On September 10, The John Hopkins News-Letter reported on the launch of new clinical trials on psilocybin, or “magic” mushrooms. The Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research (CPCR) announced a partnership with the psychedelic research nonprofit Unlimited Sciences to conduct a research study on the use of these mushrooms outside of a medical or lab environment. The goal is to survey people all over the world and make a registry of “psilocybin usage and resulting experiences.” This substance is “both psychoactive and hallucinogenic,” and found in several different mushroom species. Many different cultures have used these mushrooms throughout history, and the Drug Policy Alliance opines that psilocybin is not addictive.
The study will seek out 1,000 folks who intend to ingest mushrooms within the next six months. Each participant will “complete five surveys at varying periods before and after their usage.” Data collected will include demographics, personality traits, and key quantitative facts like the dosage used. CPCR was the first to gain approval to study psychedelics in 2000, “and published a study that established the positive outcomes and safety of a single dose of psilocybin.” In that report, the subjects had “sustained positive attitude changes” two months after the dosage, and they felt the experience involved “substantial personal meaning and spiritual significance.” This study led to psychedelic research all over the world, and CPCR’s work has made it the leading US locus for such work. Since the revival in psychedelic research, evidence has developed, showing that such substances can help addiction, depression, and other conditions.
After civilian and intelligence-service research on psychedelics in the 1950s and 1960s, the war on drugs (along with disclosure of testing on unwitting subjects) put an end to such work in the 1970s. According to CPCR’s website, in 2000, they were first in the US to gain approval to re-start the testing of psychedelics. In 2006, they published a landmark study showing the safety and “enduring positive effects” of a one-time dose of psilocybin and “sparked a renewal of psychedelic research worldwide.” Since then, they have published in over 60 peer-reviewed articles in major journals. Research has shown benefits for addiction to nicotine, alcohol, and other drugs; end-of-life “existential distress;” and drug-resistant depression. Upcoming studies include use for Alzheimer’s, PTSD, and anorexia.
Synthetic Psilocybin Firm Stock Up 71%
On the business side, on September 18, Bloomberg informs us that UK firm Compass Pathways Plc has patented a synthetic version of psilocybin, and on Friday, they went public. Their shares popped 71% up to $29 after the public offering of 7.5 million shares. At the price now, the firm’s 34 million outstanding shares are valued close to $1 billion. Backers include PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, and the upcoming listing on Nasdaq, “is expected to raise $127.5 million.” Some of this will go to “research and clinical trials” while also developing digital technologies to go with their therapies. Founded in 2016 by George Goldsmith and Ekaterina Malievskaia, ahead of its IPO, Thiel owns 7.5%. Investors also include Founders Fund, Moore Capital Management, and Japan’s Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. In 2018, Compass got “breakthrough therapy” status from the FDA, which sped up the development process. They are now running a Phase 2b trial, and FDA approval is expected in two to three years by insiders. One hundred million people worldwide have treatment-resistant depression. The firm estimates the “economic burden” of major depression in the US to be over $200 billion per year.