Psyched: VC Fund Invests $50M In Psychedelics, Musk's 'Exploratory Journeys', Native American Use Of Peyote And More

Palo Santo Closes $50M Investment Fund

Palo Santo, a venture capital fund focused on backing and building emerging psychedelic therapeutics companies, recently announced the closing of its $50 million fund.

“Against the backdrop of a growing global mental health crisis, our mission is to drive clinical development and FDA approval of these much-needed therapies that we believe will become the future standard of care. We are proud to play a role in this paradigm shift and look forward to creating value for our portfolio companies, investors, and most importantly patients and their loved ones,” stated co-founder Tim Schlidt.

The Palo Santo Fund is currently invested in over 20 portfolio companies across the psychedelic ecosystem. Moreover, the company combines its investing and portfolio-building experience with the expertise of leading academics and advisors in psychedelic science.

“It’s crucial that the most promising companies and therapies receive the funding needed to advance psychedelic medicines through clinical trials in a timely manner, and I am proud to be part of a team of experts who share that same goal,” Julie Holland MD. and Palo Santo advisor concluded.

Elon Musk’s Trippy Explorations With Psychedelics, More ‘Benefits’ Than Consuming Alcohol

Elon Musk has been forthcoming about psychedelic drugs and is not shy about discussing them and their benefits. He’s also been supportive of cannabis legalization

The billionaire shared a chart with a friend, which showed MDMA and psychedelic mushrooms are healthier than alcohol use, according to the friend who told The New York Times.

After that, over 40 people who have spent time with Musk over the past 15 years, many of whom signed non-disclosure agreements, were interviewed. 

Furthermore, according to a source, Musk has attended nearly every Burning Man festival with his younger brother Kimbal Musk for the past 20 years.

The Tesla TSLA CEO has expressed support for psychedelics and ketamine and sometimes actively engages in Twitter threads over psychedelics benefits compared to those of SSRIs and amphetamines or in interviews where he is asked about the mental health issues these substances can potentially help ease.

Musk is far not the only successful tech CEO who has shown interest in psychedelics. Apple founder Steve Jobs also talked about microdosing psychedelics drugs, such as LSD or psilocybin mushrooms in order to promote creativity. Jobs also spent time in India seeking enlightenment and studying Zen Buddhism.

How Native Americans Have Been Using Psychoactive Substances For Healing

In view of the numerous activities that took place for Indigenous Peoples’ Day and World Mental Health Day, this might be a good moment to dive into a discussion on the role psychedelics have played in this area for many years and the future their potential might hold, as scientific research seems to show.

As a hallucinatory and consciousness-altering substance, peyote can induce visionary states -sometimes referred to as religious ecstasy- in ceremonial rituals. It is still used today by some tribes, such as the Huichol in Mexico and the modern-day Native American Church (NAC) for religious and medicinal purposes. 

Peyote's medicinal uses include external applications for rheumatism, wounds, burns, snakebites and skin diseases, and ingestion in the form of tea for illnesses like pneumonia, scarlet fever, intestinal issues, diabetes and colds. 

Although both peyote and ayahuasca contain psychoactive-hallucinogenic properties and have historically been used as medicine, they offer different experiences.

The mescaline in peyote causes hallucinogenic effects by stimulating serotonin and dopamine receptors in the central nervous system (CNS), specifically by interacting with 5-HT2A receptors which impacts how the body uses serotonin. Its effects on the brain can be felt within 30-90 minutes after ingesting it and can last up to 12 hours.

The effects of DMT in ayahuasca can be felt within 20-60 minutes and may last up to 8 hours. This hallucinogenic brew made from the stem of the ayahuasca vine Banisteriopsis caapi and the leaves of the chacruna (Psychotria viridis) has also long been used among indigenous Amazonian groups for spiritual and religious purposes, in ceremonies where the healer drinks it for spiritual diagnosis, healing and clairvoyance. 

Ayahuasca is said to tear down one’s emotional barriers, helping people see themselves or others in a new way, thus leading to improvement, growth, healing and freedom.

Facing ayahuasca’s recent popularity, responses from Amazonian communities and individuals vary, from seeing it as a profitable opportunity to opposition. In some cases, it may be seen as a responsibility to educate non-Amazonian users to be properly prepared for the spiritual experience, as the encounter between Indigenous and Western cultures brings about changes and adaptations.

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The Milestone Round

Each week in the space, we learn about new clinical trials, the creation of psychedelic-based compounds and novel potential treatments for those suffering from mental and physical health conditions.

First, some considerable funding has been achieved. A Canadian company further distributed ownership to its advisory members through a private placement for almost $1.5M and a European clinical research organization raised over $2M in seed funding.  

Some of the weekly announcements pertain to the regulatory landscape for psychedelics-assisted therapy, with the launch of the American Psychedelic Practitioners Association and two novel online and in-person resources for further understanding of the field as well as networking opportunities.

Ketamine therapy, widely used for alcohol addiction treatment, is continuously seeing the telehealth modality grow. Regarding R&D, COMPASS Pathways CMPS announced it will lead two Phase 3 trials assessing psilocybin-assisted therapy for depression treatment, while the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research will conduct a clinical trial on psilocybin therapy for marijuana addiction.  

Plus, a novel product based on kratom has shown positive results in people with opioid use disorder, while a new biosynthetic psilocybin compound will soon get tested in clinical trials and psilocin will be so for anxiety disorders.

Psychedelics EFTs Weekly Performance

This is how the sector’s major EFTs performed in the week spanning October 10 to 14.

  • AdvisorShares Psychedelics PSIL closed Friday, Oct. 7 at $2.91 and began the week at $2.80 on Monday, slightly higher than the prior week. Nonetheless, the price began falling on that same day and reached its lowest point on Friday the 14th to $2.52. The highest value was achieved on Tuesday 11 at $2.89, also lower than the previous week’s $3.17.
    So far this year, the highest peak was at $6.04 on the first day of January, but consistently dropped, oscillating between $3.19 and $2.52 between September 16-October 14.  

  • The Elemental Advisors PSYK EFT PSYK is also down. Monday it opened at $18.40 after closing at $18.71 the prior week. The price moved up to $18.82 on Tuesday, then substantially fell through Wednesday and Thursday to $17.39, considering last week’s highest point at $19.28 (October 6.)
    For this EFT, the yearly price range has been between $23.32 and $16.71.

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Posted In: CannabisNewsPsychedelicsSmall CapMarketsalcohol addictionAmerican Psychedelic Practitioners AssociationAyahuascaBurning ManElon MuskJohns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness ResearchNative American ChurchNative AmericansPalo SantopeyotePsychedelic-Assisted Therapiesseed fundingSSRIsTim Schlidt
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