The Psychedelic Investment That’s Becoming Hotter than Cannabis

You may soon hear a lot more about micro-dosing, or taking small amounts of psychedelic drugs, such as magic mushrooms to boost your mood, and perhaps assist with weight loss. Earlier this year, researchers from the University of California Davis found that micro-dosing with psychedelic drugs for a prolonged period of time showed promise. “Our study demonstrates that psychedelics can produce beneficial behavioral effects without drastically altering perception, which is a critical step towards producing viable medicines inspired by these compounds," said David Olson of UC Davis, as quoted by Esquire. "This is the first time anyone has demonstrated in animals that psychedelic micro-dosing might actually have some beneficial effects, particularly for depression or anxiety.” As excitement builds, it’s opening a range of opportunity for companies that have already established launching cannabis products including The Yield Growth Corp. (CSE:BOSS) (OTC:BOSQF), The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX:FIRE)(OTC:SPRWF), Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX:WEED) (NYSE:CGC), HEXO Corporation (NYSE:HEXO)(TSX:HEXO), and Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ: NEPT)(TSX: NEPT).

The Yield Growth Corp. (CSE:BOSS)(OTCQB:BOSQF) BREAKING NEWSThe Yield Growth Corp. just announced its subsidiary Flourish Mushroom Labs has filed a U.S. provisional patent application in the United States for the invention relating to methods of using serotonin antagonists, in particular, psychedelic mushroom actives, for weight loss. The Flourish Mushroom Labs pending patent seeks to protect the invention that administration of psilocin and/or psilocybin results in an overall weight loss in individuals by reducing food cravings, counteracting compulsive overeating, and aiding in improving quality of diet by altering food choices. The patent pending covers the use of microdose administration of psilocin/psilocybin to have the additional weight loss effect of increasing metabolism, which, combined with a decrease in food cravings or compulsive overeating, or altering food choices to less calorie dense foods, could result in substantial and beneficial weight loss. The Flourish Mushroom Labs pending patent also covers the use of psilocin/psilocybin in treatment or regulation of diabetes, and regulation of blood glucose and to reduce susceptibility to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and other illnesses associated with obesity.

Obesity has been formally recognized by the World Health Organization as a global epidemic. Over 35% of adults in the United States, and more than 500 million adults worldwide are categorized as obese. Obesity is expected to cause or contribute to hundreds of thousands of deaths per year in the United States alone. Obesity reduces life expectancy, increases susceptibility to other disease states such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, chronic renal failure, sleep apnea, asthma, and many forms of cancer. In addition to the clinically defined obese (those with a Body Mass Index (in kg/m2) of greater than 30), a large percentage of the population, while not obese, are overweight. Obesity and overweightness is a leading preventable cause of death worldwide. In most cases, obesity and overweightness is caused by a food energy intake that exceeds energy use. Unfortunately, decreasing caloric intake can be very difficult for many people. The dieting industry is enormous, with some estimates showing that Americans spend over $60 billion annually on diet and weight loss products. Unfortunately, many of these diets do not work long term. One theory for this is because it is not enough to temporarily change food intake; rather, an individual’s behavior needs to change for long term success.

Quality of diet also has a significant impact on obesity and overweightness, with low caloric content foods such as green vegetables contributing less to obesity than calorie dense foods which have high calories for their volume, such as refined carbohydrates. Interestingly, human food preferences (such as preferences for certain types of food) have been linked with a 5-HT2A serotonergic receptor polymorphism (Prado-Lima et al, Mol Psychiatry 2006 Oct). Psilocin/psilocybin is known as 5-HT2A agonists or partial agonists. Psilocin has no approved or common medical use. However, the Heffter Research Institute (heffter.org) has published research indicating that psilocybin can relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression often found in patients with a cancer diagnosis, as well as for treatment of addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Usona Institute is currently in the planning phase for a phase 2/3 clinical research program on use of psilocybin as a treatment for major depressive disorder (www.usonaclinicaltrials.org). The U.S. provisional patent application provides a right of priority under the Paris Convention as well as the Patent Cooperation Treaty. This means it establishes an effective filing date for inventions adequately described within it for PCT applications or applications in more than 170 countries who are members of the Paris Convention, as long as the foreign application is filed within one year of the provisional filing date.

Other cannabis-related developments from around the markets include:

The Supreme Cannabis Company Inc. (TSX:FIRE)(OTC:SPRWF) provided an operational update on the Company’s focused infrastructure that serves dedicated functions from seed to sale. Supreme Cannabis introduces its dedicated manufacturing, processing and packaging facility located in Kitchener, Ontario. In response to internal requirements and foreseeable market demand, the Company leased the Kitchener Facility, which is a 107,000 square foot facility with desirable structural features for large-scale processing, packaging and shipping. The Kitchener Facility will function as a central manufacturing, processing and packaging centre for Supreme Cannabis brands and, once the Kitchener Facility is complete, Supreme Cannabis intends to package, distribute and brand third-party cannabis inputs from quality-focused cultivators. The Kitchener Facility’s strategic location in Canada’s innovation hub, Kitchener, Ontario, provides access to a large and skilled labour force, highways and airports, and two of the Company’s other nearby operating assets. Supreme Cannabis will be retrofitting and licensing the existing facility in three phases. The Company has completed the first phase of construction on the Kitchener Facility, which includes a retrofitted multi-purpose processing clean room. At this stage, the Company has submitted its application to Health Canada for a cannabis processing license. This license will allow Supreme Cannabis to conduct product packaging and value-added processing at the Kitchener Facility. In Q4 FY2020, the Company expects to begin whole flower packaging and pre-roll manufacturing for Supreme Cannabis brands at the Kitchener Facility.

Canopy Growth Corporation (TSX:WEED)(NYSE:CGC) just revealed its Cannabis 2.0 portfolio of products, set to come to market as part of the second wave of Canadian cannabis commercialization. With December 16, 2019, being the first date new product formats can be sold into distribution channels, the Company expects that in most markets new products will not be seen on shelves until early in January 2020.  Leveraging learnings from Cannabis 1.0, the Company will stagger its launch of various products and formats to ensure a smooth roll-out. As such, availability will vary by province based on their individual ordering and distribution activities. While the Company is providing this update in advance of the launch of Cannabis 2.0 products, for competitive reasons, it will not provide ongoing updates during the actual rollout period. The first wave of cannabis chocolate products, which will arrive in retail in early January 2020, includes Tokyo Smoke Go, Tokyo Smoke Pause, and Tweed Bakerstreet chocolate bars. Tokyo Smoke Go is a THC-infused, sativa-dominant dark milk chocolate with minimal CBD content. Each five-piece chocolate bar contains 10 mg of THC, or 2 mg of THC in each piece. Tokyo Smoke Pause is a THC-infused, indica-dominant dark milk chocolate, containing 2 mg of THC in each of the five squares. Tweed Bakerstreet is blended with peppermint and milk chocolate and offers 2.5 mg of THC in each of the four chocolate squares. The second wave of chocolate bars will include Tokyo Smoke Ease CBD chocolate, expected to be on shelves in late January, as well as the Company’s new brand of high-quality chocolate, Bean & Bud, expected to be on shelves by the end of February 2020. The first wave of the Company’s ready-to-drink mixed Distilled Cannabis beverage products – Tweed Houndstooth & Soda, Houseplant Grapefruit, and Houseplant Lemon – are expected to hit shelves in early January 2020. The Company expects to launch additional beverage offerings under the Tweed, Quatreau, and Deep Space brands in the following weeks of January, with its Distilled Cannabis spirits expected to follow in early February 2020.

HEXO Corporation (NYSE:HEXO)(TSX:HEXO) launched Original Stash, its new value brand, in Ontario on Black Friday. Adult-use consumers in Ontario will be able to purchase 28 grams (1 oz) of quality dried cannabis flower at black market prices, retailing at $140 ($5 per gram), including taxes. “HEXO is disrupting the black market this Black Friday,” said Sebastien St-Louis, CEO and co-founder of HEXO. “We are committed to playing a valuable role in eliminating the illicit market and in protecting public health and safety. That’s why we are pleased to continue rolling out Original Stash across Canada, providing consumers with a quality product at a low price. Our experience with the launch of Original Stash in October demonstrates that there is a strong demand for this type of product.” Illegal cannabis products can – and often do – contain heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants. Legal products are produced in a highly regulated environment and are rigorously tested. According to Statistics Canada’s latest National Cannabis Survey (published on August 15, 2019), over 40% of Canadians continue to purchase cannabis from illegal sources. One of the major factors that drive Canadians to purchase cannabis from the black market is price. Three-quarters of Canadians (76%) who consumed cannabis in the first half of 2019 cited quality and safety as an important consideration when purchasing cannabis, while 42% mainly considered price. With Original Stash, HEXO is competing directly with the black market and providing consumers with an affordable, controlled, quality product.

Neptune Wellness Solutions Inc. (NASDAQ:NEPT)(TSX: NEPT) has entered into an amended and restated processing agreement with Canopy Growth Corporation. Canopy and Neptune mutually decided to review the terms of their processing agreement. The parties have agreed to an amended schedule of processing volumes committed to Neptune by Canopy. In addition, the parties agreed to remove certain preferential rights previously granted to Canopy with respect to Neptune’s capacity and pricing. Effective June 30, 2020, volume and pricing will be negotiated between the two parties based on market conditions. The 3-year term of the agreement remains unchanged and expires on June 30, 2022. Canopy continues to be an important customer for Neptune and both parties are looking forward to maintaining and capturing more business opportunities as the market evolves. As a result of the revised terms, Neptune expects to reduce its client concentration risk and diversify its customer base.

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