🫠 This Week in Psychedelics

[5-min read] Psilocybin beats antidepressants in cost-effectiveness study.

Welcome to Tricycle Day. We’re the newsletter that’s better than Geico. A five-minute read could save you 15% or more—of your time scanning the internet for psychedelic news, that is.

Here’s what we got this week.

  • Cost-effectiveness of psilocybin therapy 🧮

  • Psychedelics on the MA ballot 🗳️

  • Countdown to FDA approval 🍄

  • Worldwide psychedelic laws tracker 🏛️

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Set & Setting

The top stories in psychedelic research, policy, and business

RESEARCH

Psilocybin therapy could saves lives AND money

A wise man once said money can’t buy happiness. But a costly healthcare system says you still better pay up. 🤌

Fortunately, a new study published this week found that psilocybin therapy could be more cost-effective than traditional antidepressant treatments.

Well, duh. Of course, mushrooms that grow on cow poo are cheap. 💩 But hold up. We’re not talking about unregulated solo trips. This study compared psilocybin-assisted therapy, which can keep two clinical therapists busy for five hours or more per session, to conventional drugs and therapy. And psilocybin still came out on top.

We’re not saying it’s gonna be cheap. Far from it. The researchers estimate the healthcare cost of psilocybin therapy to be £5239 (or $6,734 USD). And that’s on a good day.

But when you look at its impact—not only on patients’ overall health and wellbeing over time (measured in Quality-Adjusted Life Years) but also on societal costs (including lost work and productivity from depression)—the cost-benefit math works out.

It’s pretty sad that certain policymakers need to hear exactly how much economic output they can squeeze out of you before they’ll consider a life-saving treatment, but… Hey! Quit thinking so much and make us some more widgets!

Get Back to Work

Your job isn’t gonna do itself. ⚒️

MICRODOSES

🙊 Y’all don’t know me: In a recent study, regular microdosers reported feeling more authentic and expressing themselves more genuinely.

🎯 Direct hit: New research shows that psychedelics can be modified to target a receptor linked to mood disorders in people who’ve experienced stress and trauma early in life.

💥 Mythbusters: Trippy Edition: Through the first scientific examination of THC-O-acetate, researchers debunked claims that the cannabinoid produces psychedelic effects similar to LSD or psilocybin.

🚀 Prepare for blastoff: A $1.5 million philanthropic gift to the UC San Diego Psychedelic and Health Research Initiative will fund new research into DMT and its psychological effects.

POLICY

Massachusetts ballot may include a vote on psychedelics

Here’s a hard truth about democracy. You can’t “rock the vote” if your choice isn’t even on the ticket.

So this week, a committee of political strategists took the first steps toward getting a psychedelic reform initiative on Massachusetts’ 2024 ballot.

Strange thing is, the group that filed the paperwork, called Massachusetts for Mental Health Options (MMHO), seemingly came out of nowhere. There’s barely any public info about the organization other than its stated goals for the proposed ballot question:

  • Improve access to “natural psychedelic medicine therapy” ✅

  • Remove criminal penalties for personal possession ✅

This is all good news, right? We think hope so, but it may be a bit more—err, political—than that. Some insiders are raising eyebrows that MMHO didn’t consult the grassroots advocacy groups, like Bay Staters for Natural Medicine, who’ve led the successful decriminalization campaigns in six Massachusetts cities so far.

Also, there are fingerprints on MMHO’s paperwork from New Approach, a PAC intimately involved in the passage of the Colorado and Oregon psychedelic ballot initiatives. If history repeats itself, then we should expect more of a regulated-access model vs. a straightforward decriminalization.

In either case, if you want to experience ego death in Massachusetts without skirting the law, you better get out and vote. 🗳️

Vote And Die

We’re gonna need a new graphic tee, Diddy.

MICRODOSES

🌴 California love: While California’s legalization bill undergoes major amendments on its path to approval, Berkeley may quietly become the state’s next city to decriminalize psychedelics.

🫵 Playing the blame game: Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz points the finger at the congressional “gerontocracy” for blocking psychedelic reform. Meanwhile, Democratic Rep. AOC is worried about President Biden standing in the way.

🎂 50 years old: The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) celebrated its 50th anniversary, marking half a century since it launched a drug war that even the agency itself admits has failed.

⚠️ Proceed with caution: The Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists has released a memorandum to clinicians interested in prescribing MDMA or psilocybin. TL;DR: they say more research is needed and not to get swept up in the hype.

BUSINESS

Compass Pathways is planning for 2027 approval

Even if the bears tell ya the psychedelic bubble already burst, the bulls know we’re still early.

Case in point: Compass Pathways, the psychedelic drug development company orchestrating the largest randomized controlled clinical trial program on psilocybin ever conducted, just spilled the beans on their commercialization timeline.

Their prediction? Patients may be able to access psilocybin therapy by early 2027.

Compass is currently running two parallel Phase 3 trials of psilocybin-assisted therapy for treatment-resistant depression. Results for the first are expected summer 2024; the second in 2025.

For context, most experts expect the FDA to approve MDMA for PTSD next year. Compass’s COMP360 psilocybin will likely be the next shoe to drop, considering it’s the only other psychedelic to receive the agency’s breakthrough designation.

Bottom line: there’s still a long road ahead, which might explain why Compass just secured another $50 million in funding.

Long and windy road

Are we there yet? No. Are we there yet? No.

MICRODOSES

💳 Can you pay my bills? The American Medical Association has released the full language for its new CPT III billing code for psychedelic therapy, set to take effect on January 1, 2024.

🍑 Back that asset up: Lucy Scientific Discovery has acquired the assets for Wesana Health’s SANA-013, a novel psilocybin-CBD combination under development for several mental health and neurological conditions.

🔥 Fire sale: After announcing plans to focus exclusively on R&D, Awakn Life Sciences has sold its London healthcare clinics and is working toward a sale of its Norwegian locations.

🍄 Give it away, give it away now: Filament Health will donate its botanical psilocybin product to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for use in two upcoming clinical trials.

🦠 Biosynthesize me: Core One has filed an international patent to protect its novel biosynthetic production system for psilocybin.

Trip Reports

Hot takes from around the web

Cyclists' Picks

Our favorite opportunities for mind expansion

Psyched by Amanda Siebert

Psyched — ICYMI, our latest Psychonaut POV issue featured award-winning journalist, best-selling author, and friend of the newsletter, Amanda Siebert. Her new book seamlessly interweaves clinical research and real-life stories to explore the many unexpected ways people around the world are benefiting from psychedelics and plant medicine.

Higher Ground

Higher Ground — Can psychedelics help settle the hottest debates in politics and pop culture today? In this fast-paced video series, two people with opposing views face off to argue their positions on climate change, cancel culture, veganism, and gender roles. The twist? They’re all tripping on mushrooms. Tune in to find out if these hotheads can find common ground in their expanded states of consciousness.

Psychedelic Laws Tracker

Psychedelic Laws Tracker — Got a trip coming up? (No, not that kind of trip. 🫠) Somewhere between browsing Airbnbs and planning your food tour, you might be curious about the legal status of psychedelics at your destination. (Ok maybe it is that kind of trip. 😏) Well, worry not. Our friends at Psychedelic Alpha maintain a visual map of the world and fifty United States with the most up-to-date psychedelic laws and regulations. Don’t leave home without it.

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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