PsyTech is launching the first-ever global network for psychedelic medicine. We are building a community of industry leaders, scientific researchers, medical professionals, enthusiasts and seasoned explorers, passionate entrepreneurs, intrepid investors, public policy influencers, and seasoned business development executives.
Our goal is ambitious: to build the psychedelic ecosystem by creating a community to foster the partnerships that will make impactful psychedelic medicine reproducible, accessible, and affordable.
It’s clear to all involved that therapeutic psychedelics will proliferate. The research is there and growing public sentiment supports it. I see an acceleration of the applicable research and therapeutic availability in the very near future.
Psychedelic medicine is an incredible union of both the mind and the brain. A person introduces a molecule into the brain that alters brain chemistry, but the effects have nothing to do with that molecule remaining in the body. The drug wears off and the effects last, perhaps indefinitely. Psychedelics affect the brain and enable a transformation of the mind.
- We’re seeing Ketamine clinics for depression in the U.S. because the demand and the outcomes are there and ketamine has an legal pathway traditional psychedelics don’t – yet.
- Amongst the biggest news is that the US FDA gave breakthrough drug status to psilocybin based on the studies that came largely out of Johns Hopkins, bolstered by other accredited institutions. I think once those Phase 3 trials are reliably delivering the expected – and astonishing – results, you’re going to see just like in cannabis early-adopter US states decriminalizing psilocybin. Then you’ll see a proliferation of professional medical clinicians conducting psilocybin-assisted psychiatry which will be followed by other psychedelic compounds. We will see microdosing products available over the counter by prescription as alternatives to SSRIs. Right now, the clinical protocols need to be well defined.
Though it begins with therapy for psychiatric disorders, there will come a wellness revolution as well. I think you’ll be able to buy psilocybin over counters at the same shops that sell cannabis sometime in the future.
I don’t expect to see what’s referred to as heroic doses or full psychedelic trip doses being handed to people even with the prescription over any counter. Because set and setting matter so much. Guidance is the difference between a safe application of these compounds and an unsafe application.
Nobody should be taking heroic doses of LSD or psilocybin or ketamine or MDMA on their own in an unstructured environment. For real psychotherapeutic uses, it’s got to remain in safe environments with trained professional guides and therapists. The point is that it should be legal and accessible. That’s where the changes are going to lie.
I tell investors that psychedelics today are where cannabis was years ago in terms of the stigma. The use of these plant based compounds goes back thousands of years. And LSD is really plant-based as well. It’s a synthetic version of the ergot fungus. But even with LSD, there was so much good research done between the late-40s and mid-60s that’s being rediscovered. I tell investors, this is going to happen. This is happening. The stigma is no worse than it was with cannabis. Psychedelics are even more driven by science in that there’s a much greater body of clinical research.
There are some very significant players who are worthy of investors’ attention. Companies that are building the ecosystem to enable this market to advance rapidly and professionally. I tell investors to look at the people who are doing research on biodynamics. Look to the clinics and retreat centers with the best ethos and the best protocols, look to the people who are observing, qualifying and quantifying the effects of these compounds on the brain and assessing the mitigating and external factors.
Two Research Trends
Research is going to be focused in two directions in the next several years. First, which drugs for which ailments and at what dose? Some people say to give a huge dose of ketamine to treat PTSD and it will last many months, maybe a year. Others are saying no, give a very low dose of ketamine so that it feels like a sedative, and give it one day a week, or once every two weeks for six weeks for a lasting effect for three months.
Second, research around personalized medicine, in other words, once the drug and dosage are established, what about set and setting? How does Body Mass Index or lifestyle matter? Personalized medicine means doctors will figure out how to provide therapy based on a multitude of personal, idiosyncratic factors. We could get to a point where six to ten different lifestyle factors are used to indicate exactly how medicine is delivered, in what set and setting, and over what period of time.
The Near Future
Psychedelic medicine will evolve to a point where people will be given the space to cure themselves of depression and to think in different, healthier ways. These elements, personalized medicine, different uses for different indications, psychiatric therapy and trip guidance are all going to improve – rapidly. Ultimately, those factors will absolutely reduce the use of and dependence on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and other antidepressants. And big pharma is going to be made to understand that there’s a place for psychedelics and that people are going to demand access to those therapies. The success rates are so compelling that it’s an inevitability. I think we’ll see the drug companies lean into this movement in relatively short order.
I’m excited to be a part of building the psychedelic industry. We can build companies that do well financially and therefore sustainable and do good for people. That’s a rare opportunity. That’s one of the things that motivates me. To do well and good at the same time. The other thing that motivates me is psychedelics is a whole new way of thinking about therapy. A hundred years ago, we were focused on the mind, Sigmund Freud’s era, of psychoanalyzing analyzing what motivates us. Now a hundred years later, we’re focused almost entirely on a purely materialist view of brain-chemistry that motivates us. And the drugs used in psychiatry reflect that and are all based on augmenting brain chemistry continuously, so that when you stop using the drug, you stop getting the effect.
Our goal in building the community is to grow a global ecosystem and a community of thought leaders and decision makers to move this space forward. So whether you’re a botanist or a mycologist (someone who studies mushrooms), an MD, a biochemist, a psychologist or psychiatrist, or an anesthesiologist and you’re researching the clinical uses of these compounds, we want you in the community. If you are an officer in a company, an investor, an entrepreneur… If you are developing a business in this area, you’ll be missing out if you don’t join the PsyTech network.
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Hayim Raclaw is the managing director at PsyTech. He is an adventurous business leader driven by the double bottom line of doing well financially and doing good in the world. He is experienced in international business development and financing and has spent his 20+ year career building global healthcare companies. Recently, Hayim led the iCAN:Israel-Cannabis Incubator, and took the helm at PsyTech in February 2020. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org