The University of Health Sciences Antigua (UHSA) has partnered with Toronto-based Revive Therapeutics (CSE:RVV, USA:RVVTF) to research the potential of psilocybin to help those with addiction. Revive’s focus has increased following its 2020 acquisition of Psilocin Pharma Corp.
University of Health Sciences Antigua is currently in the process of obtaining permits to import psilocybin for translational research, according to Dr. Manuel Flores, a professor at the University of Health Sciences Antigua. “We’re in the preliminary phases right now,” he said.
The university intends to focus on exploring the “lighter side of the benefits of psilocybin since the island is still new to it,” said Dr. Adedayo Akande, president of UHSA. “We decided to do a proposal study for investigating the therapeutic potential of psilocybin for alcohol dependence,” Akande notes.
Akande anticipates that the study will commence in 2023. After the initial research, the university could investigate the potential of psilocybin for other types of addiction and mood disorders.
Akande foresees that its research into psilocybin and potentially other psychedelics could ultimately inform its medical school curriculum in the coming years. “One of the main reasons we established this agreement with Revive is because we are a medical school,” Akande said. “We truly believe that natural psychedelic products are the future of medicine, and the reality is that psychedelics are not typically taught in medical school.”
Currently, psychedelics continue a gradual march toward legitimization, following a path similar to cannabis. However, research into psychedelics such as psilocybin, DMT and 5-MeO-DMT could help physicians of the future contextualize the expanded use of those compounds. “At the end of the day, future physicians need to have this knowledge because whether they like it or not, this is the direction medicine is headed,” Akande said.
While the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, remains a Schedule 1 compound, research on it and other cannabinoids has ramped up as many states have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.
Akande adds that former professional boxer Mike Tyson played a role in spurring his interest in psychedelics. Tyson’s organization visited UHSA during a visit to Antigua in 2019. “That meeting kind of sparked everything,” Akande said. “We thought, ‘You know what? There’s more to this. Let’s do some more research on this.'”
Eventually, Akande reached out to Revive Therapeutics. “I saw what they were doing in the space and liked the research that came out of that company,” he said. “They wanted to see how they could partner with a medical institution, and so a partnership was born from there.”
In addition to research, University of Health Sciences Antigua could potentially establish a psychedelic actual therapy center using Revive products.
Akande stresses that the university will take a conservative approach to researching psilocybin and potentially other psychedelic compounds. “In other words, you’re not going to be taking a psychedelic and then wake up a couple of hours later talking to a sea turtle on the beach,” he joked.
Filed Under: Psychiatric/psychotropic drugs