Functional fungi company Psyched Wellness announced recently that the company has been listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange, bolstering its bid to bring mushroom-derived products with legal psychedelic compounds to the consumer market. The company is being traded under the ticker symbol PSYC on the CSE, with shares closing at CA$0.14 on Wednesday.
In a telephone interview with High Times, Psyched Wellness CEO Jeffrey Stevens characterized the public listing as “a great milestone to achieve, to become a listed company.”
Besides Psyched Wellness, 2020 has seen other high-profile new stock listings on Canadian investment markets. In March, Champignon Brands, a firm developing mental health treatments with psilocybin and ketamine, made its trading debut with an IPO listing on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker symbol SHRM. Only days later, MindMed, with backers including former Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton and Shark Tank celebrity investor Kevin O’Leary, went public with an IPO listed on the Canadian NEO Exchange.
“Canada has traditionally been a great market to raise venture capital and micro-cap through a public vehicle. It started off with the Toronto Venture Exchange, and then more recently, the Canadian Securities Exchange was introduced. And that is a prime exchange for junior micro-cap companies to raise the capital to build businesses and to grow,” Stevens explained. “So you see a lot on the exploration side. Cannabis was a big sector for the Canadian Securities Exchange, and as a result of the number of issuers that went public in the cannabis sector there, I think it was just natural for the psychedelic industry to look to the Canadian Securities Exchange as a platform.”
Functional Mushroom Tincture Under Development
The first product from Psyched Wellness, Stevens said, is slated to be a tincture made from Amanita muscaria, likely “the most recognized mushroom in the world. If you think of Alice in Wonderland, Super Mario Brothers, even the emoji on your telephone is likely an Amanita.”
Although the use of Amanita is steeped in ancient lore of northern Europe and Asia, the mushroom is not a popular choice today. One of its active ingredients, ibotenic acid, can cause nausea and vomiting and is widely considered poisonous.
“Because of that factor, people did not use it recreationally like they use psilocybin in magic mushrooms. It takes a little more work than just picking it and eating it, or drying it and eating it,” noted Stevens. “As a result, that’s the opportunity for us, because it’s not considered a drug. It’s just considered a food and we’re able to work with it legally in all jurisdictions.”
However, Amanita also contains muscimol, a decarboxylated form of ibotenic acid that is psychoactive and can have a relaxing, calming effect. When Amanita muscaria is carefully extracted and processed, muscimol can be optimized while ibotenic acid is eliminated from the final product.
“The approach that we’re taking that I think differentiates Psyched Wellness from our peers is that we are working with a psychedelic mushroom that is effectively a functional food because it’s edible and it is said to have health benefits, i.e. a calming effect and a relaxing effect,” explained Stevens. “And that’s what our first product tincture will be aiming to produce for the consumer.”
New Expertise Brought On Board
In addition to furthering research and development on its initial product, Psyched Wellness has also been shoring up its leadership team this year, Stevens reported.
“We’ve also attracted some key people to our advisory board. So we’ve got Professor David Nutt, who is a professor at Imperial College in the UK,” he said. “He’s a brain imagery specialist and one of the most sought-after speakers in the psychedelic conference circuit. He’s currently the head of the advisory board for Compass Pathways, so he’s a big deal in the space.”
“He has actually studied our mushroom, Amanita muscaria, in the past,” Stevens added. “So when we contacted him and asked him to join he was quite keen to be a part of it, because to his knowledge and ours, no one else is studying or working with Amanita muscaria and specifically muscimol, which is the active compound. So we’re pretty excited to have him on board.”
Psyched Wellness is conducting pre-clinical research to verify the safety and efficacy of the tincture and to determine the proper dosage. After another year of investigation, Stevens said the company should be ready to submit applications to U.S. and Canadian regulators for approval of the tincture as a dietary supplement.
“With the completion of this study, we will have all of the supporting data to apply to the FDA for a new dietary ingredient and with Health Canada for a natural health product number,” he said, “which will allow us to sell our first product, a muscimol tincture, as a supplement in those two markets.”
Once those applications have been submitted, it could take regulators up to 120 days to grant approval. But by then, marketing and production efforts will be well underway, Stevens said.
“When they give us the green light, we’ll be ready to put product on the shelves,” he predicted.