Professional Sports Turn To Psychedelics

Psychedelic drugs for mental health.

With the sudden explosion in media coverage of psychedelics, this is a message being received (and accepted) by growing numbers of people. The Mental Health Crisis: stress-related disorders like depression, addiction, anxiety and PTSD. A global pandemic.

But mental health issues extend far beyond these stress-related conditions. Dementia is another healthcare crisis, in terms of both increasing numbers of sufferers and a lack of effective treatment options.

There is already advanced psychedelics research targeting this facet of mental health. In other words, psychedelics are also seen as the new hope with respect to cognitive function.

Psychedelic drug R&D moves into TBI research

Then there are head injuries, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to use the correct medical terminology. These physical injuries can and do often lead to lasting mental health issues.

These mental health problems include both cognitive issues and “behavioral” issues – such as depression and anxiety.

Thus, it is not in any way surprising to see psychedelic drug R&D aggressively moving into TBI research. As we observed in a previous article on TBI, six psychedelic drug companies have either already commenced or announced plans for TBI-based research.

It’s not just the efficacy of the drugs that is luring these companies to this research. This is a huge treatment market.

A market report from Data Bridge Research pegged the current size of this treatment market at ~$120 billion, expected to grow to $182 billion by 2027. This makes TBI research the largest individual treatment market targeted by psychedelic drug R&D.

A major part of the reason why this treatment market is growing so quickly is greater awareness and vigilance in diagnosing such head injuries. And this much more proactive attitude toward TBI in the healthcare industry can be traced back directly to professional sports.

The TBI crisis in professional sports

Once upon a time, professional sports largely laughed off a “knock on the head”.

When players were knocked “woozy” by some blow to the head, as soon as the cobwebs cleared and they were steady on their feet, they were cleared to resume playing – even if they continued to experience other symptoms.

Today, modern medicine now looks back on that attitude with horror.

Larger, stronger athletes and more ferocious contact between (in particular) male athletes has led to a dramatic rise in the incidence of TBIs – especially in the full-contact sports like boxing, football and hockey.

More athletes sustaining concussions. More athletes sustaining multiple concussions.

With the much greater frequency of TBIs, there has also been a huge surge in the number of athletes suffering from post-concussion syndrome. Finally and belatedly, the huge toll from these head injuries is being addressed by professional sports.

Enter psychedelic drugs.

Athletes find relief from TBI in psilocybin

The psychedelic drug “industry” is little more than a year old in terms of public companies. And most psychedelic drugs (like psilocybin) remain officially illegal.

As with people using psychedelic drugs to address other mental health issues, the athletes who have already obtained relief from psychedelic drugs have been self-medicating with these substances.

Mixed martial arts may be a relatively new entrant in the realm of sport, but it is (not surprisingly) already experiencing major problems from the debilitating effects of TBIs.

In an industry article for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), a former champion and now coach stated that he knew several athletes who were using psilocybin therapeutically, and Muhammad Lawal acknowledged recently trying psilocybin himself.

Former athletes of both the National Football League and National Hockey League have also stepped forward to acknowledge using psilocybin to address their TBI symptoms.

One of these athletes is former NHL player Daniel Carcillo. He was diagnosed with a total of seven concussions over the course of his 12-year career.

Following his retirement, Carcillo spent five years seeking treatment for his own post-concussion symptoms. It was only when Carcillo turned to naturopathic remedies including both psilocybin and functional mushrooms that he obtained relief.

The end result was a clear brain scan, confirming the remission in symptoms that Carcillo was experiencing.

This has motivated Daniel Carcillo to first get involved in nonprofit work relating to mental health and then to become Founder of his own psychedelics company, Wesana Health (CAN: WESA / US: DBDID) – which just recently commenced public trading.

Wesana is one of the six companies already advancing its TBI research. Now Wesana (and Carcillo) are formally connecting with professional sports.

World Boxing Council signs new research agreement for psychedelics/TBI

On May 13th, the WBC entered into a multi-year research agreement with Wesana Health, to explore the potential of psychedelics (specifically psilocybin) to address TBI. This will include working with both former and current boxers on diagnosis and rehabilitation connected to TBI.

It’s good for boxing. It’s good for professional sports. And it’s likely just the first in such research partnerships.

Obviously, TBI is a major issue in fighting-based competition like boxing and the UFC. But it’s also reaching crisis proportions in the NFL and NHL.

During the 2017-2018 season alone, 291 NFL players suffered from concussions. In the NHL, a 2014 study showed an average of 64 concussions per season. Recent numbers would almost certainly be worse.

TBI is also an issue in the National Basketball Association, where an average of 17 concussions are reported per season. Even Major League Baseball – generally viewed as a non-contact sport – is seeing issues with concussions.

Having professional sports team up with psychedelic drug companies is also very positive for the psychedelic drug industry.

Professional sports and the athletes that populate them enjoy very high profiles and are among the most effective “influencers” in marketing. Their involvement and support for psychedelic drug R&D should create ripples everywhere from bringing in new investors to increasing political support for normalization of drug laws.

As noted, other companies (public and private) are also involved in psychedelics-based TBI research.

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No Scrubs 4 weeks ago Member's comment

Market cap is way to low...... $MMED does not have products, no revs only dreams.

$MCURF currently has 6 products and owns 13% of Atma Canadas first approved sellers!! just a matter of time easily a 10 bagger it will catch up soon

Mike Nolan 4 weeks ago Member's comment

Huge $MCURF fan, but you can’t bring up sports and psychedelics without bringing in $GTSIF. The partnerships with NFL alumni association is a huge tell where they are headed.