Following the FDA’s designation of psilocybin (or “magic mushrooms”) as a “breakthrough” treatment in 2018 and the decriminalization of the psychedelic fungi in Denver, Colorado, in 2019, a handful of entrepreneurs have begun preparing for a free market in which the medicine may be sold. Most recently, Oregon-based Silo Wellness has developed a psilocybin micro-dosing nasal spray.
According to a press release, the company – which has roots in cannabis delivery modalities – developed the nasal spray for controlled, metered-dosing consuming microdosing. The company predicts that new users will be drawn to experiment with small doses of the fungi before experiencing a full-blown “trip.”
“I love our product and can’t wait until it’s legal in the United States, so we can share it with crime victims and first responders,” said Silo Wellness founder Mike Arnold.
Because the fungi remains federally illegal in the United States, the nasal spray was developed in Jamaica (where mushrooms are legal). The team was led by Missouri pharmacologist Parag Bhatt and company COO and Marine combat veteran Scott Slay. Before taking volunteers’ testimonials in private microdosing sessions, the team members tested the nasal spray on themselves.
Long before Arnold was inventing method of consuming small doses of psychedelic substances, he worked as a high-profile criminal defense attorney. Arnold shifted his attention to psilocybin shortly before Missouri legalized medical marijuana.
“While everyone else saw the excitement for Missouri cannabis as a good sign for an investment, I saw it as the death nail,” he explained. “When everyone is running in one direction, that’s the last place an entrepreneur or investor wants to be. If you were on time for cannabis, you were already too late.”
Not long after, he began working with the inventor of the patent-pending Mystabis hemp and marijuana inhalers, Michael Hartman. Together, they brainstormed their newest product line of metered-dosing solutions.
“I came a little late to the magic mushroom space as a user,” Arnold said. “I had no information about the medicinal benefits for PTSD and anxiety until I met a doctor while traveling in the spring of 2018 who blew my mind with the research and offered to take me on a guided meditation with mushrooms right there on the spot. I told him I was terrified to use them. ‘How do you know how much you are ingesting? What if I take too much?’ I asked.”
“He replied, ‘Mike, you know me; I’m a doctor.’ Enough said,” Arnold continued. “I trusted him and it changed my life. Mushrooms have been life-changing and I want to share this healing opportunity with the world with a purpose-driven company mindful of consumer access to these gifts of nature.”
“In the meantime, I couldn’t help to think how fortunate I was to have an actual physician take me on my first trip rather than ‘some guy’ I know,” Arnold elaborated. “But I realized that most first-time users don’t have that luxury. Then it hit me. This is a business problem in need of a solution. I reached out to my long-time colleague from the marijuana space, brilliant inventor Michael Hartman, and we agreed that we need to be able to give patients predictable dosing so they can self-titrate into the desired levels of sub-psychedelic or psychedelic treatment.”
“We solved the age-old problem with plant- and fungus-based medicine: How do you know how much is a dose?” Hartman explained. “How do you avoid taking too much, like the cannabis edibles dilemma? We also managed to solve one of the common complaints of some mushroom users: taste and upset stomach.”
The nasal spray is absorbed directly into the bloodstream and, therefore, bypasses the gut. It is absorbed through the nasal mucus membrances and eventually the liver for metabolizing.
“Many psilocybin patients, particularly women, complain of upset stomach or vomiting when taking high-doses of mushrooms,” said Board Advisor and Silo Wellness investor Becky Rotterman, a Missouri pharmacist. “We want to bring this wonderful natural medicine first to Oregon and then the flyover states – to those who would be afraid to eat a handful of fungi and who feel more comfortable seeing their medicine in a familiar delivery modality, such as a metered-dose nasal spray.”
So far, users seem to love the spray. Volunteer ‘Sven’ was in Jamaica on a photo shoot when he sampled the dosed nasal spray. He said that one spray in each nostril produced a “mellow effect” and that the effects lasted approximately 45 minutes. He said he enjoyed the smell, taste, and the “nice sensation” he felt upon initially dosing.
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“With proof of concept in hand, we are taking pre-orders and entertaining licensing proposals for research abroad and manufacturing for the product in advance of jurisdictions coming online legally, similar to Oregon’s proposed medical-marijuana-like psilocybin initiative,” COO Scott Slay, of Eugene, Oregon stated. “The feedback and interest have been tremendous.”
“We are so grateful for the opportunity to have an actual and real first-to-market consumer product in magic mushrooms,” Slay continued. “Most of us were too early to cannabusiness or too late. I found mushrooms after returning from Iraq working in IED demolition and combat. The war changed me and the VA was ill equipped to help me transition and deal with my PTSD. I was heavily medicated. Mushrooms and DMT saved me. My life was renewed. I now have peace and purpose, and I can’t wait to share this opportunity with the world.”
“This isn’t a ‘plan’ to develop a product or a ‘plan’ to open a facility,” Hartman stated. “We have real proof of concept and continued research and development underway—not just an idea. We have developed this and have already received user testimonials. We have been in the space for over a year planning this. The future is now and we are ready.”
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