Jeremy Szafron: Welcome back to Investors Scene. We told you recently about a company called Psyched Wellness. Someone who sits on the board joins us now. I’m sure you have heard of him. He is a famous psychiatrist based out of the United Kingdom. He sits on the board for Compass Pathways. Thanks for joining us.
Dr. Nutt: A pleasure.
Jeremy Szafron: Medically, this industry can help patients. Before we get into that, for those who don’t know who you are, can you let them know?
Dr. Nutt: I am a psychiatrist and a psychopharmacologist and study the effects of drugs on the brain and I have given more different kinds of drugs to human beings that have failed their brains, compared to anyone else. I spent 40 years exploring how drugs affect the brain, from the perspective of depression, sleep, anxiety, and also addiction.
Jeremy Szafron: Fascinating topic and I mean, let’s get into psych medicine then. Your career has been expansive and I’m curious to know what made you join the board at Psyched Wellness.
Dr. Nutt: Well, they approached me with this interest and idea about amanita Muscaria. I’ve been familiar with amanita Muscaria, working in the research space a long time ago and amanita Muscaria was always there as the “odd one out”. No one ever thought about using it. When Psyched Wellness came along and said that they were going to develop it, I thought that it was interesting because that’s definitely an opportunity that has been overlooked, given what we know about it. It’s been around for thousands of years and it clearly has effects that people enjoy.
Those effects are not actually interesting because they are not just about the personal chains, they are about sociability and socialization. I thought, it’s about time! 15 years ago I said the same thing, it’s about time we study the brain and look where we are. On top of that, I have published papers on amanita Muscaria back in the 90’s but we really never understood it. We passed it by and worked with compounds that we had a better insight into like benzodiazepines. It is great to go back and work out why amanita Muscaria is so interesting, because it’s definitely different.
Jeremy Szafron: It’s a different space to be in. It doesn’t have a psychoactive effect, but something that can possibly initiative some sort of change of behavior will help people to get out of their comfort zone. We know that it’s a famous-looking mushroom. It’s beautiful and red, but outside of that, what is it that gives it a medical ability?
Dr. Nutt: Human beings have discovered that it does have some interesting effects and those effects are desired. Certainly, cultures where amanita Muscaria was widely used, it became a part of the rich and powerful. Historically, it’s interesting because we presume that the active ingredient is a subrane called Muscaria which works on the GABA system.
GABA is a key neurotransmitter of the brain. HTe brain is a chemical machine. There are 80 different neurotransmitters and GABA is one of the most important ones. Muscaria works with GABA to do several things we think: relaxes and calms people and also may make people better bonded to each other and give people insights into their behaviors and approach to life, which can be powerful.
Jeremy Szafron: You must see it as this weird bell curve were when you started, there were many people that looked at you and questioned what you were doing. Fast forward to today, the work you are doing with Compass and PSyched Wellness…. How fascinating is it for you personally to see that this compound and mushroom can actually induce change.
Psyched Wellness research had a huge impact
Dr. Nutt: It’s rewarding for two reasons. First, our research has had a big impact on the field. The truth is, I didn’t start working thinking I was going to cure something. I started because I wanted to know the workings of the brain and it was the energy that showed that it turned off the brain sections of depression. Then of course, when you look back and see historically, we were just reinventing the wheel.
It’s more sophisticated and allows us to look into the brain, but previous generations back in the 50’s and 60’s and going back through millennia, have shown that these drugs do have very powerful and important effects on the human psyche and help people to come to terms with yourself and improve themselves, others and nature. All we are doing is reinventing the mushroom but with a much stronger scientific underpinning which hopefully, will mean it doesn’t get kicked back into the long grass by political imaginations and media hysteria.
Jeremy Szafron: We have seen stigmatization decrease since the last political election in the United States. We have seen a few states switch over, so there is hope and momentum. I think that the future is bright. I’m curious because there are different companies that look at different compounds. Now, what I am finding interesting is when you look at certain compounds. Psyched Wellness is researching amanita Muscaria and it’s a legal product and I wonder what the value is of something that does not need psychotherapy to go along with it.
Dr. Nutt: That’s a great question and we will find out! There is a serious advantage in having a legal mushroom. The first experiment I did with amanita Muscaria took over 2 years to get permission because everyone thought it was a legal drug and you couldn’t possibly give it to people. Now, we don’t have that hanging over us. The other thing is that it’s very different pharmacology and historically, we know that it produces different experiences which can possibly be more beneficial for socialization and relaxation. I see it as being somewhat milder and I think that is interesting in trying to find out its role.
Here is a real opportunity to be the start of something that can be a revolution (we don’t know, but time will tell). It’s an exciting question you are asking. Why are people using this mushroom? It comes from the people who started sharing the experience of the mushroom. The term is a Siberian term for an experienced user and a guide for the mushroom.
Jeremy Szafron: I have to throw you this one because I’m going to guess that you have seen a few things in your career. You mentioned that you have given people more drugs than anyone else. So I am curious to know what this trend looks like throughout your career, regarding these products and the fact that natural products are slowly taking over. There is a trend going towards a natural direction and things that come from the earth.
Dr. Nutt: It’s pleasing, isn’t it? I’m a scientist and I really want to know basic mechanisms but I also want to know what humanity has known for centuries and why people have cherished these mushrooms of different sorts. They have done so for a long time and science owes them something. Science can re-energize this knowledge and rid of the stigma and fear of these mushrooms and give service to generations of knowledge.
Jeremy Szafron: My final question to you is, if we were able to look into the future, where is the next year going to take us.
Dr. Nutt: I hope it takes me into doing experiments with amanita Muscaria. The point is that we have to go through safety struggles but I am relatively confident. We have 2000 of use and to be honest, the UK was swayed to accept the mushroom and the possibilities. The British people have been taking mushrooms for 30 years and there has been no harm. I think I am confident that we will get through the safety studies then we will gear up to do intervention studies. I want to be the first person to report on it!
Jeremy Szafron: If you think that this public company is the right investment for you, you can reference the ticker on the analysis page. From there, you will see some ticker symbols, for example, CSC is a Canadian stock and OTC is for the US folks. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for more.