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Medical or Therapeutic Psychedelics Industry in 2023

When psychedelic drugs were first introduced by the scientific community as an alternative treatment for several mental illnesses, the general populace around the world viewed them apprehensively. In fact, many doctors within the scientific community were skeptical about the efficacy and ethical issues that surrounded the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs. But times are changing now. The use of psychedelic drugs as a vital therapeutic medicine to manage mental health disorders is gradually gaining public acceptance. Once vilified and scorned, people are now becoming more open to treatments that use these drugs. Psychedelics like ketamine, LSD, and psilocybin are now being used to treat anxiety, depression, and PTSD in patients who have failed to respond to standard therapies.

Recent developments in the therapeutic psychedelic industry

COMPASS Pathways, a mental health care company, released a report in 2021 about the largest-ever clinical study on the effects of psilocybin. The study involved 233 people, and it was discovered that one dose of the drug, when combined with psychological help, significantly lowered the symptoms of depressive disorders. This study was a Phase 2 clinical trial, and there are more than 80 Phase 2 psychedelic drug trials now underway worldwide. The study on MDMA for the treatment of PTSD has reached Phase 3.

COMPASS Pathways anticipates receiving regulatory approval by 2023 in America and by 2024 in Europe. This will significantly improve the conditions of research and yield more positive results in the field of psychedelic medicine.

An increasing number of investors are also attempting to build enterprises with promising scientific and financial prospects in the psychedelic drug industry. This has placed the current market value of developers at around 10 billion USD. Experts believe that the value of the psychedelic healthcare sector will cross 2.4 billion USD by 2026. Studies also indicate that by 2027, the psychedelic drug industry will see a growth of 16.3%. These forecasts were centered on the efficacy of ketamine, MDMA, and psilocybin-assisted therapies, where the drugs are either currently being used in therapy or are almost ready for approval.

Growth of medical psychedelics

Many US cities and states are becoming interested in decriminalizing or legalizing psychedelic drugs like LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin. Oregon became the first state to take steps toward the legalization of the medical use of such drugs when it passed Oregon Ballot Measure 109 in 2020. Now the FDA is also expressing its interest in giving approval to several psychedelic medications. The FDA recognized psilocybin’s potential as a mental health support and safety record in 2019, naming it a “breakthrough therapy.” All this has become possible due to the mounting clinical evidence showing significant improvements in the mental health of people upon using psychedelic drugs compared to other conventional forms of therapy.

A lot of interest from the side of investors is due to the cost factor associated with the conventional treatment methods for the two most common mental health issues, namely depression and anxiety. According to the United Nations Secretary-General, the treatment of these two diseases costs around 1 trillion USD, which is borne by the world economy. But the increased efficiency of psychedelic drugs is expected to decrease this amount significantly, reducing the economic burden on economies worldwide.

Elliot Marseille, Director of GIPSE, gave a presentation at a psychedelic conference in New York. In his presentation, he discussed studies that indicated that over the next 10 years, treatments using psychedelic drugs may save insurers between $39.5 million and $46.7 million USD for every 1,000 patients.

All these monetary benefits will attract more investors into the psychedelic drug sector, which will further aid the exponential growth of the industry in the coming few years.

MDMA, psylobycin, and ketamine

Since the FDA recognized MDMA-assisted therapies as “breakthrough therapies,” the drug is now available for the treatment of patients. Revenue increases from therapist training and therapy have been predicted to be around $7 billion USD between 2023 and 2029. Similarly, ketamine-assisted treatment is predicted to rule the psychedelic healthcare industry until 2025.

David Wood, the general counsel at Psygen Industries Inc., a psychedelic pharmaceutical manufacturer in Calgary, Canada, is optimistic about the bright future of the psychedelic drug industry. He believes that when it becomes legal in North America to prescribe MDMA for medical purposes, the healthcare industry, especially mental health care, will be revolutionized. He believes that this is all set to happen by 2023 or 2024. Furthermore, he also expressed his optimism that the acceptance of such therapies will also skyrocket. This will lead to a new era in the history of medical science.

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A Guide to Psychedelics and Neuroplasticity

Psychedelics are a group of potent hallucinogenic substances that can alter mood, perception, and several cognitive functions. Psychedelic drugs include substances like LSD and plants like magic mushrooms and peyote.

Psychedelic drugs are now being extensively used for the treatment of psychiatric illnesses like anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction. These drugs have cognitive, anxiolytic, antiaddictive, and antidepressant effects on people without the habit-forming effect seen in conventional psychiatric drugs. This is making psychedelics an attractive treatment option in the field of psychiatry.

Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity, also called brain plasticity, is defined as the brain’s capability to change and adjust through development and rearrangement. It indicates the ability of the brain to reconfigure itself to function in a way different from how it did previously. These adaptations can be subtle, like new connections made along individual neural pathways, or more systematic, such as cortical remapping.

Neuroplasticity commonly occurs during certain situations, like when an individual learns a new skill or undergoes severe psychological stress. The brain learns new things when such events occur and rewires itself to accommodate these new learnings. Neuroplasticity can be developed using numerous methods like exercising, meditating, eating healthily, and sleeping adequately.

Neuroplasticity can be either functional or structural. The brain’s capacity to transfer functions from one injured area to another unharmed area is known as functional plasticity. The brain’s capacity to actually alter its physical makeup as an outcome of an experience is known as structural plasticity.

Psychedelics and neuroplasticity

A lot of studies are now being conducted by scientists to understand the effects of psychedelics on neuroplasticity. These studies are conducted by giving either a single dose of a psychedelic substance or multiple doses to a healthy test subject. Then the subacute, acute, and long-term effects the subjects suffer are studied. Preclinical research has demonstrated that following a single dose, psychedelic drugs acutely accelerate structural neuroplasticity mechanisms at the molecular and cellular levels. Studies on the long-term effects of reduced neurogenesis weeks following a single dosage of psychedelics have also been shown to induce molecular plasticity subacutely and neurogenesis acutely.

Additionally, a few preclinical investigations that looked into the connection between behavioral and biological adaptations have shown that greater learning capacity accompanied neuronal and molecular stimulation. Studies were also conducted on rodents to understand the relationship between psychedelics and neuroplasticity under stressful environments.

The sex of the test subject has also played an important role in the effects of psychedelics in preclinical studies. Research conducted on rodents has shown that male rats are more susceptible to increased anxiety levels after continuous administration of psychedelic drugs. Scientists consider that the female hormone estrogen is responsible for this difference.

The mechanism by which psychedelics stimulate neuroplasticity

The neuronal pathways that psychedelics trigger are thought to be the cause of the alterations in neuroplasticity that they cause. Traditional psychedelics influence the serotonergic receptor known as “2A.” Specific pathways are triggered when psychedelic drugs stimulate this receptor.

Two neurotransmitter systems, namely the excitatory glutamatergic system and the inhibitory serotonergic system, are activated as a result of these pathways. When they activate, two chemicals, glutamate and serotonin, are released. Another chemical called BDNF, or brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a clear indication of neuroplasticity, is also released.

Psychedelics and memory and learning

Numerous studies are now being done to understand the effects of psychedelics on memory and learning. To understand the effects of psychedelic drugs on a cellular level, brain organoids were created by scientists. Studies on these organoids have demonstrated that psychedelics enhance memory and learning to a great extent. Initial studies were conducted on rats. The rats showed a marked increase in novelty-seeking after continuous administration of the psychedelic drug LSD.

In studies conducted on healthy subjects, scientists discovered an increase in performance in memory tests after the consumption of psychedelic drugs. Scientists have concluded from this study that a single dosage of psychedelic drugs can increase neuroplasticity and improve cognition in healthy individuals for many days following the administration.

Stimulating neuroplasticity is a very controversial topic among scientists. This is because enough studies have not been conducted to understand how much neuroplasticity is good. Scientists are now trying to be cautious and find a balance.

In Conclusion

Psychedelics can truly revolutionize the fields of psychiatry and neurology. Psychedelics have already shown promise in the treatment of serious psychiatric conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Using psychedelic drugs in the field of neural medicine can help with several memory and cognitive disorders. This makes psychedelics the future of modern medicine.

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From Research to Reality

Recent years have seen a rapid resurgence of research focused on the use of psychedelics in the treatment of mental and substance use disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and alcohol and nicotine addiction.

Research programs in many countries are now studying the clinical benefits of psychedelics, but there are not a lot of channels to allow for knowledge sharing and collaboration. In addition, there are policy barriers that limit access to psychedelics for study. Finally, matters of equity, diversity and inclusion issues prevail in the field.

From Research to Reality (R2R) was created to address these issues. The goals of the conference are to stimulate knowledge exchange among researchers; help researchers and policymakers engage and address policy barriers and opportunities; and foster a culture of anti-oppression and inclusivity in the psychedelic space. That is, we want to shift the action from the research lab to the real-world clinical application, and start making a difference in the lives of those living with mental health and substance use disorders.

To this end, researchers, clinicians, policy-makers and people with lived experience will gather at the 2022 international conference in Toronto to break down barriers to progress, share original research, and build a network of knowledge-exchange opportunities.

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Psychedelic Therapeutics & Drug Development

Following the success of the 1st Annual Psychedelic Therapeutics and Drug Development Conference in 2021, we’re thrilled to be hosting the 2nd Annual event on May 23-24, 2022 in Washington, DC. This event has been organized to bring together the world’s leading researchers and leaders in academia, industry, the non-profit sector and government to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing those engaged in the research and development of psychedelics for various health conditions with considerable unmet need. This event will highlight the progress being made towards regulatory approval of a variety of psychedelics with the potential to treat various conditions, including inflammatory/autoimmune disorders, brain injury, pain, PTSD, anxiety, ADHD, headaches, depression, and opioid use disorder.

Our speakers and panelists will be covering important topics such as Clinical Trial Design, Intellectual Property, Regulatory Guidance, Psychedelic Drug Delivery, Commercialization, Legal Issues, Emerging Preclinical Science, and New Clinical Data among other topics. This event has been designed and curated for the benefit of key stakeholders in this burgeoning area and will provide practical guidance, discussion and networking.

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Cannabis Science Conference West

Cannabis Science Conference is the world’s largest & fastest growing cannabis science event. Our conferences have a specialized focus on analytical science, medical cannabis, cultivation science, hemp/CBD science & psychedelic science. We pull together cannabis industry experts, instrument manufacturers, testing labs, cultivators, research scientists, medical professionals, policy makers and interested novices. Our semi-annual event is aimed at improving cannabis science. Join us in Long Beach, CA (February 2-4, 2022) for exciting conferences with keynotes, presentations, round table discussions and exhibits.