Sunday, May 9, 2021

We have a lot of fungus between us

Inside a state-of-the-art lab located in an industrial neighborhood on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, employees wearing protective suits carefully walk around two clear boxes to not disrupt tubes and sensors that keep temperature and humidity constant. There are mushrooms inside the boxes.

But not just any mushroom. They are psychedelic – “magic” – mushrooms that start-up Numinous Wellness believes can one day be used to treat mental health conditions as diverse as depression, substance abuse, and anxiety.

Welcome to ‘Shroom Boom’. While Numinous is using mushrooms to perform mind-altering treatments, other mushroom growers are promising other benefits, such as strengthening the immune system or reducing inflammation. Mushrooms are appearing in all types of wellness products, pushing them into the mainstream and making mushrooms a major force in the flourishing, multibillion-dollar wellness market.

These days it’s hard to throw a rock and not kill a mushroom.

A top-selling coffee on Four Sigmatic by Amazon is made with Shaga mushrooms, which promise immune support and stress relief. Mushroom supplements that claim to support the immune system, reduce inflammation and improve mood can be found in health and wellness stores, but also in major retailers such as Nordstrom and Urban Outfitters. Om Hot Chocolate says that it will help you concentrate and de-stress. For $ 96, the beauty brand Mara sells a vitamin C serum containing sage mushrooms that it claims will reduce inflammation.

“As a food, mushrooms are a lot of things to them in terms of their nutritional value,” said Joshua Lambert, co-director of the Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health at Penn State College for Agricultural Sciences. “But one of the things we’re looking at are other compounds that are mushrooms and other plants that can have significant health benefits.”

The latest range for mushrooms may be the most interesting – and the most complex. Last November, Oregon became the first state Legalize psilocybin, the main active ingredient in “magical” mushrooms, for the treatment of some mental health conditions in supervised settings. In March, New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang said New York State should Legalize Psychedelic Mushroom, a stick he picked up 2019 When he was a Democratic presidential candidate.

Regulators in the United States and Canada are taking baby steps toward allowing limited use of psychedelic mushrooms, which cause visual and auditory hallucinations after hours of ingestion to treat certain mental health conditions. Popular as part of the counterculture in the 1960s, magic mushrooms were considered illegal in the United States in the 1970s.

Investors are paying attention. Atai Life Sciences, a German firm developing psychedelic and nonspidelic compounds for various mental health conditions, is supported by billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel and others. It planned to raise $ 100 million in the last one week. public Offering. Another psychedelic company, MindMed, has financial support Kevin O’Leary “shark Tank.”

In the past year, more than 20 companies focused on Psychedelics have gone public, and more than a dozen existing public companies have moved into the space, according to analysts at Canaccord Genuity, a Vancouver-based investment bank.

“Currently 100 to 150 clinical trials are using psychedelic compounds to treat mental and behavioral health conditions,” Canaccord Genuity analysts wrote in a report in March. Still a long way to go.”

Some investors are betting that psychedelic companies may follow in the footsteps of marijuana, which has been legalized for recreational use in more than a dozen states, including New York in March. But some analysts and many companies have themselves warned that the path will be different for psychedelics.

“Psychedelics are about health care, medically approved therapies. This is not going to go down the recreational path that cannabis did, “said Patton Nyquest, who founded Numinus in 2018 and is its chief executive. And while Numinus was the first public company in Canada, the genus Psilocybe last year Seeds harvested the first legal batch of mushrooms, its stock is trading under a dollar.

Mr. Nyquvest attributed the share price to the fact that “the sector has recently gained prominence, and investors are still trying to define the value of companies in the space.”

The current mushroom boom is a long-term surprise for many industries.

While Europeans and Asians loved wild mushrooms, which Joseph Salvo of Ponderosa Mushrooms harvested across Canada, he could not show any interest among US or Canadian consumers.

Although long past Italian pasta dishes, a staple in Japanese soups, and a strong replacement for meat, mushrooms have been a tough sell for American and Canadian consumers. It began to shift about eight years ago when cooking shows and such began to use wild mushrooms. Then, Costco began carrying their new, in-season chanterley mushrooms to their stores.

Today, Mr. Salvo grows sunderkat, king oysters and other mushrooms in 28 temperatures and climate-controlled rooms of ponderosa mushrooms. He grows mushrooms from outside in logs of almond trees. Mushrooms are shipped to retailers around the world.

Most of Ponderosa’s mushrooms end up on eating plates, with Mr. Salvo saying his mushrooms were making their way into new, interesting areas such as tea and even beer.

Vernon, BC In the five hours before Vancouver, start-up Dosology Sciences is also focusing on the wellness sector. Inside a series of climate-controlled shipping containers that smell moist, cool soil, Dzologie is growing lion’s mane, shiike, and cordiceps mushrooms. A large facility will be used to grow psychedelic mushrooms when it gets a license to do so, which could happen later this year.

Many mushroom tinctures, serums and powders are finding their way into the wellness regimen partly because after relying on pharmaceuticals to control a variety of diseases and conditions for decades, consumers are now looking at dietary and more natural methods to improve their health. Focusing on, Drs. Lambert said. Penn State Key.

Disappointment with traditional medicines that did little to address his long-standing chronic pain and mental health conditions led to Mr. Nyquvest of Numinous being fired for his interest in psychedelic compounds as a treatment.

He points to several studies around the benefits of psychedelic mushrooms, including 2016 Study Researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine found that the use of psilocybin relieved anxiety and depression in people diagnosed with life-threatening cancer. A second, smaller Study The 24 participants included by Jom Hopkins researchers, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found that those who received silicobin-adjuvant therapy also improved.

“The effect we saw was four times larger than the clinical trials for traditional antidepressants in the market,” said Alan Davis, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopes University School of Medicine. Announcement about the results of the study.

The Food and Drug Administration has put at least two psychedelic mushroom compounds on the fast track for approval to treat depression.

Last year, Canada began allowing a limited number of people with terminal disease to use psychedelic mushrooms. Currently, Numinous is working toward a psilocybin-assisted medical trial for patients with substance abuse disorders.

And while regulators in the United States are taking a new look at psychedelic mushrooms, psilocybin is still a Schedule 1 drug and will need to be reclassified by regulators.

Despite those hurdles, however, Mr. Nyquest sees potential for widespread use of psychedelic mushrooms around welfare, beyond what he called “the treatment of truly overwhelming indicators” of substance abuse and depression.

“Just as you go to the dentist for dental care, we should also take care of the mind and mental state.”

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