The company that launched the world’s first psilocybin nasal spray, Silo Wellness, is on a mission to bring healing through psychedelic and functional mushrooms with the launch of its Marley One product range.
Silo Wellness is focusing on creating products that can provide alternative options for healing – with the launch of the world’s first psilocybin nasal spray from its facilities in Jamaica, where the compound is legal, and now with the world’s first functional and psychedelic mushroom supplement range.
The Marley One functional mushroom products have been developed in collaboration with the family of legendary musician Bob Marley to honour his holistic wellness beliefs and connection to nature.
Functional mushrooms for the people
The Marley One range utilises functional, non-psychoactive mushrooms tinctures designed to enhance focus, cognitive function, gut health, immunity, sleep and more, and will later be expanded to include psychedelic products to help meet mental health needs.
Cedella Marley, Bob Marley’s daughter, three-time Grammy winner, author, mother and CEO of Bob Marley Group of Companies, has had a major input into the development of the tinctures.
Speaking to Psychedelic Health, Silo Wellness CEO, Douglas Gordon, said: “There’s a lot of data and research about functional mushrooms and their benefits. We really have leveraged that with our formulation team, and we have added other active ingredients that people are more familiar with, like ginkgo and ginger that have other health benefits.
“In our research process, we ensured that the products would have accretive benefits. For some people, they have heard of lion’s mane, turkey tail, chaga, but they don’t know the category of function mushrooms, and this is why we put the different ingredients – for additional health benefits but also to integrate familiarity for the consumer who is new to the category.
“The taste of functional medicines also tends to be medicinal – so, we looked at how to make them more palatable, and at the same ensure that with our heritage out of Jamaica, and therefore very Caribbean, how do we get a taste palate that also you know incorporated our geography. So, we have done a lot of testing and utilised a tremendous amount of expertise thanks to smart people who know how to mix and combine these different ingredients.
“Our collaboration with the Marley family allows us to do functional and psychedelic mushrooms, and we are now in the process of R&D around some psychedelic formulations that will launch in jurisdictions where it is fully legal. There is a number of different species of psilocybin mushrooms, and looking at this is a part of our R&D – understanding which particular strains of the fungi we want to utilise in each of the different products.”
Gordon says that Silo’s psilocybin nasal spray has provided a proof-of-concept for delivery modality.
“We have been active in talking to different pharmaceutical entities who are looking for delivery modalities and that’s where our nasal spray holds an interesting position. We’re looking at not just developing our own commercially viable line in that regard, but also to be able to licence out the technology to other companies that are looking for that, for their own progress.
“Our collaboration is with the estate of Bob Marley and Rita Marley herself was instrumental with the flavours and with getting feedback on that process. It has been very interesting, illuminating and exciting but it has also been grounded in a very real and authentic relationship where the family is very much in tune with what they put their name on and what they endorse. They’ve been extremely supportive in terms of understanding the health benefits of mushrooms, both functional and psychedelic, and the opportunity this provides to really help many people around the world.”
Helping people in the here and now
Gordon says that Silo Wellness is focused on helping people as soon as possible and to achieve this aim, it is combining ancient wisdom and modern science to unlock people’s potential and help them realise greater self-actualisation.
“Silo Wellness is very focused on helping people right now – a lot of companies are doing incredible research that once it’s successful, they’re able to bring drugs to market that can help folks, and that is fantastic – but that is five to seven years out. What we have done is taken our traditional, very straight line clinical medical approach and also learnt so much from what indigenous cultures have done which have been using psychedelics for a very long time. That has helped us to be very effective in terms of mindfulness and expansive traditional uses.
“We want to do that because, what we’ve seen with our retreats, for example, is that folks have had transformative experiences and it’s a very powerful testimonial as a validation of our whole underlying business ethos because we want to help people today.
“For us, if we can help someone now – let’s help them now. If we can help more people later, when there are more legal jurisdictions, that’s absolutely wonderful, but we do have the ability, the desire and enterprise to help people now, and that’s what motivates us.
“The great thing about the Marley collaboration and the introduction of our functional mushroom products is that there is no psychedelic impact whatsoever and so in the process, you start to stimulate conversation that will destigmatise mushrooms from the psychedelic side. And it’s so powerful and so incredibly important because while we have huge ambitions for Marley One we know that the real transformative impact that mushrooms have is psychedelic and it is also helping people in the short term by giving natural, healthy substitutes and supplements and their diets and lifestyles. It is a tool to pave the pathway for more people to be comfortable using psychedelics in the future.
“… the natural compounds that come out of the Earth have tremendous healing powers for us as humans.”
“I was involved in the cannabis space from 2016 when I founded a conference here in Jamaica, Called CanEx Jamaica, which was oriented around providing a platform for professionals and experts from around the world and in Jamaica to get together, network and exchange knowledge, and to help to build the industry.
“When your mind opens to understanding the immense power of plant medicine, and again, this comes back to Bob Marley – he spoke so often about one love – my interpretation of One Love was that whether you’re black, white, Jamaican, American, Canadian, whatever, we’re all one people, one species, and we should therefore be able to love one another without artificial barriers.
“But, with psychedelics, what they allowed me to see is that the notion of oneness really goes beyond us as humans being one. It really espouses the notion that we have the ability, the Earth has the ability, to heal itself, and that the natural compounds that come out of the Earth have tremendous healing powers for us as humans.
“For too long we’ve always thought we were the most superior species walking the face of the Earth, not realising that a lot of the wonderful ideas we have are actually undermining the viability of the Earth. What we now have is the opportunity to see with psychedelics the healing that we as humans are in need of – because we’re not living our full experiences, we have traumas, we have mental health issues, we have PTSD, anxiety – what people think of you and all of these different things that social media exacerbates. We have the ability to reframe and rewire our own neural pathways, just by virtue of natural compounds that have turned up here on the Earth.
“So, that whole idea of oneness, has really broadened for me. And, the opportunity to lead Silo Wellness was a very simple decision.
“What was interesting to me was the fact that this company seemed anchored around helping people and it allowed me to lead a company that was young, ambitious and with some great people attached to it. I have great admiration for the founders and the energy that went into founding this, to bring this company to life. But I think at the core of it is the fact that we have these wonderful products that allow us to build this business and help a lot of people in the process. What we’re doing, I believe, is for the right reasons. And we’re doing it in the right way.”
The company has recently reached agreements to stock its functional mushroom products in the UK and further functional products are set to follow, including gummies, capsules and cosmetics.
Integrating metaphysics into psychedelic therapy
Dr Peter Sjöstedt-Hughes, Lecturer at Exeter University, has proposed incorporating metaphysical philosophy into psychedelic therapy to help improve therapeutic outcomes.
Sjöstedt-Hughes suggests that psychedelic therapy may gain more advantage by extending its scope into metaphysics, helping patients better integrate and understand psychedelic-induced metaphysical experiences.
Such improved outcomes may be seen if patients undergoing this therapy “are provided with an optional, additional, and intelligible schema and discussion of metaphysical options at the integrative phase of the therapy.”
In the paper, Sjöstedt-Hughes puts forward this schema as the “Metaphysics Matrix” and an accompanying “Metaphysics Matrix Questionnaire (MMQ)” which can be utilised by therapists and researchers as a tool for the quantitative measurement of a psychedelic experience.
The paper ‘On the need for metaphysics in psychedelic therapy and research’ has been published in Frontiers in Psychology.
What is metaphysics?
While mysticism deals with understanding the universe through direct experience, such as revelation, metaphysics is a branch of philosophy that deals with understanding the fundamental nature of reality through logic/argument.
Sjöstedt-Hughes writes that “metaphysics is not mysticism” but there is overlap: “[…] metaphysics is broader and its positions can be logically deliberated — as such metaphysics can encompass mystical experiences induced by psychedelic intake yet metaphysics can also ground those experiences in a manner that can be more intelligible, comprehensive, viable, and acceptable to participants than that which the framework of mysticism alone can offer.”
The Metaphysics Matrix
A number of clinical trials investigating psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy for the treatment of mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression, report that participants who undergo a “mystical experience” during a psychedelic session often have higher levels of sustained therapeutic outcomes.
In clinical trials, mystical experiences are measured by different scales including the Mystical Experience Questionnaire (MEQ), the Hood Mysticism Scale (HMS), the Hallucinogen Rating Scale (HRS), the Five Dimensions Altered State of Consciousness Questionnaires (5D-ASC) and Eleven Dimensions Altered State of Consciousness Questionnaires (11D-ASC).
Sjöstedt-Hughes writes: “Data derived in this manner is obviously limited and abstract not only because psychedelic experience need not be “mystical,” but also because the definition of “mystical” could be expanded to include other criteria […]
“With regard to psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy […] speaking about mystical experience per se will not be sufficient to provide a meaningful explanation of the significance of such experience to a person, for the simple reason that mystical experience is the phenomenon to be explained — mystical experience is the explanandum rather than the explanation.
“It is metaphysics that is the means of explanation, the explanans of the mystical explanandum.”
The Metaphysics Matrix has been designed to provide a “menu” of metaphysical options that may help people to “frame, make sense of, and give significance to, their experiences”, and would be another tool in the belt of therapists to better understand these experiences.
Such experiences could be understood through metaphysical systems such as Neutral Monism, Pantheism, Panpsychism, Animism, Substance Dualism, and Idealism, says Sjöstedt-Hughes.
Some examples provided include the common experience of the Universe being God – which can be understood in the context of Pantheism – or of all matter having a basic form of sentience – such as plants having a basic drive or process – which can be understood in the context of Panpsychism.
Additionally, enabling people who have had these experiences to understand them within these frameworks may make them less likely to dismiss the experiences as delusional, says Sjöstedt-Hughes.
“ […] Relatedly, that the worldview hitherto adopted by the participant is but one metaphysical position amongst others,” he writes.
Sjöstedt-Hughes commented: “This is a conjecture that hasn’t been tested but can be tested – offering a patient an additional and optional discussion in the integrative phase of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.
“Giving them this Metaphysics Menu for integration may extend the long-term benefits of psychedelic therapy and beyond because there’s a number of studies that seem to show that certain peak psychedelic experiences have the longest and most beneficial health outputs results.
“If in the integrative phase [of therapy] one looks at that experience and starts to frame it intelligibly, then the conjecture is that the participant will not in a few weeks after that, think it must have been a delusion – they will say that we don’t know what reality is.
“Therefore, we can’t dismiss something as a delusion necessarily. By doing that it might extend the significance of that experience for the person.
“When we use Mysticism Scales, by definition, mystery can’t explain itself. Metaphysics, however, incorporates those experiences and offers an explanation to what they mean. For example, the relation between oneself and the universe.”
Sjöstedt-Hughes points out that in practice, one of the immediate issues is the practical issue of implementation of Metaphysics Integration, suggesting this could be supported through resources such as a handbook or practitioner training.
He further concludes the integration would need to be “further bridged by the therapist to the participant’s life, concerns, values, aims, and outlook.”
The Metaphysics Schema is already being utilised in studies taking place at Ohio State University, US, and Exeter University, UK.
Ketamine nasal spray for anxiety and PTSD advances
Silo Pharma has announced it has advanced the formulation development for its therapeutic drug, SPC-15, which utilises ketamine.
The liquid nasal formulation will be used in SPC-15’s novel protocol that aims to treat and prevent anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other stress-related disorders.
Chief Executive Officer of Silo Pharma, Eric Weisblum, stated: “The progress of our feasibility study investigating dose strengths of SPC-15 is a significant advancement in our development work with this pipeline candidate.
“Results of the feasibility study will determine our selection of the manufacturing processes, and we are currently in discussions with potential delivery partners.
“We may also use the feasibility data for upcoming studies related to our SPC-14 therapeutic targeting Alzheimer’s disease.”
The company has stated that the formulation development was in accordance with its sponsored research agreement and option with Columbia University, and that linearity, accuracy, and repeatability were achieved in the feasibility study.
In May 2023, Silo Pharma was awarded a U.S. Patent titled “Biomarkers for Efficacy of Prophylactic Treatments Against Stress-Induced Affective Disorders,” with claims protecting the key technology behind SPC-15 and further drug discovery.
The company is also carrying out a Sponsored Research Agreement with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) – Effect of Psilocybin on Inflammation in the Blood – which is investigating psilocybin’s effect on inflammatory activity in humans, with plans to accelerate its implementation as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s, chronic pain and bipolar disorder.
How psychedelics could help those living with alcohol use disorders
Alcohol use disorders (AUD) are estimated to affect around 237 million people across the globe, with 3 million deaths each year attributed to the harmful use of alcohol.
Despite this prevalence, there is a lack of effective treatment options and relapse rates remain high, but hope is on the horizon in the form of clinical research that is starting to show the therapeutic potential of psychedelic compounds for problematic drinking.
AUD affects millions of people around the world. In fact, approximately one in every 20 deaths globally are in some way related to alcohol, be it through disease, injury, or accident. There are over 600,000 dependent drinkers in England alone, and, in the US, roughly a third of people meet the criteria for AUD on a lifetime basis. Sadly though, only 21.9% of patients across the globe receive treatment for AUD and many struggle with relapse.
Why is this? Well, put simply, the treatment landscape for AUD is incredibly complex and there are many barriers throughout the treatment pipeline. Whether it’s the mental barrier of actually wanting to stop drinking, physical dependence, fear of withdrawal symptoms, the lack of awareness of what support is actually available, or the cost of treatment, it can be difficult for people living with AUD to know what to do.
And even if they are screened by a healthcare professional, the treatments available may not be effective for them. There may be undesired side effects and up to 70% of people taking pharmacological treatments for AUD find no positive outcomes. This means there is a huge unmet need for better, more effective and more accessible treatments – and this is where psychedelics come in.
How psychedelics are offering hope to those that struggle most
Thanks to a growing body of research, psychedelics have become a new medicine of interest for those looking to ease the burden substance use disorders have on individuals, families and healthcare systems. Psychedelics are believed to work by inducing a ‘window of neuroplasticity’ in the brain, which opens up the possibility for new behaviours or patterns of thinking to be developed. It is this ability that makes psychedelics so interesting in the case of treating conditions like AUD where addiction-related habits and emotions play a huge part.
The science is promising. In the U.S, a recent study led by the New York University Grossman School of Medicine showed that psilocybin treatment improved drinking outcomes in patients with AUD relative to outcomes observed with a placebo medication. Specifically, the study found that two doses of psilocybin, when combined with psychotherapy, reduced heavy drinking by 83%. Another study found that ibogaine, a psychedelic derived from the roots of a West African shrub, when used in conjunction with psychotherapy, could increase periods of abstinence in those with alcohol and other substance addictions.
At Beckley Psytech, we’re exploring the potential of our synthetic formulation of 5-MeO-DMT, BPL-003, for AUD in a Phase IIa study. Phase I healthy volunteer data has already shown that BPL-003 is well-tolerated and can reliably induce profound subjective experiences (a correlate of positive clinical outcomes) with a rapid onset and timely offset of perceptual effects. The Phase IIa study will explore the safety, efficacy and pharmacokinetics of BPL-003 alongside an abstinence-oriented cognitive behavioural programme in patients diagnosed with AUD. Topline results are expected later this year.
Collaboration is critical
It is, of course, still early days but the science seems to be indicating that psychedelics, when administered in the right context and with the right support, can help those who are suffering from a range of mental health conditions. With clinical studies progressing, and approval for other psychedelic treatments expected in the next few years, now is the time to develop the infrastructure that will allow us to actually deliver these interventions to people living with AUD. This involves us all: patients, regulators, investors, healthcare professionals and drug developers.
At Beckley Psytech, we are always looking to hear from others in the space so please head over to www.beckleypsytech.com to learn more about our work in AUD and how to get in touch.
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