Today’s Solutions: May 23, 2022

At The Optimist Daily, the magical power of mushrooms and, particularly, their psychedelic therapeutic benefits are things we cannot stop writing about. From adaptogen compounds to the forest neural networks they offer, we love everything mycelia. 

That’s why we were happy to hear about the United Kingdom opening its first commercial facility for medical trials of psilocybin (the psychedelic compound of mushrooms) on certain patients. 

Mainstream magic mushrooms

The United Kingdom has opened the first commercial facility in Europe for the testing of psychedelic drugs to help those in palliative care and terminal diagnoses. Clerkenwell Health will begin trials in its central London location in August, initially focusing on psilocybin treatments and poised to make the UK the lead researcher in psychedelic research and innovation. 

“Psychedelic assisted therapy could be groundbreaking for mental health treatment, and the UK is well placed to be at the vanguard of that as a global leader in clinical trials post-Brexit,” said Tom McDonald, the CEO at Clerkenwell Health.

“Our aim is to establish the UK as the heart of the commercial psychedelic research ecosystem, working closely with mental health experts and drug developers around the world to tackle some of the most complex mental health conditions.”

Widening the psychedelic scope

The development of multiple clinics and facilities where a variety of psychedelics are tested will be critical to determining which drugs work with which psychiatric disorders. These include mood and anxiety disorders, addiction, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The legal status of each drug is determined on the individual basis of each controlled substance, so the opening of Clerkenwell Health opens a door for other facilities to start testing individual drugs for certain conditions. 

“A set of very specific conditions need to be met to do psychedelic-assisted therapy; it’s quite a specialized area of expertise. The eight or so companies in clinical trials with psychedelic-based medicines heavily rely on contract research organizations to do this kind of research – particularly as they begin to enter [late-stage] clinical trials,” Peter Rands, the CEO at Small Pharma, which is trialing the use of dimethyltryptamine (DMT) to treat depression. 

A diverse system of facilities and clinics will widen the research pool into the effectiveness of these psychedelic compounds as well as the potential for abuse and how to address it. This is a critical step to making these compounds a mainstay of treatment for a host of mental disorders. 

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