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- This Week in Psychedelics
This Week in Psychedelics
[5-min read] Psychedelic therapy may be less influenced by expectancy than once thought.
Welcome to Tricycle Day. We’re the newsletter that lives by a simple equation: happiness = reality - expectations. So keep your standards low, we’ll keep the quality high, and everyone should come out grinning. 🤝
Here’s what we got this week.
The EU’s big bet on psychedelics 🇪🇺
Psilocybin expectations ≠ reality 🙈
Performance-enhancing drugs 🍄
This psychedelic summit is stacked 🎤
FROM OUR SPONSORS
When you’re working with a medicine as powerful as Ayahuasca, it’s not wise to take chances.
So if a few hours of preparation could help you enter the ceremony with confidence and at peace, that would be time well spent, right?
You’ll learn how to set meaningful intentions, follow a supportive dieta, and apply techniques to release tension during the ceremony itself.
Why wouldn’t you? A new survey shows 79% of Canadians support the medical use of psilocybin in end-of-life care.
Strength Access in numbers: Australian National University is exploring group therapy with MDMA and psilocybin to drive costs down.
Seeing is believing: In a new study, antidepressants made psychedelic trips less intense. But the visuals and therapeutic effects were just as strong.
Be safe out there: Psychedelic-related hospital visits are up 50%+ in recent years.
Volunteers wanted: Imperial is looking for romantic partners who plan to trip together, and the Center for MINDS wants to know how psychedelics have enhanced your creativity or problem-solving ability.
In the nick of time: Arizona lawmakers voted to extend the state’s deadline to use $5 million tagged for psilocybin research.
Keep the main thing the Maine thing: Legislators in Maine are considering legalizing psilocybin.
The mature approach: A new Maryland bill would create a Task Force on Responsible Use of Natural Psychedelic Substances.
We’ve got options: A bill from Massachusetts’ governor would create a working group to explore psychedelic therapies for veterans. Meanwhile, a more sweeping ballot initiative has the support of Boston’s tech elite.
Non-monetary comp: TARA Mind raised $8 million to expand access to ketamine therapy as a covered benefit for employees.
Unpack the basket: Horizons ETFs is shutting down its psychedelic stock index fund.
Neuro-regeneration: Psilera has picked a form of early-onset dementia as its lead indication for its non-hallucinogenic psychedelic drug candidate.
I’ve got a golden ticket: Bon appétit looks inside the luxurious world of magic mushroom chocolate.
Just for fun
The other Musk: Elon’s brother Kimbal says he felt the voice of God on ayahuasca.
Trippy mommy: A senior editor at Scary Mommy opens up about processing her divorce with mushrooms.
The ban hammer: Social media has its place, but here’s one reason we send emails.
Behind the scenes: Tricycle Day founder shares how it started and how it’s going.
Meme of the week: When you’re too weird for other humans…
THE PEAK EXPERIENCE
Europeans with chronic disease catch a break
Hate to say it, Americans. But if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired, Europe might be the place to be.
This week, the EU committed €6.5 million to studying psychedelic therapy in people with intractable diseases. Not to cure those conditions, per se, but to relieve the existential distress that comes with ‘em.
This is a big deal for a couple reasons. It’s the first time the EU has ever fully funded a psychedelic study, full stop. But it’s also the first clinical trial anywhere to explore psilocybin for palliative care outside of cancer.
They’re calling the project PsyPal. That might sound like an online payment portal for mushrooms, but it’s actually an ambitious collaboration between 19 orgs from 9 countries, eager to lay the groundwork for psychedelic treatments in Europe. The research will focus on four progressive diseases, each studied in one country.
🇳🇱 Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) in the Netherlands
🇵🇹 Atypical Parkinson’s disease (AP) in Portugal
🇨🇿 Multiple sclerosis (MS) in the Czech Republic
🇩🇰 Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in Denmark
We know up to 80% of people with these conditions deal with depression and anxiety. So there’s no question new solutions are needed.
But beyond the usual questions around efficacy and safety, PsyPal is also designed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of psilocybin therapy—not just to the patient, but to the healthcare system and society as a whole.
If covering costs is such a concern, EU, it’s not too late to run with our PayPal-for-psychedelics idea. Just add us to your cap table, would ya?
Expect the unexpected
When you assume, you make an ass out of you and me. But what happens when you expect? Well, according to a new study, it depends. Researchers recently took a closer look at Compass Pathways’ 2021 psilocybin-vs-SSRI trial to see what effect, if any, “expectancy” had on outcomes. To their surprise, they found no link between patients’ expectations and their clinical improvement on psilocybin.
These findings fly in the face of most people’s… err, expectations. You see, there’s a common belief that when you receive a treatment and believe it’ll work, its chances of working increase. (Makes sense—mind over matter and all.) While that does turn out to be the case for the antidepressant escitalopram (aka Lexapro), the opposite seems to be true for psilocybin. In other words, greater expectations for psilocybin were associated with worse outcomes in this study.
The takeaway? We’re all for a nice intention-setting practice before you trip. Do your thing. But if you want to follow the science, it may be best to release all expectations and surrender to the journey.
Body and mind games
Remember when Diplo ran a marathon on LSD? Maybe that guy was just ahead of his time. Hear us out: there’s a new startup that’s trying to unseat the Olympics as the world’s foremost athletic competition, and their whole schtick is—you guessed it—drugs. The founders are calling it The Enhanced Games, and as of yesterday, that esteemed crew includes Christian Angermayer, the billionaire behind psychedelic biotech/VC firm atai Life Sciences.
Now, their drug policy won’t discriminate—there’s no psychedelic exceptionalism here. Not only is the use of all types of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) permitted; it’s actively encouraged. Angermayer wrote a multi-million-dollar check and signed on as cofounder because he felt an immediate alignment with the brand’s ethos, which “stimulates scientific breakthroughs and nurtures human advancement.”
We’re not gunning for any world records over here, but if there’s a competition over who can eat some mushrooms and enjoy the most magnificent hike in the woods, sign us up.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
That’s all for today, Cyclists! Whenever you’re ready, here’s how we can help you.
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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.