According to a new poll conducted by Hill-HarrisX, 65% of registered voters say psychedelic substances do not have medical use.
That’s far more than psychedelic legalization advocates would like, but far less than I would’ve expected. Given nearly 50 years of anti-psychedelics propaganda, most of which has been funded and diffused by the US government, to see that 35% of registered voters believe psychedelics do have medical use is pretty impressive.
Still, this poll definitely exposes a reality that psychedelics legalization advocates must deal with: lack of education and awareness will provide roadblocks to decriminalization and legalization efforts.
Truth is, most folks just don’t know much about psychedelics at all. And I don’t say this as a criticism, but rather an observation of truth.
They don’t know the history of psychedelics.
They don’t know that some of these molecules have been used for medicinal purposes for decades, even centuries.
They don’t know where most of these molecules come from, how they’re made, and how they’re now being studied by some of the world’s most prestigious researchers and universities.
They don’t know that in 2018, researchers at Johns Hopkins University published results from a smoking cessation study that used psilocybin (the psychedelic compound in magic mushrooms), to treat smoking addiction.
The results were quite positive, showing an 80% success rate. Compare that to the most effective smoking cessation treatment on the market today, which maintains a success rate of about 30%.
They don’t know that last month, a Phase 3 Clinical Trial of MDMA-assisted therapy for PTSD achieved successful results for patients with severe and chronic PTSD.
That study, run by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (M.A.P.S.), showed that 67% of study participants who received three MDMA-assisted therapy sessions no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis and 88% experienced a clinically meaningful reduction in symptoms.
This is a very big deal, and will likely facilitate FDA approval as soon as next year.
They don’t know that the FDA has granted “Breakthrough Therapy” designation for multiple companies studying various psychedelic medicines.
If you’re unfamiliar, Breakthrough Therapy designation is a process designed to expedite the development and review of drugs that are intended to treat a serious condition and preliminary clinical evidence indicates that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over available therapy on a clinically significant endpoint(s).
They don’t know that a company called MindMed (NASDAQ:MNMD) is running clinical trials addressing anxiety with LSD-assisted therapy, adult ADHD with non-hallucinogenic doses of LSD, and addiction with ibogaine.
They don’t know that a company called Cybin, Inc. (OTC:CLXPF) is running clinical trials addressing major depressive disorder using psilocybin. Worth noting is that most investors don’t know that Cybin is likely to uplist to a senior US exchange later this year.
They don’t know that a company called Entheon Biomedical (OTC:ENTBF) is developing a DMT-assisted therapeutic protocol specifically tailored to address substance abuse disorders.
They don’t know that a company called BetterLife Pharma (OTC:BETRF) is currently running preclinical IND-enabling studies using non-hallucinogenic LSD to treat major depressive disorder.
They don’t know that a company called Compass Pathways (NASDAQ:CMPS) is conducting a randomized controlled phase 2b study of psilocybin therapy for the treatment of what is still known as treatment-resistant depression.
They don’t know that psychedelics represent the closest thing we’ve seen to any kind of major disruption to the $121 billion mental wellness industry in more than 50 years.
As an investor in the psychedelics space, it’s my job to know these things. But I don’t expect most folks to know any of this. Why would they?
Truth is, by the time the masses learn the truth about psychedelic medicines, most of the companies I just mentioned will be completing their Phase 3 clinical trials, or in some cases, actually have their therapies approved by the FDA and available to the people who need them.
Of course, investors who understand the concept of “getting in early” won’t wait until then to get some exposure to this space. They’re getting proper exposure now, while many of these stocks are still fairly cheap. Certainly I am, and I would recommend that if you have any interest in investing in mental illness treatments and therapies, (which I should mention have seen a huge uptick in demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis), that you start taking some meaningful positions today.
Full disclosure: I currently own shares of MNMD, CLXPF, BETRF, and ENTBF
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.
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