In this week’s news roundup, Maine lawmakers move psilocybin research bill to the governor’s desk, a new study on ketamine for postpartum depression, and more.

Psychedelics May Relieve Postpartum Symptoms

Esketamine placebo-controlled trial

A recent study published in the BMJ highlights the potential of esketamine, a ketamine derivative used in anesthesia and depression treatment, to alleviate postpartum depression symptoms. Conducted across five hospitals in China, the randomized, placebo-controlled trial involved 361 mothers who showed signs of prenatal depression. Participants who received a single low-dose injection of esketamine immediately after childbirth exhibited a significantly lower incidence of major depressive episodes compared to those who received a placebo. (1)

The research monitored participants at several points: 18 to 30 hours after childbirth, and on days 7 and 42 postpartum. Remarkably, only 6.7% of the mothers treated with esketamine experienced a major depressive episode by day 42, as opposed to 25.4% in the placebo group. This striking difference underscores esketamine’s potential effectiveness in swiftly reducing the symptoms of depression among new mothers. While some participants experienced minor side effects like dizziness and double vision, these were short-lived and resolved within a day.

Shulgin Farm Launches Seed Crystal Campaign to Honor Psychedelic Legacy and Expand Community Outreach

Shulgin Farm

The Shulgin Farm, a pivotal site in the history of psychedelic research where Alexander “Sasha” Shulgin and his wife Ann synthesized over 200 psychedelic compounds, has initiated the Seed Crystal Campaign. This campaign aims to transform the farm into a vibrant center for education, community events, and the preservation of psychedelic history. (2)

The farm, under the guidance of Ann’s daughter Wendy Tucker and the farm’s board of directors, seeks to raise $3 million to secure the property and develop it into a cultural hub for seminars, weddings, and other events that bridge psychedelic science with art and spirituality.

Continuing the Legacy of Pioneers Sasha and Ann Shulgin

The Shulgins’ extensive research and documentation have significantly influenced modern psychedelic studies, inspiring new generations of scientists and therapists. Today, amidst a growing psychedelic renaissance, Shulgin Farm’s new role aims to provide a space where the psychedelic community can further explore and honor the profound insights and contributions of the Shulgins.

The Seed Crystal Campaign, named after the catalytic role of seed crystals in sparking growth, hopes to raise funds to protect this historic site and allow the Shulgin Farm to educate and inspire future generations.

Maine Legislature Passes Bill to Study Psilocybin Regulation

Maine Legislature

This week, the Maine legislature approved a bill establishing a commission to study psilocybin’s therapeutic potential. The revised bill sets up a 13-member panel tasked with evaluating the safety and efficacy of psilocybin for treating mental health issues and reviewing regulatory approaches in other states. The commission’s findings are expected by November 6 and will guide the development of a legal framework for the therapeutic use of psychedelics in Maine.

Originally designed to authorize the supervised use of psilocybin at licensed facilities, particularly for veterans and first responders, the bill faced opposition from law enforcement and was consequently modified in committee. Despite the setback, supporters remain hopeful that the commission will pave the way for future legalization.

If the bill is signed into law, the commission will also explore psilocybin’s potential in treating substance use disorders, depression, anxiety, and end-of-life stress. The bill now awaits a final decision and signature from Governor Janet Mills.(3)

Spravato Sales Up Again, Showing Positive Trend for Commercial Ketamine Therapy

J&J logo

Johnson & Johnson has unveiled its full-year and fourth-quarter results for 2023, highlighting substantial growth in its psychedelic medicine segment. Spravato, also known as esketamine, is the only FDA-approved psychedelic treatment and targets treatment-resistant depression. Gaining approval in 2019, Spravato’s sales have continued to surge, showing significant financial success after several slow years.

In the first quarter of 2023, sales reached $131 million, an 87% increase from the previous year, positioning it as the fastest-growing segment within Janssen’s portfolio (J&J’s subsidiary).

The upward trajectory continued through the year, with fourth-quarter sales just being released, showing an increase to $225 million, a 9% increase from the prior quarter and a robust 72% rise compared to the same period last year.

This continued upward trend shows that both the public and medical community are increasingly accepting ketamine as a viable treatment option and performance and underscores the potential commercial viability of psychedelic treatments. You can see the full financial results here. (4)

This material is not intended as a replacement or substitute for any legal or medical advice. Always consult a medical professional about your health needs. Psychedelics are widely illegal in the United States, and readers should always be informed about local, state, and federal regulations regarding psychedelics or other drugs.

  1. Wang S, Deng C, Zeng Y, Chen X, Li A, Feng S et al. (2024). Efficacy of a single low dose of esketamine after childbirth for mothers with symptoms of prenatal depression: randomised clinical trial BMJ.
  2. Integration Communications (2024). Shulgin Farm Announces Seed Crystal Campaign to Preserve Psychedelic History and Build Community Hub.
  3. State of Maine Senate, 130TH LEGISLATURE, SECOND REGULAR SESSION. 2024. 
  4. Johnson & Johnson (2024). Johnson & Johnson Reports Q4 and Full-Year 2023 Results.