This week, the psychedelic news-sphere has been abuzz with a few standout stories. From important policy updates to psychedelic IPOs, it’s clear that the field of psychedelics continues to grow and evolve at an exciting rate—so we’ve rounded up the top seven headlines here for your convenience.
Advocates, MPs Urge Feds to Expand Access to Psychedelic Treatment in Canada
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May is advocating for the consideration of providing medical access to psychedelic drugs in Canada. On Tuesday, May and other Members of Parliament joined forces with a group of patients and health care experts to urge the federal government to make psilocybin – derived from magic mushrooms – more accessible.
The news conference was organized by TheraPsil, a non-profit organization that offers training to health-care practitioners and is working with patients to obtain psilocybin and combat the government’s drug policy.
This organization is urging legislators to progress clinical research in order to gain a deeper understanding of how this substance could potentially be employed for medical use or treatment of mental issues, like depression and anxiety.
May firmly asserted that the federal government should open up access to psilocybin before allowing Canada's assisted-dying laws to be broadened for individuals whose only medical condition is a mental disorder. Although, it appears likely that an upcoming Liberal bill designed to postpone such expansion until March 2024 will be endorsed by all members of the House of Commons.
Arizona lawmakers have recently passed a groundbreaking bill that seeks to explore the medicinal potential of psilocybin mushrooms.
Led by Reps. T.J. Shope (R), Kevin Payne (R), Stacey Travers (D) and Jennifer Longdon (D), the House Military Affairs & Public Safety Committee unanimously approved HB 2426 with a 15-0 vote, showing overwhelming support for this bill.
This proposal, focusing on psilocybin research, offers $30 million in grants over the three-year period for researchers to investigate the effects of psychedelic therapy on thirteen distinctive conditions including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, long COVID symptoms and substance misuse disorder.
The research grants can be given for phase I, II and III clinical trials described as, “capable of being approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to evaluate the effects of whole mushroom psilocybin” for the relevant condition(s).
Hawaii Senators Approve Bill in Support of Research Into Psilocybin and MDMA
The Senate of Hawaii has approved a bill in committee to further investigate the healing effects of psilocybin, MDMA and other alternative treatments for mental health issues. Additionally, a House panel held an informative hearing on a measure which encourages the formation of working groups devoted to researching psilocybin-derived therapies.
Last Friday, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee gave a resounding approval to an amended bill sponsored by Sen. Chris Lee (D) that would create an advisory council tasked with investigating state and federal regulations concerning certain psychedelics while examining scientific research on their use in treatment of mental health disorders.
The advisory council is also tasked with drawing up a blueprint for the long-term to guarantee that adults aged 21 and over have access to safe, accessible, and affordable therapeutic psilocybin, psilocybin-based products, as well as MDMA in the future.
After making a few amendments, the Senate committee approved of the bill unanimously with a 5-0 vote. The most significant amendment was to move the advisory council under Governor's Office of Wellness and Resiliency instead of remaining in Department of Health.
This legislation emphasizes Hawaii's commitment to exploring alternative healing methods that could significantly improve mental health outcomes for residents across the state.
Despite a Utah state senator's attempts to modify the plan of decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms for patients struggling with specific ailments, Governor Spencer Cox declared that he is not in favor of it.
During his monthly news conference on Thursday morning, Governor Cox emphasized that SB 200 proposed by Senator Luz Escamilla (D-Salt Lake City), which aims to create a pilot program for up to 5,000 individuals using psilocybin—also known as “magic mushrooms”—was “just not there yet.”
Rather than rush forward, Cox expressed his preference to wait for the US Food and Drug Administration's process in line with similar apprehensions voiced by the Utah Medical Association.
“I just don’t believe the science is there,” said the governor. “I don't believe we should be experimenting on 5,000 people here in our state, and I think there are some serious consequences and side effects—socially as well as medically—that I'm just not comfortable with.”
In a landmark collaboration between the European Medicines Agency (EMA), experts from the EU regulatory network, and representatives from the prestigious European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP), a commentary has been issued on The Lancet.
This statement underscores the therapeutic potential of psychedelics, affirming that these substances may have beneficial effects if used properly.
In their latest commentary, entitled ‘The Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelics: The European Regulatory Perspective', experts delve into classic psychedelics such as mescaline, DMT, LSD and psilocybin in order to evaluate the potential for these substances to be used as treatments for mental health conditions.
PAREA welcomes the recent development as a pathway to initiate institutional dialogue on transforming Europe into an area where psychedelic-assisted therapies can be accessed safely and effectively.
Lucy Scientific Rings Nasdaq Closing Bell in Celebration of its IPO
Yesterday, at the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York, Lucy Scientific Discovery Inc. (Nasdaq: LSDI), a company specializing in psychotropic drugs and having held its first public offering just one week prior, ceremoniously rang the closing bell to commemorate their entrance into the market.
The company strives to stand out as the pioneering research, development and manufacturing firm in the burgeoning psychedelics-based medicines sector.
CEO Chris McElvany says, “This milestone marks a significant step in the company’s growth and plans for expansion. We look forward to the opportunities ahead of us to continue working on improving mental health and finding sustainable solutions for treatment.”
Awakn Opens Fourth European Clinic in Norway
Awakn Life Sciences Corp. (NEO: AWKN) (OTCQB: AWKNF) (FSE: 954) has recently initiated a ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) clinic in the heart of Trondheim, Norway—making it their second site within Norway and fourth across Europe. This biopharmaceutical company is dedicated to supporting those with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) through its innovative therapies.
Dr. Ingrid Castberg will spearhead the launch of Awakn's new center, an initiative that marks a critical milestone in the organization's second stage expansion strategy for its Nordic region operations, including the relocation of its Oslo clinic to larger facilities.
Anthony Tennyson, Awakn's CEO commented, “Our goal as a company is to provide our breakthrough therapeutics to the vast number of people who are in desperate need of a new and more effective treatment option. Our new clinic in Trondheim does exactly this and allows us to provide these treatments to a whole new cohort of people in central Norway.”