There are more than 10 publicly traded companies that are associated with the psychedelic industry, including Mind Medicine (MMEDF) , Champignon Brands (SHRMF) , Revive Therapeutics (RVVTF) , Mydecine Innovations Group Inc. (MYCOF) and Numinus Wellness (LKYSF) . There are even more private companies and the number is growing. Some stock jocks call this the “mush rush,” as they try to be clever with the word mushroom. Clearly, the cannabis industry was more adaptable to silly puns that psychedelics.
It was also way cheaper to get cannabis product to study even though most legitimate researchers had to go through the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) Drug Supply program. This is an onerous effort where researchers conducting trials of Schedule I substances are required to submit a research protocol to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) that includes details regarding the security provisions for storing and dispensing the substance. All of NIDA’s cannabis comes from the University of Mississippi, although NIDA is looking to change that.
NIDA was asked whether it provided psilocybin for drug research, but had not responded by the time of publication. According to drugs.com, there are over 180 species of mushrooms that contain the chemicals psilocybin or psilocin. Both psilocybin and psilocin can also be produced synthetically in the lab.
Psilocybin for Research
Scientists wanting to study psilocybin extracted from mushrooms face a challenging landscape. It is also a Schedule 1 drug and the companies that are hoping to capitalize on a surging interest in psilocybin treatments are finding limits to procuring product to test. Like the NIDA and its one college for cannabis, psychedelic companies have been limited to one source, Compass Pathways, for research-grade psilocybin. Until now.
Mydecine Innovations Group said this week it will exercise its cGMP capabilities under a special license to legally produce, transfer, sell, and export pharmaceutical-grade psilocybin, naturally derived from whole-mushroom extraction. This will disrupt the current monopoly of the product with Compass. The price for research-grade psilocybin is so high at this time, that capturing some market share could prove to be lucrative.
In a Quartz story, Matthew Johnson, a psychiatry and behavioral sciences professor at John Hopkins University who’s conducted extensive research on psilocybin, says he and his colleagues pay between $7,000 and $10,000 per gram. Johnson said that “it typically takes academics around a year to get psilocybin for their studies, as they wait for local institutional review board approval, FDA approval, and DEA approval.” This is a situation that is similar to cannabis.
So how did it come to pass that Compass cornered the psilocybin market?
In 2015, the company was created as a nonprofit charity organization focused on the effects of shrooms on end-of-life anxiety. The founders were a husband and wife…