Ayahuasca is one of the several psychedelics that have exhibited significant potential as treatment for mental health disorders. Research has revealed that psychedelics such as ayahuasca are capable of alleviating the symptoms of conditions, including treatment-resistant depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, with minimal side effects.
However, most of this research is in its infancy, and patients who are interested in psychedelic treatments either have to take part in clinical trials or travel long distances to access institutions that offer psychedelic-assisted therapy. Ayahuasca, for instance, has a rich history in Central and South America and has been traditionally used by some South American cultures for centuries for therapeutic and religious purposes.
Most of the facilities that offer ayahuasca treatments are located in this region as a result, forcing people who are interested in the treatment to take long trips and book extended stays.
A company based in Vancouver has now developed an ayahuasca pill that could significantly increase public access to ayahuasca and eliminate the need for long trips to South America.
Filament Health is currently on track to receive FDA authorization for a phase 1 clinical trial for its pioneering ayahuasca pill. If the FDA gives approval, the clinical trial will likely take place over the first six months of the year.
Like many psychedelics, ayahuasca has gained plenty of popularity in recent years amid celebrity endorsements and an uptick in psychedelic research.
The scientific consensus seems to be that these drugs can treat a vast array of physical and mental illnesses such as anxiety, trauma, depression, addiction, neurodegenerative diseases and substance use disorders.
The ayahuasca pill developed by Filament Health will tackle major problems — lack of accessibility and consistency —that could potentially cripple the industry. Since most retreats that offer ayahuasca-assisted therapies aren’t located in North America, the psychedelic is only accessible to locals or wealthy individuals who can afford the cost of travel and board.
Furthermore, differences in plant species and extract strength can result in inconsistent effects for different people during the same ceremony, noted Filament founder and CEO Benjamin Lightburn. An ayahuasca pill with standardized protocols for dosing would result in a more consistent experience for the user with predictable effects.
This would in turn make it easier for researchers to study the therapeutic potential of the psychedelic in clinical studies. Furthermore, such a pill would make ayahuasca-assisted therapy more accessible and allow more people to use it to treat a variety of conditions, including depression and PTSD, without having to break the bank.
As different psychedelics become the subject of R&D programs at companies such as Mind Medicine Inc. (NASDAQ: MNMD) (NEO: MMED) (DE: MMQ), more innovative dosing and administration options are likely to emerge.
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