Inside of a Legal Psilocybin Wellness Retreat
At Benzinga, we do what we say, and we say what we do. This hands-on mentality allowed me to take a week off to experience a legal psilocybin retreat in Jamaica.
The active ingredient in “magic mushrooms” is currently being researched by top-tier institutions for the treatment of severe mental health conditions such as major depression, addiction, and end-of-life distress.
Psilocybin can also be a great tool for wellbeing and human optimization. The wellness aspect of psilocybin treatment has recently opened the gates to "psychedelic tourism," as a rapidly growing trend. But, however fast the psychedelics industry is moving forward, psilocybin continues to be illegal in most countries and jurisdictions.
Silo Wellness, a soon-to-be public psychedelics company, launched a series of psilocybin retreats in Jamaica, where the molecule was never scheduled and remains decriminalized to this day.
This retreat was held at Coral Cove, a sea-side resort near the town of Negril, in the center of Jamaica’s “Wellness Corridor.”
The psilocybin sessions were done alfresco just after the sunset, under the stars, next to a big fire. Edward ‘Firstman’ Wray, a Rastafari wiseman, led the ceremonies. He was accompanied by Dr. Matthew Hicks, a naturopathic physician, and Tal Sharabi, a professional counselor.
Firstman served the role of the shaman: the man that traveled to the depths of his own soul and consciousness in countless ceremonies across the Americas and is now ready to lead others in their own journey of self-discovery. Dr. Hicks and Sharabi, who lead ketamine retreats on their own in Portland and are currently completing a certificate in psychedelic therapy, offered psychological support through one-on-one sessions before and after the three psilocybin experiences.
The retreat was part luxury nature getaway, part self-improvement program. It attracted a diverse group of folks in their 30s and 40s united by two common traits: a desire to improve their mental wellbeing and at least $3,000 to spare on a five-day, six-night holiday in the Caribbean (plus flights).
The psilocybin sessions were powerful, mystical, and in almost all cases, different from what most of us had imagined. Nonetheless, most of the group returned home with a feeling of having discovered something new. A way of healing that is not found in most textbooks and can be brought upon by the mysterious wisdom of these little fungi.
As the psychedelics sector grows, and more jurisdictions ease restrictions, the possible expressions of psychedelic therapy become as infinite as the number of people willing to offer treatment with these molecules.
Silo’s retreat is an early example of such expressions. One designed to heal through rest, relaxation, group conversations, and a strong bond with nature.
My greatest lesson from this retreat is that there is no one way to use psilocybin in a healing context. Researchers are currently developing a set of standards that will set the tone for how psychedelics are applied in clinical psychiatry. But the world of legal psychedelics is a vast and unexplored terrain, limited only by the extent of human creativity.
What lies on the horizon for this industry is, most likely, more than we can anticipate.
California Legislators Introduce Bill To Decriminalize Psychedelics
California Senator Scott Wiener introduced a bill last week that would remove punishment for the possession and use of psilocybin, MDMA, LSD, ketamine, DMT, mescaline, and ibogaine.
The bill also takes into consideration the expungement of criminal records for people charged with possession or use of these substances.
“Policy should be based on science and common sense, not fear and stigma,” said Weiner. “The War on Drugs and mass incarceration are destructive and failed policies, and we must end them. Moreover, given the severity of our mental health crisis, we shouldn’t be criminalizing people for using drugs that have shown significant promise in treating mental health conditions.”
Meanwhile, a group called Decriminalize California announced plans to gather signatures for the inclusion of a psilocybin legalization ballot initiative at the 2022 election. The measure would create a program that legalizes the “personal, spiritual, religious, dietary, therapeutic, and medical use” of psilocybin.
Revive Buys Pharmather’s Psilocybin IP for $7.8M
Revive Therapeutics RVVTF and PharmaTher Inc. announced a transaction via which Revive will purchase PharmaTher’s psilocybin program for CA$10 million ($7.8 million).
PharmaTher, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Newscope Capital Corp. PHRRF, has developed an IP portfolio pertaining to the use of psilocybin in the treatment of stroke, traumatic brain injury, and cancer.
This portfolio will be added to Revive’s psilocybin-based programs in oral film delivery, its clinical study for drug abuse disorder and the development of a biosynthetic version of psilocybin.
The transaction will involve CA$3 million in cash, CA$4 million in Revive stock and CA$4 million in either stock or cash, depending on the fulfillment of certain conditions.
MindMed Begins Clinical Work On LSD Off-Switch
MindMed MMEDF launched a Phase 1 study on the use of ketanserin as a way to rapidly end a negative experience with LSD.
“If working as expected and fully developed, the approach would allow treatment of patients with LSD while having an option to end an experience if considered necessary by the patient or therapist," said Dr. Matthias Liechti, head of the Liechti Lab at University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, where the study is being conducted.
"Such a technique will further increase the safety of using LSD in a therapeutic setting and will provide a tool for reducing and ending psychedelic experiences induced by LSD or possibly other psychedelics," Liechti added.
LSD works by interacting with the 5-HT2A serotonin receptor in the brain.
By binding to this receptor, ketanserin can be used as a “competitive antagonist,” thus neutralizing LSD’s effect. The study has set out to test this hypothesis and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
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