2020 brought numerous often-ignored issues to the forefront, including the need to address untreated physical and behavioral health problems. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to take a serious look at our well-being – and to question the efficacy of conventional treatments.
Among the most promising treatment avenues in recent years is psychedelic medicine. The progress in psychedelics often mirrors what the world has seen in the cannabis niche: a profound change in sentiment as once-demonized drugs are now viewed as legitimate medical solutions for high-need disorders.
Psychedelics were classified as Schedule I drugs in the 1960s and 1970s under the United States Controlled Substances Act – and they’re still federally branded as illicit today. However, this doesn’t mean that progress isn’t being made in advancing psychedelic medicine and reforming the laws and regulations surrounding these promising treatments.
The go-to treatment of prescribing pills has numerous problems. Oftentimes they’re only partially effective, or even entirely ineffective, in solving the problem. Sometimes the pills that are prescribed are themselves highly addictive. Plus, they can have unwanted side effects.
Addiction treatment centers that utilize the 12-step model might only offer limited help to people who struggle with addiction and these programs can cost up to $650 per day and may require the patient to stay at a clinic for 60 to 90 days of detox, followed by recovery work.
The INCB produced a report estimating that only one in six problem drug users worldwide – roughly 4.5 million people – receive the required treatment, at a global cost of about $35 billion annually.
So it is clear that there is room to explore other mechanisms with which patients can be treated more effectively.
Some statistics to highlight:
- As reported in the 2018 National report of the First Nations Regional Health Survey, 24.9% of adults and 10.4% of youths between the ages of 12 and 17 reported opioid use (this problem is likely only getting worse in 2021 as the dramatic measures adopted to slow the spread of COVID-19 are limiting drug users’ access to support services that prevent overdose deaths).
- Nearly 21 million Americans have at least one addiction, and approximately 2.1 million Americans have an opioid abuse disorder.
- Since 1999, the sale of opioid painkillers has skyrocketed by 300% – and about 20% to 30% of people who take prescription opioids misuse them.
- About 20% of Americans who have depression or an anxiety disorder also have a substance abuse disorder.
- Drug overdose deaths have more than tripled since 1990 and about 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.
- Alcohol and drug addiction cost the U.S. economy more than $600 billion every year.
It is clear that the adoption of new techniques to treat patients are not approved overnight. However, there are resources made available to universities and research organizations, an awareness that there are many people receiving inadequate treatments at the same time that new technologies are developed that allow evaluating the capacity of new molecules and components that can potentially bring more benefits than current treatments.
In the last 20 years, progress has been made from the de-finalization of drug possession in Portugal in 2001, allowing the possession of mushrooms in the Netherlands in 2008 and in Austria in 2016, to the approval in Israel in 2019 of the “Compassionate Use” program for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD.
In any case, the regulatory framework continues to present uncertainty and there will always be sectors that do not fully agree with the deepening of the analysis and use of these components.
The realm of psychedelic medicine offers the hope of safer and more effective treatments where conventional approaches have failed. Among the most promising treatment possibilities is dimethyltryptamine, more commonly known as DMT. Unlike many of the compounds found in medications that people take nowadays, DMT is naturally occurring and is not generally known to be addictive.
- DMT is widely found in many plant and animal species, and even in the human brain, and is well tolerated and metabolized in humans.
- It’s been determined that the human body’s naturally occurring DMT may be involved in various physiological processes, including stress reduction and protection, anti-inflammation, immune responses, neuroplasticity, or dream consciousness.
- Moreover, it has been proposed in the scientific community that DMT can actually increase the brain’s neuroplasticity and even promote the formation of new neural connections, or synapses.
- A survey study done in conjunction with Ohio State University found that around 80% of people using the psychedelic substance 5-MeO-DMT in a ceremonial setting said that their depression or anxiety improved following its use.
The potential for DMT to serve as the basis of novel treatments for drug addiction is important, yet largely untapped. Even today, scientists are grappling with the question of exactly what biological role DMT plays in the human body.
With Mr. Ko at the helm, Canada-headquartered Entheon Biomedical was founded on the principle that people suffering from life-inhibiting addiction disorders should have access to all scientifically validated treatment protocols.
Entheon’s science board is comprised of experts in the field of neuropharmacology, genetics, psychiatry, and substance abuse disorders. Together, the Entheon team aims to formulate proprietary combinations of DMT and other molecules intended to have specific therapeutic applications that target addiction and substance-related disorders.
Here there are no short-term bets. And any company that wants to be successful developing the business model that Entheon wants to have is going to need to go hand in hand with the regulatory framework. This is why it is essential for the company to have a management team that has experience in the specific sector both from the purely technological and scientific side, as well as from the legal side. Only with clinical studies and patents will companies that want to explore this sector advance over the long term.
Some of the partnerships to highlight include:
- The company has entered into a Clinical Study Agreement with the Contract Research Organization (CRO) Centre for Human Drug Research (CHDR) to conduct an early-phase human clinical trial with DMT.
- Furthermore, Entheon has made a value-added strategic investment in Wonder Scientific Inc., whose team of university researchers and product development experts create custom, naturally derived, active pharmaceutical ingredients to supply the growing global clinical and commercial demand for psychedelics.
- Entheon has also announced a business arrangement with and strategic investment in Heading Health, a Texas-based psychiatric clinic platform focused on the administration of psychedelic-assisted therapy to treat mental health disorders.
- The company signed on Scott Keeney to serve as the company’s media advisor. Mr. Keeney has been behind marketing campaigns and promotions for highly successful companies, including T-Mobile, Daimler-Chrysler, Google, and Nike.
- On January 14, Entheon completed its 100% acquisition of HaluGen Life Sciences Inc., which specializes in DNA testing for psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
With an experienced management team, a need to find better ways to deal with additions and the development of new technologies that allow better analysis and control of the components found in nature, will Entheon and this sector in general be able to overcome what is an uncertain and controversial regulatory framework to treat patients?
This blog post was conducted on behalf of Entheon Biomedical, and was funded by Gold Standard Media LLC and/or affiliates. For our full disclaimer, please visit: https://www.goldstandardir.