The Psychedelic News Feed

Sunday April 14th, 2024

Welcome back to the Psychedelic News Feed, where we round-up the latest coverage of psychedelics. We manually select news clippings, research publications and commentary for inclusion: no aggregators or AI bots here. (Read this short article explaining the rationale behind the Feed.)

This Feed is for the week commencing Monday the 8th of April, 2024. Receive a weekly digest to your inbox by joining our newsletter.

This Week’s Feed, Sponsored by…

May 23-24, Boston

The 4th Annual Psychedelic Therapeutics & Drug Development Conference offers a unique opportunity to delve into the rapidly evolving field of psychedelic science and its potential in healthcare. Plenary talks and panel sessions will see a wide range of topics covered including drug scheduling, the future of psychedelic science, clinical trial design, research protocols, pain and psychedelics and precision medicine in mental health care.

April 27-28, San Francisco

Chacruna’s two-day Psychedelic Culture conference fosters conversations around topics including Indigenous Reciprocity & Decolonial Dialogues, Psychedelic Justice, Protection of Sacred Plants & Cultural Traditions, and voices from the Global South. Hosted at the Brava Theater in San Francisco,  the event also includes music and meditation circles as well as rapé ceremonies.

Developing Esketamine (Spravato) and Lessons for Psychedelic Drug Developers with Jaskaran Singh (Apr 12) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

Josh sits down with Jaskaran (‘Jaz’) Singh, Vice President Psychiatry Development at Neurocrine Biosciences. For the purposes of this conversation, however, we focus on Singh’s role in spearheading the development of esketamine for treatment-resistant depression, now marketed as Spravato.

Here, we discuss how Singh’s early work assessing ketamine’s antidepressant effects at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) encouraged him to move into industry; how his team decided to pursue esketamine; lessons learned that might be relevant for psychedelic drug developers; and his broader outlook on the field.

As California Seeks to Legalize Psychedelics for Therapy, Oregon Provides Key Lessons (Apr 12) ↗ KQED

EU launches landmark €6.5M study on use of psychedelics to treat mental disorders (Apr 11) ↗ Science Business

Psychiatry drugs finally have pharma’s attention. Can they keep it? (Apr 8) ↗ Biopharma Dive

“Arguably the buzziest area of research are psychedelic compounds. Long dismissed because of thorny legal and scientific issues, psychedelics are being taken more seriously as possible treatments for anxiety, depression and psychosis.”

Seaport Therapeutics Launches with $100 Million Oversubscribed Series A Financing Round to Advance Novel Neuropsychiatric Medicines (Apr 9) ↗ Press Release

The company’s pipeline includes SPT-348, “a prodrug of a non-hallucinogenic neuroplastogen in development for the treatment of mood and other neuropsychiatric disorders, [which] leverages Glyph to create a potential first-in-class treatment with improved pharmacokinetics and tolerability compared to conventional psychedelics.”

Psychedelics Paid for by Work? It’s Coming (Apr 11) ↗ WSJ

Psychedelic drug retreat reports 183% spike in bookings as health experts cite ‘huge downside’ (Apr 13) ↗ FOX News

Can Microdosing Psychedelics Help Golfers Raise Their Game? (Apr 11) ↗ Men’s Health

Almost No One Is Happy With Legal Weed (Apr 8) ↗ The Atlantic

Jane C. Hu asks: Will legal psychedelics be any better?

Hu also appeared on Slate’s ‘TBD’ podcast on Sunday in an episode titled, Is America Ready for Legal Psychedelics?

Are Mushrooms the New Prozac? (Apr 8) ↗ Brown Alumni Magazine

What a Terror Attack in Israel Might Reveal About Psychedelics and Trauma (Apr 11) ↗ NYT

No magic at city council for Vancouver mushroom dispensaries as retail framework rejected (Apr 10) ↗ Global News

This Real Estate Mogul Is Funding Psychedelics Research to Support the LGBT+ Community (Apr 9) ↗ Inside Philanthropy

Natural Medicine Advisory Bulletin 10.1: Legislative Update (Apr 9) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha X Vicente LLP

The big business bet on psychedelic drugs (Audio, 20 mins) (Apr 7) ↗ The Globe and Mail

April 1 - 7, 2024

This Week’s Feed, Sponsored by

Clerkenwell Health is building the infrastructure for developing and delivering mental health and CNS treatments through their network of hybrid research and care clinics, CRO services and therapist training programme. Based in Central London, Clerkenwell Health offers the only purpose-built commercial clinical research site in Europe dedicated to psychedelic-assisted therapies.

ANALYSIS
MindMed’s ‘Total Elimination’ of Psychotherapy in LSD Study Stokes Debate Around Its Role in Psychedelic Therapies
(Apr 5) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

In March, MindMed scored an FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation for its LSD-D-tartrate candidate (MM120) for generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). In this piece, Josh takes a closer look at the company’s claim to have ‘eliminated’ psychotherapy from its Phase 2b study of MM120 and explores how a broader ‘Spravato-isation’ of psychedelic therapies is stoking debate around the contribution of psychotherapy (or lack thereof) in these interventions.

Magic mushrooms should be available on NHS, says Labour MP (Apr 5) ↗ The Telegraph

 “Charlotte Nichols, who has PTSD, says there is enough evidence to prescribe psilocybin therapy as mental health treatment”

Natural Medicine Advisory Bulletin 10: March 2024 (Apr 4) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha X Vicente LLP

Vicente LLP reviews the March 15th Colorado Natural Medicine Advisory Board meeting, where draft rules for Facilitator licensing and training were discussed.

INTERVIEW
Senator Kirk Cullimore on Utah’s MDMA and Psilocybin Pilot Program
(Apr 3) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

SPECIAL EDITION
April 1st Edition of the Psychedelic News Feed
(Apr 1) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

Owing to some bizarre headlines from across the psychedelics space, we have compiled a special edition of our Psychedelic News Feed.

I tried psychedelic drugs to treat my depression. Here’s what happened (Apr 7) ↗ The Times

LSD, Ecstasy, magic mushrooms coming to a clinic near you? Legalization nears for psychedelics (Apr 5) ↗ The Globe and Mail

Why Psychedelic Therapy Needs Specially Trained Therapists (Apr 2) ↗ Psychology Today

FEATURED PSYCHEDELIC JOBS

Explore more roles and join our Talent Network: ↗ Psychedelic Alpha Job Board

She had a severe brain injury—so her husband turned to an unprecedented therapy (Apr 2) ↗ National Geographic

Hot air balloon pilot had high level of ketamine in his system during crash that killed 4, toxicology report finds (Apr 4) ↗ CNN

FREE EVENT
April 12: The Therapeutic Use of Psychedelic Drugs: Legal, Policy and Neuroscientific Perspectives Symposium
 ↗ American University

Read more about the symposium, at which our Editor-at-Large Graham Pechenik will be speaking, via this American University article. Free registration is available.

March 25 - 31, 2024

Pα+ PSYCHEDELIC BULLETIN
Pα+ Psychedelic Bulletin #160: Mutual Recognition for MDMA-AT in the UK? Beckley Shares Cut of 5-MeO-DMT Data; and more
(Mar 29) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

Pα+ NEWS / ANALYSIS
ICER Draft Evidence Report on Lykos’ MDMA-Assisted Psychotherapy Deems Clinical Evidence “Insufficient”
(Mar 27) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

We review ICER’s draft evidence report on Lykos Therapeutics’ MDMA-AP, which finds that the publicly-available clinical evidence on the intervention is “insufficient” to inform a comparative clinical effectiveness analysis. The report also highlights clinical and ethical concerns surrounding the studies.

HPPD, the drug-induced disorder which can be brought on by psychedelic substances (Mar 29) ↗ ABC News

Compass Pathways Board Chair and Co-Founder George Goldsmith and Co-Founder Ekaterina Malievskaia Step Down from Board of Directors (Mar 28) ↗ Press Release

Special Issue on Psychedelic Therapy: A Primer for Primary Care Clinicians (Mar/Apr) ↗ American Journal of Therapeutics

atai Life Sciences Announces Positive Initial Results from Beckley Psytech’s Phase 2a Open Label Study of BPL-003 (Intranasal 5-MeO-DMT) in Treatment Resistant Depression (Mar 27) ↗ Press Release

According to the press release, a single dose of BPL-003 “demonstrated a rapid and durable antidepressant effect in TRD patients, with 45% of patients in clinical remission at week 12”.

It’s worth noting that the initial topline results represent 12 participants.

Beckley Psytech also published its own press release.

Promise, apprehension during State House hearing on psychedelics (Mar 27) ↗ Boston Globe

LSD, Ecstasy Lure Traders Betting on ‘Psychedelic Renaissance’ (Mar 28) ↗ Bloomberg

Can psychedelics with shorter yet intense experiences cure people with alcohol dependence? (Mar 27) ↗ Outsourcing Pharma

Psychedelics Design Conference (April 11, Virtual) ↗ Psychedelics Design

Tickets are priced at £20 / $25. Get 15% off, using code PsychedelicAlphaPD15 here.

No hallucination: Hundreds back magic mushrooms at Oakland psychedelic wellness conference (Mar 30) ↗ SF Chronicle

Jonathan Haidt on Religion, Psychedelics and the Anxious Generation (Mar 27) ↗ Theos

For a Firefighter Struggling With Trauma, Ketamine Therapy Offers Hope (Mar 26) ↗ NYT

For Brilliant Color: Packaging the First LSD Blotter (Mar 25) ↗ MIT Press

Many users of Oregon’s legal psilocybin program aren’t Oregonians at all (Mar 26) ↗ Oregon Live

Why are so many young people taking hallucinogens? (Mar 27) ↗ Dazed

Six Months After Opening, a Northeast Portland Shroom Center Becomes the First to Close (Mar 27) ↗ Willamette Week

Naropa University Launches Pioneering Psychedelic Minor (Mar 29) ↗ Press Release

March 18 - 24, 2024

This week’s feed is sponsored by

April 18-19, San Francisco

Discovery Sessions brings together thought leaders at the forefront of psychedelics across culture, policy, science, and conscious entrepreneurship to engage in a spirited, inclusive dialogue to envision a brighter future.

PSYCHEDELIC BULLETIN
Pα+ Psychedelic Bulletin #159: Patient Access to MDMA-Assisted Therapy; Notes from SXSW; Whole Mushroom vs. Synthetic Psilocybin
(Mar 21) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

Usona Institute Announces Launch of uAspire Phase 3 Clinical Trial Investigating Psilocybin for Major Depressive Disorder (Mar 20) ↗ Press Release

Visit ClinicalTrials.gov for more information on the protocol (NCT06308653).

Fluence’s Elizabeth Nielson on Professional Education for the Psychedelics Field (Mar 19) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

A Psychedelics Reporter With a Changing Perspective (Mar 20) ↗ NYT

Magic and Medicinal: On the Pharmacological Potential of Mushrooms (Mar 20) ↗ Literary Hub

An excerpt from Molds, Mushrooms, and Medicines: Our Lifelong Relationship with Fungi by Nicholas P. Money.

Notes from the International Society for Research on Psychedelics’ 2024 Conference in New Orleans (Guest Contribution) (Mar 20) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

Treat addiction with psychedelics? (Mar 22) ↗ The Harvard Gazette

Cops Demand the Right for Cops to Do Psychedelic Drugs (Mar 23) ↗ Daily Beast

VA Portland Health Care opens first-of-its-kind psychedelic medicine research center (Mar 19) ↗ Portland Business Journal

What psychedelics legalisation and decriminalisation looks like around the world (Mar 21) ↗ BBC

Through the Psychedelic Looking Glass (Mar 18) ↗ New Lines

Webinar: Breaking Down the First Draft Rules for Psychedelics in Colorado (Mar 19) ↗ reMind via LinkedIn

The psychedelic AI found (Mar 18) ↗ POLITICO

POLITICO covers Mindstate Design Labs’ IND submission for a Phase I study of 5-MeO-MiPT. 

Ibogaine, the psychedelic, unlikely to receive approval as opioid treatment, says top addiction researcher (Mar 21) ↗ STAT

“The remarks from Nora Volkow, the longtime director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, serve as a cautionary note amid widespread enthusiasm about ibogaine, a naturally occurring substance that drug companies and researchers have increasingly cast as a potential paradigm-shifting addiction treatment.”

The rise of the work drug (Mar 24) ↗ Business Insider

The Psychedelic Evangelist (Mar 21) ↗ NYT

“Get on Your Knees”—Alberta Cops Raid Home Over Ayahuasca Delivery (Mar 20) ↗ Filter

What a long, strange trip it’s been for this psychedelic library book returned 13,437 days late (Mar 19) ↗ Denver Post

March 11 - 17, 2024

NEWS / ANALYSIS
Gilgamesh Scoops $14m from NIDA to Develop Safer Ibogaine Analog for Opioid Use Disorder (Mar 14) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

NEWS / ANALYSIS
Cybin Scores Breakthrough Therapy Designation for Deuterated Psilocybin Analog in MDD, Shares 4-Month Data (Mar 13) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

How Psychedelic Drugs Are Going Mainstream (Mar 17) ↗ Mother Jones

Kentucky should reconsider using psychedelics to treat opioid addiction, attorney general says (Mar 13) ↗ Associated Press

Ayahuasca-Using Church’s Tax Status Claim Faces Skeptical Court (Mar 11) ↗ Bloomberg

Sorry, You Probably Cannot Get MDMA Through Telehealth (Mar 12) ↗ Bill of Health

Cybin Initiates Phase 2 Proof-of-Concept Study of CYB004 in Generalized Anxiety Disorder (Mar 15) ↗ Press Release

VA-funded psychedelic therapy trials for PTSD could save lives, veteran organization says (Mar 14) ↗ FOX13

Psychedelics are about to become a casualty of Oregon’s opioid crisis (Mar 16) ↗ Vox

What Does 2024 Have in Store for Psychedelic Science? (Mar 14) ↗ Technology Networks

EXPLORE THE MAP
U.S. Psychedelic Legalization & Decriminalization Tracker (Updated March 14th) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

We have been tracking psychedelic policy reform across the United States for a number of years now. Visit the updated map today to see the latest in your state.

A Small University Goes Big on Psychedelic Therapy Training (Mar 12) ↗ Inside Higher Ed

Ketamine’s unlikely conversion from rave drug to mental health therapy (Mar 11) ↗ New Scientist

New Scientist also produced a video on the topic (15 mins).

Denver first responders to get psychedelic crisis training (Mar 13) ↗ The Denver Post

A Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy Learning Framework – Open Source Learning Objectives for Practitioners ↗ Beckley Academy

Psychedelic drug ibogaine hailed as healing. U.S. patients ask why it’s illegal. (Mar 14) ↗ Washington Post

Could a psychedelic help solve Ohio’s opioid crisis? Ohio Treasurer just hired one of its biggest backers (Mar 11) ↗ Cleveland.com

Experts want Ecstasy and shrooms legalized. Government officials are behind the curve. (Mar 12) ↗ Houston Chronicle

From LSD to healing minds: Where are we standing in psychedelic drug development? (Mar 13) ↗ Labiotech

After crunching 70k ‘trip reports’, Mindstate looks to test first AI-derived psychedelic on humans (Mar 13) ↗ Fierce Biotech

Mindstate has submitted an IND to the FDA to study 5-MeO-MiPT, aka moxy, co-administered with an approved generic. The Phase I trial aims to dose five cohorts of ten healthy volunteers.

Magic Mushrooms Are Risky New Tool Touted by Executive Coaches (Mar 11) ↗ Bloomberg

Inc. also covered the story: Business Tripping: Tune In, Turn On, Drop $3.5K for a Psychedelic Weekend (Mar 12) ↗ Inc.

NSW Mental Health Minister Rose Jackson acknowledges calls for NSW to expand psilocybin, MDMA treatments (Mar 13) ↗ The West Australian

Elsewhere in Oz, Ex-Abbott minister hits out at ‘ridiculous MDMA ban’ (Mar 12) ↗ The West Australian

Congress wants the Veterans Affairs Department to lead the way in psychedelics research. (Mar 13) ↗ POLITICO

MAPS Provides Psychedelic Crisis Assessment and Intervention Training to Denver’s First Responders (Mar 11) ↗ Press Release

It’s time for California to take a more pragmatic approach to psychedelic drug policy | Opinion (Mar 14) ↗ The Sacramento Bee

Why conservative Missouri lawmakers want to legalize ‘magic mushrooms’ for veterans (Mar 14) ↗ Springfield News-Leader

Psychedelics and Mental Health: Rose Cartwright meets Ashleigh Murphy-Beiner (Mar 12) ↗ BBC Radio 4

Groundbreaking research into psychedelic therapy (Mar 15) ↗ Uppsala University

VA has $20 million for MDMA therapies, but that’s not all it needs (Mar 15) ↗ Task & Purpose

The Prophet Of Shroom (Mar 17) ↗ Forbes

March 4 - 10, 2024

NEWS / ANALYSIS
FDA Hands MindMed’s LSD Candidate Breakthrough Therapy Designation in Generalised Anxiety Disorder; Company Provides 12-Week Data and Fleshes Out Phase 3 Program Plans (Mar 8) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

Psychedelic drug developer MindMed has announced that the FDA has granted breakthrough therapy designation to its LSD-D-tartrate candidate (MM120) for the treatment of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). The company also shared topline 12-week data from the same program, as well as results of a pharmacokinetic bridging study and further details on phase 3 study design.

Pα+ subscribers can read our coverage here.

PSYCHEDELIC BULLETIN
Pα+ Psychedelic Bulletin #158 (Mar 6) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

  • Fluence and UPRA Team Up to Bring Psychedelic Therapy Training to Ukraine
  • MindBio’s Small Open Label Microdosing Study Shows Promise in MDD
  • Biomind’s 5-MeO-DMT Study Shows Promise, But Small Sample and Unclear Protocol Temper Excitement
  • Oregon Psilocybin Services Complaints
  • Further Reading & Other Stories

Read the latest Issue.

Psychedelic news: The government finally fast-tracked LSD as an anxiety treatment (Mar 7) ↗ Fast Company

Colorado issues draft rules for psychedelic industry’s healing centers (Mar 7) ↗ Axios

How Psychedelics Could Help Soldiers Overcome Trauma (Mar 10) ↗ TIME

Powerful Psychedelic Gains Renewed Attention as a Treatment for Opioid Addiction (Mar 5) ↗ New York Times

NEWS / ANALYSIS
Prominent At-Home Ketamine Co. Founder, Juan Pablo Cappello, Sounds Alarm, Withdraws Support for the Practice (Mar 4) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

One of the at-home ketamine industry’s biggest boosters has turned bearish, calling for caution among patients and providers and withdrawing his endorsement of the practice. Here, we take a closer look at the case study that changed Cappello’s mind as well as broader concerns around at-home ketamine operators, and we speak with Cappello himself.

atai Life Sciences Announces First Participant Dosed in Phase 1b Trial of VLS-01 (Mar 4) ↗ Press Release

Readers might remember that atai shared topline results from a Phase 1 study of the candidate back in October 2023, finding the oral transmucosal film (OTF) formulation to be “well-tolerated with a favorable safety profile”. However, the company announced it would “further optimize” the candidate in preparation for a Phase 2 study in treatment-resistant depression.

As such, this Phase 1b study will compare an improved OTF formulation of the candidate with IV. The improvements include taste masking, a backing layer, “and enhancements to further increase permeability.”

For reference, atai dosed the very first subject with VLS-01 in Q4 2022.

Vancouver to reinstate business licence of illegal magic mushroom dispensary (Mar 5) ↗ Vancouver Sun

“At a business licence hearing Tuesday, a three-person panel approved a motion asking staff to reinstate the licence with terms that clarify the business is involved in education and advocacy of medicinal psychoactive substances.”

“We opened the door now, just a crack, but it’s only going to get bigger”, said Dana Larsen.

On March 7th, Vancouver Sun columnist Dan Fumano wrote a piece titled, “Dan Fumano: Psychedelics are illegal — and Vancouver police say criminal charges could be coming”.

China’s emerging psychedelic scene looks a lot like Silicon Valley (Mar 6) ↗ Vox

Ego tripping: Why do psychedelics “enlighten” some people — and make others giant narcissists? (Mar 8) ↗ Salon

INTERVIEW
Bay Staters for Natural Medicine Co-Founder, James Davis, on Grassroots Psychedelic Policy Reform, a Community-based Facilitator Network, and the Corporatisation of Psychedelics (Mar 8) ↗ Psychedelic Alpha

Psychedelics, Solid Tumors Will Be Key Focuses for Investors in 2024 (Mar 6) ↗ BioSpace

Marketing magic: How influencers are helping sell psychedelics to social media masses (Mar 4) ↗ The Denver Post

Hidden trauma: Do psychedelics reveal memories or create fake ones? (Mar 4) ↗ Big Think

Psychedelic Lobbying and Regulatory Capture (Mar 4) ↗ Bill of Health

CALL FOR SURVEY PARTICIPANTS
Do you have experience conducting psychedelic-assisted therapy outside of the research setting? You may be eligible to participate in a new study from Imperial College London’s Centre for Psychedelic Research. Learn more and participate.

Leading psychedelic trainer Ben Sessa suspended over relationship with vulnerable former patient (Mar 6) ↗ ABC News

Cleveland Clinic Expands Psychedelic Research and Launches First Psilocybin Trial in Northeast Ohio (Mar 6) ↗ Cleveland Clinic

Bringing Neuroplastogens to the Window: Q&A With Delix CEO Mark Rus (Mar 5) ↗ Pharma Executive

Who will staff the psychedelic resurgence? (Mar 7) ↗ Open Access Government

Were Plato and Dante munching on magic mushrooms? Probably (Mar 8) ↗ The Standard

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