Patients wanted: Australia’s first psychedelic therapy clinic has opened its doors. 
We’re so back: January 2024 was the second-highest month of fundraising ever for psychedelics.

🫠 Just for fun

Role reversal: Police officers are experimenting with mushrooms and ayahuasca.
Trick or treat: Experts warn that mushroom chocolates are often contaminated.
Life hack: Women are microdosing psilocybin to get an edge at work.
Meme of the week: When you pop a microdose and your IQ increases

THE PEAK EXPERIENCE

Struck by Cupid’s mushroom

I know love and sex aren’t the same thing, but shoot—we couldn’t have asked for a more perfectly timed study this Valentine’s Day.

This week, scientists at Imperial published the first formal investigation into the effects of psychedelics on sex. And the results are turning us on. (Is that weird? Yeah, that was weird, sorry.)

The research team surveyed around 300 people about their sexual exploits before and after psychedelic experiences. Most of the participants had taken psychedelics in the “real world,” but about 60 came from another clinical trial comparing psilocybin to the SSRI escitalopram (aka Lexapro) for major depression.

Contrary to what folks might expect from an antidepressant therapy, people who took psychedelics saw improvement in all areas of sexual function for up to 6 months after the trip. We’re talking:

  • 🍆 Sexual arousal and pleasure during sex

  • 😍 Attraction to their partner

  • 💅 Satisfaction with their own physical appearance

  • 💬 Communication and connection with their partner

They were more likely to see sex as a spiritual act and be open to new sexual experiences, too.

By contrast, people on Lexapro mostly reported decreases in sexual function, which we know is a common complaint with SSRIs and one of the main reasons people discontinue treatment.

Until now, scientists have thought the reason antidepressants decrease libido is that they act on the serotonin receptors, which can affect hormones and neurotransmitters related to arousal. But classical psychedelics also act on those receptors. This study calls that explanation into question.

The authors of this paper have a different idea. They think it’s less about brain chemicals and more about what psychedelics teach us about mindfulness, connection, and our ability to let go of emotions and thought patterns that don’t serve us.

Turns out good sex is about being present for the moment. So stop thinking about Tricycle Day in the bedroom, y’all. 🫠

AFTERGLOW

MDMA on the ‘fast’ track

We have a date, dear Valentines. Nah, not dinner and a movie; this is way more exciting. The FDA has accepted Lykos Therapeutics’ (formerly MAPS PBC’s) new drug application for MDMA-assisted therapy and set itself a target date to approve or reject it. That deadline (or PDUFA date, as it’s known in the biz) is August 11, 2024.

If late summer still sounds like the distant future, keep in mind that we’re actually seeing the speediest possible scenario. The FDA appreciates the desperate need for better PTSD treatments. That’s why they chose to grant Lykos’s application Priority Review—essentially a promise to make a decision within 6 months (vs the standard 10). So yeah, this is the fast timeline. The government just moves slowly.

If the FDA gives MDMA the thumbs up in August, the US will have its first approved psychedelic-assisted therapy. That’s almost as historic a moment as when I got a match on Tinder. Almost.

Third time’s a charm?

Everyone knows with psychedelics, surrender is everything. But here’s a guy who refuses to give up, and man, do we respect the grit. California Sen. Scott Wiener just introduced psychedelic legislation for the third (third!) session in a row. After his last baby, SB-58, made it all the way to the final step only to be vetoed by the governor, he teamed up with Rep. Marie Waldron to pitch a new proposal focused on legalizing psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Gov. Newsom made it clear why he couldn’t sign the broader decrim bill last fall—he wasn’t comfortable without clinical guidelines in place. So that’s what he’s getting with Senate Bill 1012. If the bill passes, adults in CA will be able to use psilocybin, MDMA, DMT, and mescaline (besides peyote) with a licensed facilitator as soon as 2026.

California would be the third state to launch a regulated psychedelics model, but theirs would be the first to tackle mental health head on. (Making medical claims is against the rules in Oregon and Colorado.) Though Wiener still supports decriminalization, he’s accepted that sometimes you have to pick your battles. Guess this is his version of surrender… for now.

CYCLISTS’ PICKS
UNTIL NEXT TIME

That’s all for today, Cyclists! Whenever you’re ready, here’s how we can help you.

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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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