There has never been a time when interest in psychedelic medicines and their benefit has been higher. Part of this is due to an interest in psychedelics by scholars, clinicians, universities, and even the government, for decades. It has taken this long for people to soften their feeling about psychedelics, however the countless studies, papers in peer-reviewed journals, and shared experiences by friends and families is something that can only be ignored for so long.
This softening received a boost as the popularity of marijuana waxes and the government eases its hardline treatment of cannabis. This was a necessary organic step in the process as cannabis is not seen as a “hard” drug, a category that psychedelics like MDMA, psilocybin, mescaline, LSD, are often lumped into. The public conception of all drugs has an hierarchy where some drugs are seen tame, others as hardcore, a few as taboo. There simply was no way that psychedelics would have been legalized or decriminalized before a “plant,” something that is perceived of to be safer and has far less of a stigma associated with it.
Here we are in a day and age when states are taking a hard look at cannabis as a legitimate industry and at decriminalizing or legalizing some or all drugs. Even the “feds” are reconsidering their stance on some of the substances. The best part about the fact that psychedelics are being considered as an industry to follow the cannabis industry, is that it has the backing of clinicians, psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists based on hundreds of university studies. and now pharmaceutical studies.
Like the benefits of marijuana, the benefits of psychedelics are too great for local and federal governments to brush off. Society has much to gain when it uses cannabis or psychedelics to help people deal with, cope with, manage, and even kick mental disorders like anxiety, depression, suicide ideation, panic attacks, PTSD and even opiate addiction.
So, it is no surprise that psychedelics medicines have attracted investors and there have now sprouted many professional companies within the burgeoning industry.
On Thursday, February 25th, it was announced that thanks to donations amounting in $10 million, NYU would establish the Langone Center for Psychedelic Medicine which would concentrate on medicine, psychiatry, preclinical research, as well as create a dedicated psychedelic medicine research training program. The donations came from sources like Dr. Bronner’s Soaps, the Heffter Research Institute, Pennant Investors founder Alan Fournier, Usona Institute, and the lion’s share – to the tune of $5 million dollars – coming from New York-based MindMed, who is an industry leader in conducting clinical trials on psychedelic drugs for anxiety and opioid use disorder.
Leading up to the announcement, NYU Langone had been utilizing clinical trials to evaluate the use of MDMA as a way to treat PTSD, as well as psilocybin to treat those with severe depression and alcoholism.
MindMed whose company mission is to use psychedelic medicines to combat mental health issues, had already been working with NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s psychiatry department since 2009, specifically with Ibogaine-derived molecule 18-MC which shows promise in diminishing the effects of opiate withdrawal.