This article identifies the 10 different psychedelic substances being studied by companies involved in clinical-stage research for the treatment of mental health conditions and the names of those companies doing research with each of those substances.
By Lorimer Wilson, Managing Editor of munKNEE.com – Your KEY To Making Money!
Data Bridge Market Research forecasts that the global psychedelics market will grow from $2.077B in 2019 to $6.859B by 2027 which represents a 3.3 times increase in just 7 years. Below are the 10 psychedelic substances undergoing extensive research, those with the most therapeutic and commercial potential and the 36 companies that are involved in such research.
Ketamine, used primarily as an anesthetic in veterinary clinics, is the only psychedelic drug that is broadly legal today. Unfortunately, it has had the reputation of being used as a date rape or sexual assault drug (and referred to in those circles as Special K, Cat Valium or Kit Kat) as it can be slipped unnoticed into a drink causing the consumer to experience a loss of muscle function combined with only a dream-like awareness of what’s happening and not to being able to remember what happened the next day although they may have flashbacks of the event several weeks later.
The above being said, ketamine is now being used to treat chronic pain, alcohol withdrawal management, and depression despite its addictive properties, toxicity and unpleasant hallucinogenic properties.
The major public companies currently involved in ketamine-based clinical-stage research are Field Trip Health* (FTRPF), Seelos* (SEEL), Numinus* (LKYSF), Awakn Life* (AWKNF) and ATAI (ATAI). In addition, a couple of much smaller market cap companies are also involved in mental health research using ketamine, namely, PharmaTher (PHRRF) and Novamind Inc. (NVMDF) for a total of 7 companies.
*identifies the 8 companies that are constituents in the munKNEE Pure-Play Psychedelic Compounds-Based Drug Stocks Index.
Psilocybin, the primary psychoactive ingredients in “magic mushrooms”, is the most widely-researched psychedelic substance today due to its minimal toxicity, non-addictive nature and powerful medicinal effect of generating new neural pathways that allow different regions within the brain to communicate in new and more effective ways.
Psilocybin will likely become the first psychedelic drug to be de-scheduled by a major government and legalized for medicinal use. A recent poll in Canada shows that nearly 80% of the population favor legalizing psilocybin for medicinal use and, to that end, Health Canada has already been granting special exemptions to allow patients with critical healthcare needs to be treated with psilocybin-based therapies. In the U.S., however, while psilocybin enjoys rapidly increasing grassroots support at the local and even state level, psychedelics research remains blocked at the federal level. Legal use and commercialization of psilocybin may advance much faster in the EU and UK via their “real-world evidence” pathway to drug approval that advances drugs that are proven safe substances, a category into which psilocybin fits.
The major public companies involved in psilocybin research are Compass Pathways (CMPS), Cybin Inc.* (CLXPF), Mind Medicine (MNMD) and Mydecine* (MYCOF).
In addition 16 much smaller market cap companies – Aion Therapeutics (AION), Bright Minds Biosciences (DRUG), Creso Pharma (COPHF) through its subsidiary Haluvenex Life Sciences, Filament Health (NEO:FH), HAVN Life Sciences (HAVLF), M2Bio Sciences (WUHN), Mindset Pharma (MSSTF), Neonmind Biosciences (NNDBF), Nova Mentis (NOVA), PsyBio Therapeutics (PSYBF), Revive Therapeutics (RVVTF), Silo Wellness (SILO), Tryp Therapeutics (TRYP), Optimi Health (OPTHF), Psyence Group (PSYG) and Wesana Health (WESA) – are also doing research clinical-stage research using psilocybin for a total of 20 companies.
MDMA refers to 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine and is more commonly known by its street drug name, “Ecstasy” or “Molly” (short for ‘molecular’), has a strong safety profile, produces feelings of emotional warmth, an increase in self-awareness and in empathy which make it a natural fit in those severely traumatized individuals with PTSD.
The 4 public companies involved in MDMA research are GH Research (GHRS), Numinus* (LKYSF), Mind Medicine (MNMD) and ATAI (ATAI)
LSD, known by its street drug name “acid”, is non-toxic and non-addictive and, along with psilocybin, is the most-researched psychedelic drug and, as such, its medicinal applications are generally more advanced than with other psychedelics.
The above being said, however, while both psilocybin and MDMA have received Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the FDA, this has not yet been extended to LSD-based research making the path to legalization for LSD more uncertain than psilocybin in Canada and MDMA in the U.S.. Leading the way in LSD-based psychedelics research is MindMed Inc. (MNMD).
Ibogaine, a natural psychedelic drug derived from the iboga shrub, is much more toxic than psychedelics like psilocybin, MDMA and LSD, presenting some cardiac risks as well as other side effects such as seizures, paralysis and difficulty breathing although Ibogaine presents minimal health risks in a controlled medical setting. Despite these risks, however, research has shown that Ibogaine exhibits unique properties in neutralizing addictive cravings.
According to Psychedelic Stock Watch (from which site a lot of material was accessed for this article) addiction/substance abuse therapy provides the most long-term commercialization potential for psychedelic drugs given the more than 1 billion nicotine addicts, 107 million alcoholics and 71 million drug use abusers worldwide and the +7.6 million deaths per year directly attributable to such substance abuse/addiction. (In comparison, depression and PTSD lead to approximately 800,000 suicide deaths per year, a shockingly high number, but dwarfed by the death toll from substance abuse.)
The 3 public companies involved in Ibogaine research are ATAI (ATAI), Mind Cure Health* (MCURF) and Mind Medicine (MNMD) which is also doing research on an Ibogaine derivative, 18-MC.
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT), an extremely potent psychedelic compound, is the synthetic version of ayahuasca. Because of its potency, DMT research is still at an early stage but it offers important commercialization advantages in that it produces a rapid onset and a brief trip compared to experiential therapies using other psychedelic drugs that require expensive, multi-hour, supervised sessions by trained medical professionals. A DMT “trip” and therapy session can be over in under an hour making such a treatment much cheaper than other psychedelic drugs, raising the prospect for greater patient affordability and greater resultant appeal to health insurers.
The 7 public companies involved in DMT research are Small Pharma (DMTTF), GH Research (GHRS), Mind Medicine (MNMD), Core One (CLABF) through its subsidiary Akome Biotech Ltd., Entheon Biomedical (ENTBF), Mindset Pharma (MSSTF), ATAI (ATAI) and Algernon (AGNPF).
7. Psilocybin Truffles
Truffles and mushrooms are part of the same fungus but produce different effects. Truffles grow underground as a vegetative colony known as mycelium and are generally smaller and wet while mushrooms are the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, and typically grow above ground.
Currently only one company, Red Light Holland* (TRIP), produces, grows and sells “magic” truffles through existing smart shops operators and e-commerce platforms in the Netherlands where wet psilocybin-containing truffles are legal.
Last year Red Light Holland acquired Mera Life Sciences that has a lab in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and holds several psychedelic licenses in the Caribbean. Red Light then created a scientific research and development division called “Scarlette Lillie Science and Innovation” and, in September, Scarlette Lillie secured a relationship with Jinfiniti Precision Medicine that will help it to investigate the therapeutic possibilities of psilocybin and truffles for the treatment of age-related and psychiatric disorders.
Just recently Canada approved 17 healthcare professionals to possess and use the psychedelic active ingredient psilocybin to conduct professional training in psilocybin therapy. The focus is mainly for patients dealing with end-of-life distress, but marks the first step towards legal medicinal psychedelics use in Canada.
In February, 2021, Red Light made its first import and sale of psilocybin truffles to Brazil advancing the legal and medically approved market for psilocybin in Brazil.
Mescaline is a naturally occurring psychoactive alkaloid with hallucinogenic properties derived from the San Pedro cactus, the Peruvian/Bolivian torch, the Peyote cactus (found predominantly in Mexico and the southwestern deserts of the U.S.) and two other varieties of peyote cacti and was first isolated in 1896 from the peyote plant back in 1896. Interestingly, mescaline was legal in the United States until 1970, when then-President Richard Nixon launched a crackdown on psychedelics.
Mescaline can be synthetically manufactured, and its extracted compound, similar in structure to adrenaline and noradrenaline, is recently being considered for its health benefits as a potential psychotherapeutic treatment in conditions such as substance abuse and depression and, as such, has the potential to carve out a significant share of the $70bn global mental health market.
The primary company researching the possible benefits of mescaline is XPhyto Therapeutics Corp. (XPHYF) which operates a range of research and development projects in both Canada and Germany and has expertise in using sublingual and transdermal therapeutics to deliver extremely precise doses, which could prove invaluable for micro-dosing mescaline and other psychedelics.
5-MeO-DMT, which stands for 5-MethOxy-N,N-DiMeThyltryptamine but is better known by its nick name, “The Toad”, is derived from dried venom secreted by the Sonoran Desert (Bufo Alvarius) toad, also known as the Colorado River toad (Incilius alvarius) which is found in the lower Colorado River and the Gila River catchment areas, in southeastern California, New Mexico, Mexico and much of southern Arizona living in both desert and semi-arid areas throughout its range. The Toad produces hallucinogenic, boundless experiences within one second of inhalation that can last from 7 to 90 minutes (average of 20 minutes) that create a sustained enhancement of satisfaction with life, and the easing of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It binds to serotonin receptors (neurotransmitters in your body that can affect a variety of different functions, ranging from your bowel movements to your sleep to your mood) and since activating serotonin receptors may affect your mood, some researchers have been exploring whether 5-MeO-DMT may help with depression and anxiety.
Only GH Research (GHRS) and Mindset Pharma (MSSTF) are currently the only clinical-stage bio-pharmaceutical companies dedicated to developing 5-MeO-DMT therapies.
MEAI is short for 5-Methoxy-2-aminoindane, a psychoactive compound which produces a mild euphoric, alcohol-like tipsy experience and reduced desire to consume alcoholic beverages. As such, MEAI shows promise for Alcohol Use Disorder, in which an individual cannot limit their alcohol intake despite negative consequences and may also be used for binge drinking (described as 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours) which 1 in 6 adults do at least once a week in the U.S..)
The only company researching the possible benefits of MEAI is Clearmind Medicine (CMNDF) and, with an established pharmaceutical leader and public company expert at the helm in the name of Dr. Adi Zuloff-Shani, the company seems well positioned to make an impact in this area of mental health.
In addition to the 36 companies mentioned above that are in clinical stage research of one or more of these 10 substances another 20 or so are ancillary in nature providing associated services to the sector such as companies with clinics providing supervised therapy facilities, companies working on the development of micro-dosing methods and equipment, exclusive consulting services. etc.
Roughly 2 billion people, world wide, suffer from some form of a treatable mental health disorder and addiction/substance abuse therapy could easily prove to be the biggest investment driver of psychedelic stocks over the long term, supported by the high degree of insurance coverage available for addiction therapy.
It is very early in the psychedelic drug industry’s evolution, so it is difficult to weed out the eventual winners in advance so it might be a good idea to own a number of the psychedelic drug companies highlighted above to have all your bases covered. To that end, Mind Medicine is involved in the research of 5 different substances, ATAI in 4, GH Research and Mindset in 3 and Numinus in 2.
Also make sure you read this article on each of the companies mentioned above and more.
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