Psyched: Psychedelic Therapy In The Workplace, UCL's Brain Imaging Study, COMPASS Trials And More

Psychedelic Therapy Now Available As Workplace Benefit, Free Month For Laid-Off Tech Workers

Psychedelic healthcare insurance plans provider Enthea announced it will launch its services into 40 markets across the US in 2023 with the idea of making psychedelic-assisted therapies affordable, accessible and equitable through workplace benefits. 

To aid in the rollout and help its provider network grow, Entea raised $2 million in a seed round led by Tabula Rasa Ventures.

“From our perspective, Enthea could be the most impactful organization the psychedelic therapeutics sector has seen to date. No other company is taking such an innovative approach using market forces to increase access to psychedelic therapies. We see the long-term financial benefits this can have on our healthcare system,” said Marik Hazan, Tabula Rasa managing partner and founder.

Enthea will offer employers funding by allowing them to include these new treatments as part of their health care coverage to employees and their families. While plans currently cover ketamine-assisted therapy, MDMA and psilocybin-assisted therapies will be added following FDA approval expected in the next one to two years. 

On the other hand, Field Trip Health & Wellness understands the mental health assistance need triggered by recent massive layoffs of workers in the tech industry, and is offering them a free month of Field Trip’s “Freedom” ketamine therapy program.

A hybrid composed of ketamine-assisted therapy (KAP) and additional wellness practices, the new treatment program was built on an evidence-based, in-clinic protocol to aid in a flexible healing journey through conditions such as anxiety, depression and diminished self-worth.

Although ketamine has usually been studied for treating depression cases, Field Trip’s CEO Ronan Levy believes that KAP can be “powerfully transformative for people dealing with some of the more common challenges of everyday life,” as the substance can increase production of brain neurotransmitter glutamate, which helps establish new brain pathways.

Starting Nov. 30, “Freedom” is available in California and Washington with individual consultations occurring on a first-come-first-serve basis during December. 

Psychedelic Experiences: UCL Leads First-Ever Brain Imaging Study In Retreat Participants

Public psychedelics practitioner training program F.I.V.E. is set to collaborate with Tandava Retreats and University College London (UCL) on what will be the first-ever EEG brain imaging study of 5-MeO-DMT done in retreat center participants.

While the psychoactive compound traditionally derives from the Sonoran Desert toad Bufo alvarius, Tandava Retreats uses synthetic 5-MeO-DMT in support of species conservation and sourcing sustainability.

“We have found the experience of synthetic 5-MeO-DMT to be identical in nature to the toad secretion, which is important to note during the rise in popularity of this medicine," Tandava CEO Joel Brierre said. "Not only is synthetic safer and more effective to use with participants, but it has the repeatable consistency and precision dosage needed for proper research to be done.”

In order to understand the effects of the substance on mental health and well-being, it is necessary to look at the actual contexts in which it is used, according to the study’s PI Jeremy Skipper. This will make it possible to understand whether individual differences in brain responses are associated with the different meanings people make of their experiences.

“We hope to contribute not only to a better scientific understanding of how 5-MeO-DMT works in the brain, but also to enabling individualized approaches that maximize the efficacy of 5-MeO-DMT therapies and retreats,” Skipper said.

The “Uncovering the neural and subjective effects of 5-methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine” study expects to count with the participation of 32 people engaged in ceremonial 5-MeO-DMT practices at Tandava Retreats in Tepoztlán, Mexico, through spontaneous neural imagery using electroencephalography (EEG) both before and during the psychoactive experience.

Psychedelics And Treatment-Resistant Depression: COMPASS Pathways Replies To Comments

In order to get all sides of the issue on the table and a clearer understanding of what the results of COMPASS Pathways CMPS’ latest Phase 2b trials mean, Benzinga interviewed Dr. Steve Levine, the company's SVP on patient access and medical affairs, who worked closely with PI Dr. Guy Goodwin on the study.

One of the most resounding concerns over these trials focused on seemingly “uneven proportions of severely depressed people” within the three dose groups, pointing out that the 25mg arm would have included “significantly fewer” participants of this population.

Levine recalled that, as for the interpretation, the primary endpoint in the study was the change measured from baseline to three weeks in the MADRAS depression score and, taking this into account, topline results showed there were no meaningful differences in the mean score across all three 25mg, 10mg and 1mg groups.

“Specifically, supplemental table 4 shows the baseline MADRAS severity did not affect efficacy on that primary outcome. So I question the interpretation of what the critic is looking at, because within a study you may see some differences in the raw numbers, but that differs from what is statistically significant, what actually can be shown to be due other than the chance and actually affect the outcome,” Levine told Benzinga.

While the study had some numerical differences in mean baseline MADRAS scores, table 4 evidence shows those were not meaningful across the groups, and the baseline severity of the MADRAS score was uncorrelated with psilocybin’s clinical efficacy, he explained.

A second review stood out in the form of an accompanying editorial in the medical journal where COMPASS’ trial results were published. This one pointed at the potential difficulty of scaling up clinical trial protocols to broader patient populations.

Levine’s extensive reply to the trial's comments and COMPASS' foregoing plans can be found HERE.

The Milestone Round

Each week, 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.

Irwin Naturals IWINFQ3 report shows a 7% decline in revenue, but an analyst believes this company is next to become the leader in what will be a $50 billion industry.

Several companies have filed patent applications, including Incannex Healthcare IXHL’s for the treatment of obstructive sleep apnea, PsyBio PSYBF’s multiple filings for production methodology, host strains and processes (including the synthetic production of toad venom,) and Red Light Holland's TRUFF attempt for IP coverage of 3D movement data usage in psychedelic therapy.

Concerning clinical studies, COMPASS’ psilocybin compound COMP360 keeps delivering positive outcomes, this time for the treatment of Type II bipolar disorder. Interestingly, two upcoming studies will assess “ancillary” or supporting, parallel services to the ingestion of psychedelics: Berlin’s Freie Universitat and Imperial College London will study how light and sound might emulate psychedelics’ benefits

Political reform was, of course, also happened this week: Colorado’s new psychedelics decrim and legalization measure deserved a three-part exclusive series with insights from one of the proposal’s co-authors. 

Meanwhile, Congress is urging more research on psychedelics and marijuana for active military members, and psychedelics expert and Numinus NUMIF CEO Payton Nyquvest gave his view on when psychedelics might become federally legal.   

Access the prior week’s roundup HERE.

Psychedelics EFTs Weekly Performance

This is how the sector’s major EFTs performed in the week spanning December 5-9.

  • AdvisorShares Psychedelics PSIL opened Monday, Dec. 5 at $2.35, higher than prior week’s opening at $2.26. Yet the week saw that number go all the way down to the yearly lowest, stagnant and closing at $2.15 on Friday, Dec. 9. The former week’s lowest was set at $2.25, and closed at its highest point ($2.42) on Friday, Dec. 2.

  • The Elemental Advisors PSYK EFT PSYK opened Monday, Dec. 5 at $18.68, a nice figure considering prior week’s opening at $17.95, which was already a slight increase considering previous week’s opening at $17.62. Nonetheless, that number dropped to $18.26 on Tuesday, Dec. 6, slightly rised at $18.37 on Wed. 7, to then keep falling up to closing at $17.67 on Friday Dec. 9, certainly lowest than prior week’s extraordinary closing at $19.15, yet also lower than previous week’s closing at $18.22.
    For this EFT, the yearly price range is set between $23.32 and $16.71.

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Posted In: CannabisNewsPenny StocksPsychedelicsSmall CapLegalMarketsCompass PathwaysEntheaF.I.V.E.Field Trip Health & Wellness LtdPsychedelic-Assisted TherapiesTandava RetreatsUniversity College London
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