Decrim Canada; Tania de Jong Interview; Therapsil does God's Work; MindMed's LSD for Cluster Headaches

Good morning, welcome to The Trip Report for Wednesday, June 10th.

Today we’re taking a look at:

  • Canada’s Decriminalization Efforts

  • An interview with Tania de Jong of Mind Medicine Australia

  • MindMed’s LSD for Cluster Headaches Phase II

  • Therapil’s plea for Compassionate use in Canada

  • And more

Canada Steps up Decriminalization Efforts

The Canadian Psychedelic Association and Decriminalize Nature Canada are collecting signatures to petition the House of Commons to reconsider the prohibition against psychedelics and plant medicines:

We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to:

1. Immediately discontinue enforcement of statutes or regulations that prohibit or impose onerous restrictions on informed adult use, growing, or sharing of any plant or fungi, where an established record of traditional use exists;

2. Affirm these practices are protected by the Charter guarantees of liberty and justice, as well as freedom of belief, religion, expression, and peaceful assembly, and extend the cultural and social exemptions afforded under the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971 to Canada; and

3. Amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Food and Drug Act and regulations to distinguish and exempt these organisms when used for therapeutic practices, as adjuncts to medical care, for healing ceremonies or solitary spiritual growth and self-development.

Shit is getting real up North.

I spoke with Trevor Millar, an early Ibogaine advocate, activist and clinic operator, MAPS Canada Chairman and Founding Member of the Canadian Psychedelic Association a few weeks ago. He told me that in Canada, any petition that receives 500 signatures will be read in parliament. However, they are not fucking around and have set the ambitious goal of collecting half a million signatures to send a clear message to parliament that they are for real.

They have recruited Paul Manly, a member of parliament as a sponsor for the bill, and are mobilizing media campaigns, education, and outreach to reach their goal.

This is legit.

So, you know what to do—sign and share the goddam thing!

Check out Trevor Millar’s impassioned argument here.

When it comes time to make the biopic is there any doubt Jared Leto should play Millar?

Tania de Jong Interview & Psychedelic Therapist Training Down Under

Mind Medicine Australia has launched the first opportunity for therapists to receive Psychedelic Assisted Therapy in Australia:

The Certificate in Psychedelic-Assisted Therapies (CPAT) has been developed primarily to meet the anticipated demand for trained therapists to provide regulatory-approved and research-backed psychedelic-assisted therapies for the treatment of mental ill-health in Australia. It is also expected that trained clinicians will be needed to work in research trials as they expand in the Australia.

Learn More

Excerpt of Tania de Jong Interview

How did you get involved in psychedelic research and policy? How did you come to start Mind Medicine Australia? 

Taking an illegal substance had never occurred to me until stumbling across Michael Pollan’s article in The New Yorker magazine titled  ‘The Trip Treatment’ via a blog I received from Tim Ferriss. Reading it not only made me aware for the first time of the current resurgence in psychedelic research, but also helped me to understand how these ancient plant medicines were assisting people to heal from depression and trauma and come to terms with end-of-life anxiety. And something about this resonated so strongly with me. From that point on, my interest in trying these hallucinogenic plants for myself began to grow.

What could psychedelics teach me about who I am or who I could be? What unknown parts of myself and our cosmos could they grant me access to? Being born Jewish and having lost many of my relatives in the Holocaust, I’ve lived with transgenerational trauma for as long as I can remember.

So I recruited the support of Peter Hunt, my partner at the time, and now husband, and we set out on a quest to have a therapeutic experience with psilocybin mushrooms. Having lost his father to suicide in his early teens, Peter was also interested in dealing with past traumas in a way he’d never thought available to him.

However, being able to do this in a safe and legal setting proved difficult. This was important to us. After first trying, and failing, to get into multiple trials happening globally at the time, we were eventually referred to a private therapist in the Netherlands, where the use of psychoactive truffles is legal. Our search over, we flew overseas, met him, and ingested a large dose of psilocybin.

Go Here for Full Interview

Therapsil Continues to do God’s Work

“In January 2017, Bruce Tobin, a psychotherapist and professor at the University of Victoria, applied to the minister of health for a special exemption that would enable him to legally possess and use psilocybin to treat patients experiencing end-of-life distress.

After three years, he said his application was rejected in early March on “the basis that there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate the medical need for psilocybin.”

Now, Tobin has pivoted his focus to helping individual patients apply directly to Hajdu for special exemptions with the assistance of his group TheraPsil.”

A few months ago we featured Therapsil as a Psychedelic Non-Profit Worth Supporting and readers listened! In the last month Champignon, some other company, and now Field Trip Health have all announced support for Bruce Tobin and Therapsil to bring psilocybin compassionate use for the terminally ill.

But there’s always haters:

“Dr. Martin Chasen, a palliative care physician and the medical director for palliative care at William Osler Health System in Ontario, noted that in studies on psilocybin, psychotherapy sessions are mandatory as part of the treatment, patients are carefully selected, and the drug is administered in a controlled environment.

“A multisite study in a larger and more diverse patient population should be conducted to establish the generality and safety of psilocybin treatment of psychological distress associated with life-threatening cancer,” he said.”

There’s an irony in a palliative care doctor advocating for more safety data on a fungus that humans have been consuming for thousands of years in order to administer it to the terminally ill.

He sounds like the kinda guy who would advise against parachute use when jumping out of a plane because of the paucity of data.

Show him this.

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MindMed doses first Cluster Headache Patients

“MindMed is supporting and collaborating on a Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating LSD for the treatment of cluster headaches at University Hospital Basel's Liechti Lab. The Phase 2 trial began recruiting patients in early January and has commenced treating patients with LSD…

Non-clinical and anecdotal evidence suggests LSD can abort attacks and decrease the frequency and intensity of the attacks. There is a need for new treatment approaches for cluster headaches as current available medications often mismanage cluster attack periods. 

The Phase 2 trial is investigating the effects of an oral LSD pulse regimen (3 x 100 µg LSD in three weeks) in 30 patients suffering from Cluster Headaches compared with placebo. The study is a Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled two-phase cross-over study design.”

There is some preliminary research into LSD for cluster headache:

The response of Cluster Headache to Psilocybin and LSD

The non-hallucinogen 2-bromo-lysergic acid diethylamide as preventative treatment for cluster headache: An open, non-randomized case series

As we covered in a previous Pro dispatch there is strong reason to suspect that Psychedelics can be useful for chronic pain via neuroconceptual modulation, a term I made up and for which I am very proud, from that piece:

Psychedelics promote neurological flexibility (neuroplasticity) and psychological flexibility.

I have the sense that most people get that the ‘wiring’ of neural circuits is implicated in everything we do, feel, behave, believe, etc. Every movement, concept, word, belief, taste, smell, etc. everything that we experience is produced/associated with a pattern of neural activity. This is called a neurotag.

But what I think is less appreciated is that the beliefs, conceptualizations, priors, and understanding we have about ourselves, reality, the nature of consciousness (told you I was going meta) also feedback upon the neurotags themselves.

The body self neuromatrix theory. Melzack R. Published in Pain ...

The belief and understanding that we have about our condition, whether it is a depression or persistent pain impacts the durability of the condition.

Since our beliefs and understanding are stored in patterns of neural activity, an agent that has the capacity to disrupt these patterns and allow a window of malleability can change both the structure of these connections and the beliefs, conceptualizations, priors, and understanding we have.

This is what I mean by neuro-conceptual modulation.

Compared to chronic pain or phantom limb pain, Cluster Headaches probably have a different mechanism of action that is perhaps less dependent on the ‘neuro-conception’ (belief/understanding) but I am willing to be there is probably some overlap.

LSD isn’t just for the Kids Anymore

“LSD use in the US jumped 56.4% from 2015 to 2018. Results from the present study can inform prevention and harm reduction efforts (e.g., co-morbid substance use interventions, health messaging).”

We can no longer ignore the potential of psychedelic drugs to treat depression

“Right now, we are crunching data from a much larger depression trial that compares psilocybin-assisted therapy with a six-week course of a conventional antidepressant drug, a “Prozac-like” selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). Preliminary analyses indicate game-changing results…

Many of the insights these compounds awaken are of a Buddhist sort, and although timelessly relevant, they feel particularly so today: the self as illusory, suffering as inevitable, attachment as a common cause of suffering, impermanence as fundamental, and slowing down, contemplation, breath, and community as potent resources.”

Magic mushrooms and mental health: could psychedelic drugs treat depression?

David Nutt explains how psychedelic drugs could have a therapeutic effect on mental illness.

“Beyond that, one of the most common positive experiences of people under psychedelics is that they see the world differently. They get insights into their own behaviour – particularly their own behaviour but also into other people’s behaviour – which they didn’t get before, and they kind of understand things [better].

Those insights can be profound and people can change as a result – change their whole behaviour; change their way of life.”

Effectiveness and Safety of Intravenous Ketamine for Severely Depressed Patients Unable to Receive Electroconvulsive Therapy Due to Medical Risks

“Despite initial promising results, the use of ketamine and its derivative esketamine in depression still warrants caution before widespread use.4 Nevertheless, for our depressed patients unable to receive ECT due to medical risks, ketamine averted a lengthy treatment course characterized by persistence of severe depressive symptoms.”

Champignon Selects Dalriada as CRO

“Champignon Brands… has selected Toronto-based Dalriada Drug Discovery Inc. (“Dalriada”) to advance its new chemical entity (“NCE”) IP portfolio as it pertains to ketamine and psilocybin/psilicin molecular scaffolds.”

How the War on Drugs Enables Police Brutality Against Black People

“The dynamic works in many ways: drugs are the trigger for the initial contact in many fatal confrontations between armed police and unarmed black people; intoxication is treated by police as a criminal rather than a medical problem; someone’s involvement with drugs is used in court to exonerate violent and lethal actions by law enforcement, and the chance of any police officer receiving justice for killing a black person who has anything to do with drugs is incredibly slim.”

What if a Shaman Could Solve All Your Problems, in Three Days?

My first thought upon seeing this headline from the New York Times was a double “oi vei.”

First, the implication that someone else solves our problems is a subtle yet pernicious narrative in certain areas of medicine and mental health that undermines active participation in a therapeutic alliance.

Second, was the implication that an esoteric system is a magic bullet that conventional “Western” medicine is missing.

Rather than a self-help flavored promise, it is a review of Broken People by Sam Lansky, not an actual account of hyped-up transformation. But of course, Ayahuasca does feature as the esoteric tonic.

Dog rushed to vet after it eats human poo filled with magic mushrooms at beach

I am sorry, I couldn’t resist. The story doesn't hold up under scrutiny and not worth your time, however, I couldn't resist.

Protests Drive DC Psychedelics Decriminalization Signatures As Activists Launch Major Mailer Campaign

“Protests in the nation’s capital have helped drive about 5,000 new signatures for a local Washington, D.C. psychedelics decriminalization measure over the past week, organizers say.”

Alright, that’s it for this week. If you’re keen for a more in-depth analysis, puns and long-form articles join The Trip Report Pro every Monday and Friday.