Psychodelic Drugs Go Mainstream

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LSD is still an illegal drug on the streets, and it probably will always be illegal outside of a medical context.

LSD is just one of a range of psychedelic drugs drug companies are studying. They want to find out how psychedelics could be used safely. Studies have shown how these drugs can help with a range of illnesses from alcoholism to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

History

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Recreational use of psychedelic drugs is centuries old. From mescaline (sourced from the Peyote cactus) to magic mushrooms, people have used these compounds to make themselves feel good.

LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) was discovered in Switzerland in 1938 and is the best-known hallucinogen. Possession of LSD was made illegal in the U.S. in 1968.

In the 1950s and 1960s, there was a lot of scientific interest in psychedelic therapy to treat alcohol addiction, anxiety, and depression. The research was promising but was brought to a screeching halt by the social and political backlash against hippie counter-culture.

Patient studies ended soon after government-sponsored research ended following LSD being made illegal. There were no American studies into LSD for more than 40 years.

Ecstasy, scientific name – MDMA (3,4-Methyl​enedioxy​methamphetamine), is widely used recreationally, but was discovered in 1912, and was used to help in psychotherapy. It is currently illegal in the U.S. and most other countries, though scientific studies are ongoing to find out if it has any value in medicine.

Current Research

In 2014 a new U.S. study showed the benefits of LSD and psychedelic therapy to alleviate anxiety in patients suffering from life-threatening illnesses. Similar results are being found in the U.K., Australia, and Europe.

The race is on. Anxiety, addiction, depression, and PTSD are BIG problems. Demand for any new medication or therapy will likely outstrip supply. Drug prices will be high for any new treatment, profits will increase and companies will recoup their investments.

Many studies into psychedelic drugs are ongoing in Europe. Imperial College, London, the University of Basel, and the University of Zurich are all centres of excellence in this field.

The New England Journal of Medicine reports a double-blind, controlled, and randomized trial into the treatment of depression. The study compared the effectiveness of Psilocybin, the active ingredient in ‘magic mushrooms, with traditional SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant treatment. Psilocybin was found to be more effective in some patients, though the effects were short-lived.

FDA Approval

FDA approval of any new psychedelic therapy treatment will be a game-changer. The first companies to get their psychotherapy drugs approved will recoup their investment and research costs many times over.

Drug research has long timelines and patent protection that only lasts 20 years. Clinical trials last 6 or 7 years, and even then the FDA approval process has to run its course.

Medical vs. Recreational Use

Every medicine has harmful effects if misused. This applies equally to mind-altering drugs used in psychedelic therapy.

LSD is not addictive, but increasing doses are required overtime to have the same effect. We must avoid psychological dependence on psychedelic drugs. Nobody wants to add to our drug addiction problems.

Typical recreational use of psychedelic drugs would typically involve someone taking an ecstasy pill from a stranger in a nightclub. There is no monitoring, no dose control, and no medical help on hand.

Compare that to a situation where someone is given a known dose of a branded medication by a medical professional who knows your medical history and in a controlled environment where adverse reactions are monitored.

Psychedelic Stocks

Very few drugs that begin initial Phase I trials ever make it to FDA approval, so when this does happen it has a monumental impact on the drug maker’s profits.

Share prices rise based on good news. ‘News’ may be speculative and never result in any real boost to company profits, so investors always need to evaluate any speculation and rumour before buying stock in a company.

Psychedelic Stocks are set to benefit from the recent resurgence of research into psychedelic drugs. At the moment companies are investing in expensive research, but if any of that research works out and results in an FDA-approved treatment for anxiety, depression, or PTSD, you can be sure the share price will surge.

Many psychedelic stocks are not listed on any stock exchange and are only traded on OTC (over-the-counter) markets. Find a stockbroker who specializes in OTC stocks if you plan to invest in this sector.

When one company gets its therapy approved, the whole sector will become hot. Investors will want to jump in while share prices are low, even if no immediate FDA approval is imminent. Up-to-date information is crucial to help you decide whether, and when, to invest in this market sector.