🫠 This Week in Psychedelics

[6-min read] Ohio State receives historic mushroom license.

Welcome to Tricycle Day. The DEA says you need a license to grow fungi. 👎 But if you just read our newsletter every week, you’ll be a certified fun guy. 👍

Here’s what we got today.

  • Rapid learning on LSD 🧠

  • The first DEA license to grow shrooms 🍄

  • Aussie psychedelics market = $2B 🤑

  • Train to tripsit with a MAPS therapist 💆

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Set & Setting

The top stories in psychedelic research, policy, and business

RESEARCH

LSD accelerates learning

So you’ve had Duolingo on your phone for five years, and you’re still not fluent in Spanish? Hmm, sounds like someone forgot to drop acid. Rookie mistake.

According to recent research, taking LSD makes people learn faster when receiving feedback and enhances exploratory behavior. 🧠

The scientists behind the study put a group of healthy volunteers through a series of gamified tasks. Then they looked at how the taskers made choices and adapted their behavior based on real-time feedback.

Each participant went through this so-called probabilistic reversal learning (PRL) process twice — once on 75 μg of LSD administered intravenously, and once on placebo. And here’s what happened.

  • They learned faster on LSD. Participants updated their expectations based on feedback more quickly when they’d taken LSD. 🏃💨

  • They explored more on LSD. Participants were more likely to try new options when making decisions after taking LSD. 💡

  • They responded better to rewards. While LSD increased the impact of both positive and negative feedback, the carrot was more effective than the stick at driving behavior change. 🥕

It’s worth mentioning that these scientists aren’t trying to engineer superhuman learning machines. The purpose of the research was to see if LSD might help people suffering from mental health conditions break out of negative thought patterns and replace them with healthier associations.

That said, a big brain cheat code is pretty tempting… Brb, just ate a tab. Gonna go memorize Wikipedia real quick.

Big Brain Chess

Checkmate. ♟️

MICRODOSES

💩 We’re gonna need a stool sample: Non-profits Onaya Science, the Ayahuasca Foundation, and Heroic Hearts are teaming up to study the effects of ayahuasca ceremonies on military veterans’ mental health, brainwaves, genomes, and gut microbiomes.

🧘 Higher self: People who use psychedelics with entheogenic intentions tend to report greater satisfaction with life, psychological well-being, and spiritual growth than people who trip for other reasons, according to new research.

🫣 Peekaboo: Researchers systematically reviewed over 80 psychedelic trials to see how effectively participants had been “blinded” to limit their biases. The authors found that only 14 of those studies even assessed how well the blinding worked. And for the most part, it didn’t.

🧪 Diminishing returns: A meta-analysis published in Nature looked at the relationships between dosage and subjective experiences on LSD. The authors found that most effects plateaued around 100μg, except for a few negatives like anxiety and “dread of ego dissolution” which continued to rise with higher doses.

🤨 Who told you that? A recent study that examined where people collect info about psychedelics found that government agencies and pharmaceutical companies were the least trusted sources. The most popular? Tricycle Day (dang!) Self-experimentation.

POLICY

Ohio State got the DEA’s first license to grow magic mushrooms

As the war on drugs wages on, every battle counts.

This week, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) gave out its first license ever to cultivate psilocybin mushrooms. The lucky recipients were Ohio State University and Inner State Inc., the school’s private R&D partner.

Buckeye

📣 We got mushrooms; yes we do. We got mushrooms; how ‘bout you? 📣 

Not so fast, kids. Ohio State isn’t growing shrooms just to pull more applicants looking to trip on the school’s dime (though they do have undergrad Psychedelic Studies courses at OSU). The license is specifically for research. Now, here’s why it’s a big deal.

  • Psilocybin is still a Schedule 1 controlled substance. According to the DEA, psilocybin (officially) has “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” This license reflects a small step toward re-evaluating that position. 🧐

  • Whole mushrooms vs psilocybin: Most of the research on psilocybin so far has used forms of the drug synthesized in a lab. The new license allows Ohio State and Inner State to grow whole mushrooms that produce the compound naturally. 🧑‍🌾

  • More studies! In January, OSU launched its first clinical trial of psilocybin as a treatment for veterans with PTSD. With this license, university researchers can explore the therapeutic potential of whole mushrooms containing psilocybin and other compounds, which may offer additional “entourage effects.” 🔬

If you’re skeptical of the DEA, we get it. It’s a little sus… but hey, everyone can change, right?

Skeptical third-world boyy

This better not be a trap. 🤞

MICRODOSES

Connecticut approved legislation in the House that would decriminalize the possession of small amounts of psilocybin mushrooms. The bill now heads to the Senate.

🌵 Arizona has appropriated $5 million toward medical research on whole-mushroom psilocybin. That sum represents less than half a percent of the state’s $18 billion budget for 2024.

Washington’s governor signed the Psilocybin Services Act into law. The bill was originally intended to establish a service model similar to Oregon’s, but the amended version sets up a psilocybin task force and a pilot program at the University of Washington.

🧙 Massachusetts just added Salem to its growing list of cities that has ended arrests for psilocybin mushrooms.

BUSINESS

Australia’s psychedelics market may be worth $2 billion

While the US and Canada creep toward legalization of psychedelics, the Aussies are already off to the races.

This week, a fast-talkin’ business leader down under sized the market opportunity at $2 billion.

Reminder: earlier this year, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) made the decision to down-schedule MDMA and psilocybin from Schedule 9 ‘prohibited substances’ to Schedule 8 ‘controlled medicines.’ They set a date for showtime, and that date is fast approaching. ⌛

Beginning July 1, qualified psychiatrists will be able to prescribe psilocybin (for treatment-resistant depression) and MDMA (for PTSD) in controlled medical settings. That makes Australia the first country in the world to legalize psychedelic medicine.

Now back to that $2 billion prediction. Peter Widdows concedes there’s no hard data yet to support his bet, but at least he explains how he got there.

  • Take the number of Aussies suffering from certain mental health conditions

  • Estimate the percentage who will seek treatment with psychedelics

  • Multiply by expected pricing

As a director at Incannex, a psychedelic therapy clinic business who just entered its first lease and has plans for international expansion, he’s motivated to capture as much of that market as possible.

Look. We don’t know how realistic the double billy prediction is, but we feel pretty confident about these figures.

Reasons people subscribe to Tricycle Dayy

We’re still dropping fire dharma every week tho.

MICRODOSES

🐸 One down, 5-MeO to go: Beckley Psytech announced that the first patient has been dosed in its Phase 2a study of BPL-003 (their synthetic, intranasal 5-MeO-DMT compound) for treatment-resistant depression.

👽 Easy as A-B-C: Cybin announced that the last patient has been dosed in Part B of its three-part Phase 1 trial of CYB004-E (intravenous DMT) in healthy volunteers. Next they move on to Part C.

🍸 Liquor before beer, in the… Clearmind Medicine has received ethics committee approval to conduct Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of CMND-100, an oral psychedelic treatment for alcohol use disorder.

📊 Forward-looking statements: atai Life Sciences and Compass Pathways each reported their Q1 2023 financial results and highlights.

Trip Reports

Hot takes from around the web

Cyclists' Picks

Our favorite opportunities for mind expansion

Psy Science

Psy Science from Psoirée — This brand new 7-part course on consciousness exploration and tripsitting comes from a licensed family doctor trained by MAPS in psychedelic-assisted therapy. You’ll learn the science behind how different psychedelic compounds work and tactics for guiding others through healing sessions.

Psoirée is offering the Cyclists a massive discount on tuition leading up to their official launch. Take 44% off with code TRICYCLE44. (Discount is valid on Psy Science or their two-course bundle.)

Aspen Psychedelic Symposium

Aspen Psychedelic Symposium — What do folks do in Aspen after the snow is all dried up? Attend psychedelic events, obviously. If you’ll be in the area on June 2, stop by the Wheeler Opera House for a little après ski education.

Talks will cover the tradition, science, and advocacy behind integrating these life-saving medicines into modern culture and include a keynote address from Dennis McKenna.

Huberman Lab

How Psilocybin Can Rewire Our Brain — The latest episode of the Huberman Lab podcast is a deep dive on all things psilocybin. If you don’t know him yet, Dr. Andrew Huberman is a tenured neuroscience professor at Stanford who’s developed an online following in the millions over the past 2 years.

As an expert in neuroplasticity, Huberman is well equipped to explain how psilocybin works at the cellular level, what the research says about risks and benefits, and questions yet to be answered. It definitely falls on the clinical side, but we promise you’ll feel smarter after listening to this pod.

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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