🫠 This Week in Psychedelics

[5-min read] Johns Hopkins experts discuss the state of psychedelic research.

Welcome to Tricycle Day. Psychedelic experiences are indescribably complex. But psychedelic news doesn’t have to be. That’s where we come in. 🫡

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Here’s what we got this week.

  • State of the psychedelic union 🗽

  • Aussies demand looser restrictions 🇦🇺

  • PDX’s next big psilocybin center 🍄

  • Transform your practice in 2024 💆

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MICRODOSES
🔬 Research

Chill out: A single dose of ketamine produces rapid and lasting relief from anxiety, suggests a recent meta-analysis.
Weight watchers: Clearmind and SciSpark’s psychedelic treatment for obesity and metabolic disorders fared well in preclinical trials.
The female perspective: Hystelica and King’s College London are surveying women about their psychedelic experiences.
Equal opportunity: Meanwhile, Clerkenwell Health is recruiting volunteers for all kinds of psychedelic studies.

🏛️ Policy

Pencils down: The deadline has passed to weigh in on a California psychedelics ballot initiative. Organizers will submit their final proposal by Dec 1.
Good cop, bad cop: Colorado is figuring out how to train law enforcement to distinguish bad trips from medical emergencies.
Trial by fire: Indiana lawmakers are recommending a state psilocybin-assisted therapy pilot program.
Can’t stop, won’t stop: Washington activists are currently running decrim campaigns in six different cities.

📈 Business

Bold move: The New Yorker ran a full-page ad for a gray-market microdose brand.
Carpool lane: A nonprofit is shuttling vets from San Diego to Mexico every week for psychedelic healing.
Secure the bag: Filament Health signed a term sheet for $14 million in funding.
Capital injection infusion: Tryp Therapeutics closed an oversubscribed $3 million funding round.
Ketamine, ketayours: MIRA Pharmaceuticals is developing a “take-home alternative” to Spravato.

🫠 Just for fun

Can’t we all just get along? Here’s what happens when Israelis and Palestinians trip together.
We are nature: Can psychedelics save the world?
Meme of the week: The psilocybin in my brain when I forget my blessings

THE PEAK EXPERIENCE
The future is now, old man

The promise of psychedelic medicine

With 2023 quickly coming to a close (um, what/how?), now seems as good a time as ever to reflect. So let’s take stock of this so-called psychedelic renaissance we find ourselves in.

If anyone can tell us how it is, it’s the pioneers at Johns Hopkins. After all, you could argue that their early 2000’s research on psilocybin, spearheaded by the late Roland Griffiths, put psychedelics back on the map for the scientific community and pop culture at large.

Last week, three experts from Johns Hopkins’ Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research hosted a panel as part of its Congressional Briefing Series. In it, they shared six main takeaways about the state of psychedelic research and its promise for the future.

  • 🤯 This is a paradigm shift for mental healthcare: When psychedelics work, they work fast. Unlike most psychiatric meds, they usually only have to be taken once or twice to get lasting results.

  • 💰 It’s going to save a lot of money. Those shorter treatment cycles will reduce medication use, inpatient care needs, and reliance on long-term disability benefits. That could save the healthcare system billions of dollars.

  • 🌿 This isn’t weed 2.0. Unlike cannabis, psychedelic therapy is focused on specific medical treatments in controlled settings, rather than widespread commercialization. (At least for now.)

  • 🫣 They’re not addictive. Psychedelics definitely carry risks, but physical or psychological dependency doesn’t seem to be one of them.

  • 🏛️ We have legislative support. There’s bipartisan legislation in the works that would dramatically ease restrictions on further research.

  • 🤡 But don’t fall for the hype. It’s natural to feel excited about the progress so far, but we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. We study things because we don’t fully understand them.

Of course, this roundup doesn’t tell the whole story. As psychedelic science has dutifully advanced the medicalized path, there’ve been plenty of leaps forward in decriminalization and legalization, too.

This year alone, we saw Oregon open its first above-board psilocybin service centers and several cities throughout the US vote to decriminalize plant medicine. And let’s not forget that in June, Denver hosted the largest psychedelic gathering in history.

What were your psychedelic highlights from 2023? Reply and let us know. 🫠

AFTERGLOW
Screams internally

Loosen up, would ya?

Remember way back (to the first half of 2023) when psychedelic therapy hadn’t been legalized in a single country yet? Quick refresher: In February of this year, Australia’s health agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration or TGA, shocked everyone by approving MDMA and psilocybin as treatments for certain mental health conditions. That law went into effect on July 1, only to be questioned pretty much nonstop ever since.

This week, the Australian Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Practitioners (AMAPP) joined the crowd of critics. Only this time, they’re not saying regulators jumped the gun; they actually want looser restrictions. As it stands under the “Authorised Prescriber Scheme,” psychiatrists have to be physically present at every psychedelic therapy session and personally administer the medication to patients.

AMAPP thinks those requirements are “impractical and cumbersome” and could lead to poorer patient outcomes. So they’re calling for more progressive guidelines that give psychiatrists and therapists the flexibility to share roles and responsibilities. And if nothing changes? Well, patients may be driven to the big bad underground. (Hmm, something tells us it’s the five-figure price tag that’s driving folks away, not a preference for one healthcare professional over another.)

Mushroom moguls

There’s a new psilocybin center in town, and the power couple behind it has big plans. InnerTrek Services won’t be the first clinic in Oregon—or Portland, for that matter—where adults 21+ can go for a guided mushroom trip with a licensed facilitator. (Epic Healing Eugene, which opened this summer, holds that honor.) But it may soon be the largest.

First off, its founders are deep in the psilocybin game. Tom Eckert was one of the architects of Ballot Measure 109, which created Oregon Psilocybin Services under the state health authority in 2020. Rachel Aidan, his wife, previously served as CEO of the Synthesis Institute, a leading psilocybin facilitation training provider, before it famously collapsed and restructured under new ownership.

Bona fides aside (btw that only rhymes if you’re uncultured), there’s another reason why InnerTrek could swallow the market for magic mushroom sessions. It’s already got 1,000 people on its waitlist. With a steady stream of applications pouring in, Aidan predicts they’ll serve 20 clients per week once doors officially open in January.

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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