Jan 21, 2020 (Baystreet.ca via COMTEX) -- Taboo for more than half a century, psychedelics are emerging from the shadows as scientists search for new ways to treat diseases where conventional therapies have generally failed. It’s early in the game, but the trippy stigma is fading, replaced by optimism that psychedelics may be able to provide relief for people suffering from elusive maladies like PTSD, addiction, Alzheimer’s, depression and more.
The market received a stamp of validation last year when the esteemed Johns Hopkins University, the oldest research university in the U.S., used $17 million from wealthy donors to launch the country’s first research center dedicated to studying hallucinogenic compounds like psilocybin (the psychedelic compound in “magic” mushrooms) for a spectrum of mental health conditions. Roland Griffiths, head of the new facility, has decades of experience studying psilocybin, including clinical research supporting its safety and efficacy in treating depression in cancer patients and nicotine addiction.
It’s the work of people like Griffiths and MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies) founder Rick Doblin that are chipping away at the negativity and exposing the very real opportunity in replacing ineffective medicines with psychedelics.
In August 2017, the FDA granted the vaunted Breakthrough Therapy designation (which can hasten the approval process) to MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD. MDMA, or midomafetamine, is the scientific name for the psychoactive drug better known as ecstasy. In a 107-patient Phase 2 study by MAPS, 56% of patients treated with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy no longer qualified for PTSD two months following treatment.
The FDA has also granted Breakthrough Therapy designations for psilocybin, not once, but twice. First in October 2018 to Compass Pathways for treatment-resistant depression and then in November 2019 to Usona Institute for major depressive disorder (MDD).
Compass Pathways counts silicon valley investor and billionaire Peter Thiel as one of its early backers.
Quietly, we’re amidst a sea change where psychedelics are getting a deserved foothold in the scientific establishment after too many years of being confined to illicit research and dorm room studies.
In the public domain, only a handful of companies have gotten ahead of the curve and endeavored into psychedelics, with The Yield Growth Corp. /zigman2/quotes/202014329/delayed CA:BOSS +1.96% (otcqb:BOSQF) taking an aggressive approach to plant its flag as a market leader.
The company has established a subsidiary, Flourish Mushroom Labs Inc., for the purpose of exploring new medicinal uses for psilocybin, as well as general wellness benefits of non-psychoactive mushrooms as part of the $34 billion global functional mushroom market. To that point, the company has acquired a robust library of over 125 mushroom formulas that will be used to launch new foods and beverages into the market this year.