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Could Psychedelic Medicines Have Helped Prevent DMX's Overdose?

April 9, 2021 10:56 am
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Could Psychedelic Medicines Have Helped Prevent DMX's Overdose?

It’s sad to say, but it seems like the only time we pay attention to the addiction problem in this country is when someone famous overdoses.

Such is the case with DMX, who I would argue is one of the most unique and gifted rappers ever.

His abrasive voice, his cut-to-the-bone lyrics, and his infectious energy is what I think about when I think about DMX.  Not addiction.  But the reality is, DMX, born Earl Simmons, has battled addiction for decades.  And if you know anything about addiction, you know that it’s not a pretty picture.

Of course, you don’t need to be a celebrity or gifted rapper to battle addiction.  The truth is, more than 20 million people in the U.S. have at least one addiction, with only about 10% actually being able to receive treatment. A harsh reality, to be sure, as deaths attributed to drug overdoses have more than tripled since 1990.  So this begs the question: Why haven’t we come further along in terms of effectively treating addiction?

Certainly, certain types of therapy and recovery programs have helped thousands of people kick some very nasty habits.  There are also certain types of medications that can help treat addictions to certain drugs, such as Methadone and Suboxone. But those don’t really solve the problem of addiction, have horribly low success rates, anyway, and really just enable patients to trade one addiction for another.

The bottom line is that despite addiction being a very real public health crisis, we really don’t treat it that seriously. 

If we treated addiction the same way we treated heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, there would be far more research and options for drug and alcohol addiction.  But that’s not the case.  And the fact that more than 20 million people battle addiction every single day in this country – with little to no effective treatments available – is a disgrace.  Particularly when there are other potential treatments with great promise that, until recently, really haven't been given the attention they deserve.  Although that’s changing.

It’s time to Get Real about Addiction

Thanks to a recent renaissance in the world of psychedelic medicines, a number of entheogenic molecules that could be absolute game-changers in the world of addiction treatments, are being pulled out from the shadows and into university labs and FDA clinical trials.

Take ibogaine, for instance, which is a psychedelic substance that can regulate the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain.  These are the chemicals that are associated with pleasure and feelings of well-being. As well, Ibogaine can block and protect dopamine receptors against harmful drugs.

Thousands of people have already had great success treating addiction with ibogaine.  In fact, Universal Ibogaine, which runs ibogaine clinics and will actually be going public later this year, has been treating patients for more than 20 years, and to date, has provided more than 3,400 treatments, boasting a 95% success rate.

In the world of addiction treatment, this is unheard of, as most FDA-approved medications and traditional therapeutic protocols barely scrape by on success rates of around 30% or less. 

MindMed (OTC:MMEDF), which has actually been one of the most successful publicly-traded psychedelics companies to date is another company doing research on its own ibogaine treatment for addiction, too.  

We’ve also seen evidence of psilocybin therapy working quite well in treating addiction.  Perhaps the most well-known research in this area was the 2018 study that came out of Johns Hopkins University, which showed tremendous success in treating smoking addiction with psilocybin therapy. 

Psilocybin is the psychedelic compound produced by “magic mushrooms.” And in this Johns Hopkins study, researchers saw an 80% success rate.  Compare that to the most “effective” smoking cessation treatment on the market today, which maintains a success rate of roughly 30%. 

While many of these psychedelic compounds have long been equated with hippie culture and party drugs, the reality is that this stuff is real medicine, and could soon facilitate one of the biggest disruptions we’ve seen in addiction therapy – ever. 

The truth is, there are a lot of people right now who could potentially benefit from these medicines.  And I’m certainly grateful for the companies and researchers that are doing the heavy lifting now so that in the future we can live in a world where folks who struggle with addiction can be cured.  Make no mistake: this is a very big deal.

Of course, we don’t know if any of these psychedelic medicines could’ve helped DMX successfully battle his addiction, but it would be absolutely immoral if we didn’t try to figure it out, and aggressively pursue these new options in an effort to help others.  

And this is why I maintain that investing in legitimate psychedelics companies is an exercise in socially responsible investing.  Doing well by doing good.  This is my mandate, and it is one that will make the world a better place.

Jeff Siegel is a managing partner of the JLS Fund (an early-stage plant medicine venture fund) and is also the co-founder of Green Chip Stocks, a private investment community focused on socially responsible investing. He has been a featured guest on Fox, CNBC and Bloomberg Asia, and is a regular on the speaking circuit.

Más de Jeff Siegel en Español en El Planteo.

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