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- This Week in Psychedelics
This Week in Psychedelics
[5-min read] MAPS PBC announces $100 million Series A and full rebrand.
Welcome to Tricycle Day. We’re the newsletter that loves a great rebrand… you know, like mayo to aioli, or psychedelics to entheogens, or binging Netflix to practicing self-care.
Here’s what we got this week.
Ibogaine reverses brain damage 🧠
MAPS Lykos and Beckley Psytech raise millions 💸
VA is funding psychedelic research 🇺🇸
The snack that makes you smarter 🍪
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Maybe not on the first date: Having a significant other around may lead to more positive psychedelic experiences.
Chew on this: New research suggests psilocybin can help with treatment-resistant eating disorders.
Right-handed Molly: atai says its proprietary form of MDMA produces distinct effects from the usual racemic mix.
Fibromycology: Tryp Therapeutics has dosed the first patient in its Phase 2a trial of psilocybin for fibromyalgia.
Heart-mind connection: Cardiac activity may play a more meaningful role in psychedelic experiences than once thought.
Hit your quotas: The DEA wants to see a lot more psilocybin and DMT produced this year. Oh, and magic mushroom spores are federally legal.
Out of a job: The Kentucky official who wanted to put $42 million toward ibogaine research is being replaced.
Critical Mass: Activists have collected enough signatures to force Massachusetts lawmakers to consider legalizing psychedelics.
Canna-business expense: A California psychedelics ballot initiative, if passed, would cost the state $100 million a year in lost marijuana taxes.
Off to the races: Lawmakers in California, New Hampshire, and Washington State have already filed bills to improve access to psychedelic medicine in 2024.
Now reimburse me: The American Medical Association’s new CPT III billing codes for psychedelic-assisted therapy are now in effect.
Spreading spores: Compass Pathways and Greenbook TMS are partnering to develop scalable delivery models for psilocybin treatment.
Bold strategy: A Canadian shroom seller sent samples to his province’s legislative assembly.
Just for fun
Maybe he needs more? Elon Musk’s board members are concerned about his use of LSD, mushrooms, and ketamine.
Offseason training: NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers is ready for his next plant medicine ceremony.
Behind the Iron Curtain: There’s an untold history of LSD in communist Czechoslovakia.
Meme of the week: My ego congratulating me for taking a heroic dose…
THE PEAK EXPERIENCE
Most people think of ibogaine—if they’ve heard of it at all—as an addiction treatment.
But there’s a lot more to this obscure psychedelic than meets the eye. Now we’ve got the research to prove it.
This week, a study published in Nature looked at the effects of ibogaine treatment on 30 Special Ops veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI). We’re talking about folks who’ve gone through the most grueling training and missions you can imagine.
After repeated blast exposure on the job, their domes have taken some damage. That comes with a drop in cognitive abilities, difficulties with relationships and daily tasks, and serious mental health challenges.
Amazingly, after hopping down to Mexico for a single ibogaine treatment, these vets saw significant improvement across all those areas. Within days, their symptoms improved, and the results lasted for at least a month. On average, they experienced an:
🤕 88% reduction in PTSD symptoms
😞 87% reduction in depression symptoms
😰 81% reduction in anxiety symptoms
Overall, their average disability ratings decreased from 30.2 to 5.1 (i.e., no disability) on WHO’s standard assessment scale. That’s a helluva recovery, especially considering all the other treatments that have failed these men and women.
Also worth mentioning—there wasn’t a single cardiac side effect. Ibogaine is known to carry some heart risks, but the research team avoided them by co-administering magnesium.
There’s still a lot we don’t know about how ibogaine works, but one thing that nearly everyone reports is a dreamlike “life review,” where they watch a replay of their most salient memories.
I may not have any war memories to revisit, but when my life flashes before my eyes, I hope I get a nice slideshow of all the memes I’ve made in my precious time on Earth.
Market caps and stems
If you thought all the capital had dried up for psychedelic biotechs, guess again. This week, we saw two back-to-back 8 and 9-figure raises for some of the most high-profile companies in psychedelic medicine.
First, atai Life Sciences dumped $50 million into Beckley Psytech to fund its short-acting psychedelics pipeline. (Beckley’s two big bets are intranasal 5-MeO-DMT for treatment-resistant depression and IV psilocin for major depressive disorder.) atai, despite having a few investigational drugs of its own, seems to be leaning harder into its VC side.
The very next day, MAPS Public Benefit Corp dropped a PR twofer. Not only had MAPS’ for-profit subsidiary raised $100 million from “mission-aligned” investors to support the commercialization of MDMA-assisted therapy. They’d also rebranded to Lykos Therapeutics, inspired by the Greek for “wolf.” Watch out, Jordan Belfort. Rick D. might be the new Wolf of Psychedelic Street.
Ten-hut! VA steps up
Ask and you shall receive, veterans. (You might have to ask a few hundred times, but we digress.) The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has finally opened its ears to the many vets, politicians, and organizations practically begging them to take psychedelics seriously.
As of this week, the VA is requesting proposals from its network of researchers and universities to study psychedelics for PTSD and depression. Given all the psychedelic research we cover every week, this news may not seem like that big of a deal. But it’s actually the first time since the 1960s that the VA has funded psychedelic research directly.
ICYMI, last month President Biden signed a bill requiring the Department of Defense to allow active-duty military to participate in psychedelic clinical trials, too. We’re not saying enlisting just to get into a psychedelic study would be a good idea, per se. But it wouldn’t be the strangest thing anyone’s ever done to get some shrooms.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
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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.