WHAT IS PSYCHEDELIC MEDICINE?

Psychedelic medicine is a blanket term for a class of substances that, when consumed, alters the subjective mental state of the consumer.

All psychedelic medicine – to varying degrees – increases the number of branches and dendritic spines on neurons, and also increase the number of synapses, or connections between neurons which gives rise to hallucinations. The blanket term encompasses legal and illicit substances including but not limited to MDMA, LSD, and psilocybin as well as ketamine and ibogaine.  

 

There is a growing body of scientific literature from leading health/medical institutes (Johns Hopkins University, Imperial College London, New York University) supporting the medicinal properties of psychedelic medicine. Much of the findings demonstrate how psychedelic medicine, coupled with traditional psychotherapy, is able to outperform currently approved medications for depression and PTSD.

 

Recent research has explored LSD as a treatment for alcoholism (FN1) and end-of-life anxiety (FN2). Psilocybin has shown promise as a treatment for anxiety in patients with a terminal illness, (FN3)  tobacco smoking cessation, (FN4) alcohol use disorder, (FN5) depression, (FN6) and cluster headaches.(FN7) MDMA has shown promise for the treatment of first responders and military personnel suffering from the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (“PTSD”).( (FN8) Lastly, a number of systematic literature reviews have explored psychedelic therapy’s potential antidepressant, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and antiaddictive effects, (FN9) and for the management of mood, anxiety and substance-use disorders.(FN110)

Theses studies have already prompted food and drug authorities internationally to begin investigating the clinical potential of these revolutionary compounds. 

  • [1] Dyck, 2006; Krebs & Johansen, 2012.

  • [2] Gasser et al., 2014; Gasser, Kirchner, & Passie, 2015.

  • [3] Griffiths et al., 2016; Grob et al., 2011; Ross et al., 2016.     

  • [4] Johnson, Garcia-Romeu, & Griffiths, 2017; Noorani, Garcia-Romeu, Swift, Griffiths, & Johnson, 2018.

  • [5] Bogenschutz et al., 2015.

  • [6] Agin-Liebes et al., 2020; Carhart-Harris et al., 2018; Carhart-Harris et al., 2016; Carhart-Harris et al., 2017.

  • [7] Sewell, Halpern, & Pope, 2006.

  • [8] Mithoefer et al., 2018; Mithoefer, Wagner, Mithoefer, Jerome, & Doblin, 2010; Mithoefer et al., 2013; Ot'alora et al., 2018.

  • [9] R. G. Dos Santos et al., 2016.

  • [10] Rafael G. Dos Santos, Bouso, Alcázar-Córcoles, & Hallak, 2018.

In fact, the US Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) designated MDMA and psilocybin as “breakthrough therapies” and has approved Phase III clinical trials for MDMA for its treatment of PTSD. Furthermore, the FDA and the Israeli Ministry of Health have expanded access on compassionate grounds to parties using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to treat PTSD.

Governments around the globe are seeking to loosen the prohibition on psychedelic medicine. Psychedelic mushrooms are already legal in Jamaica, as are psychedelic truffles in the Netherlands.

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COVID-19

The economic burden of mental illness in Canada is estimated at $51 billion per year. This includes health care costs, lost productivity, and reductions in health-related quality of life. This burden will only increase over the coming months as the mental health of their caregivers continue to deteriorate due to the COVID-19 crisis. Using the 2003 SARS outbreak as an invaluable precedent, first responders and healthcare practitioners will be disproportionately affected by mental illness such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),  while other Canadians living in isolation will likely suffer in a myriad of ways. Given the likelihood that the Canadian healthcare system will face an increase in mental illness post-pandemic, there is a desperate need for new and innovative treatment options for those living with mental illness. Halucenex is exploring the ways in which it may tailor its treatment options to those affected by the COVID-19 crisis.