This article is the third in a series that Psychedelic Science Review is publishing to keep our readers informed about some of the work being done by psychedelic research companies. Watching where these companies are heading and their research strategies is a critical part of staying up to date with psychedelic science. In particular, this series is focusing on companies using the entourage effect as part of their research and development activities.
Part 1 reviewed the expert opinions of two magic mushroom experts and two pharmacologists working in psychedelic research. Briefly, there is a lot of skepticism about whether there is an entourage effect when it comes to psychedelic compounds. Now, we pose the question, how are psychedelic research companies approaching the entourage effect? Part 2 covered Mydecine Innovations Group and here in Part 3, we take a closer look at the company Field Trip Discovery.
Field Trip’s Rationale and Research Paths
Of Field Trip’s three divisions, Field Trip Discovery is focusing on the cultivation and study of magic mushrooms and the compounds they produce. As reported in Quartz, the Discovery division sees two potential business targets for the research center: quantifying the psychedelic properties of magic mushrooms to make the user experience more predictable and identifying potential intellectual property opportunities.
Field Trip Discovery made the news in October 2019 when they announced the opening of their magic mushroom research center in Jamaica. According to Discovery’s website, the lab is working identifying, isolating, and characterizing “active substances in mushrooms and related fungi.” This includes developing methods for extracting all the compounds produced by magic mushrooms. Discovery’s scientists will also look for insight and further research opportunities by studying the genetics of the mushrooms.
Field Trip Discovery sums up their research and development strategy rationale by stating, “Botanical materials are complex and diverse, and may contain many substances that modify the psychedelic experience by direct and indirect actions at serotonin, dopamine and other receptors, as well as within the cellular transport and accumulation mechanisms in the brain.”
Field Trip Founder and CEO Ronan Levy told Quartz in an interview, “One of the big challenges with fungi—and you see this with cannabis—is producing consistent product. That variability is quite profound.”
In an interview with Benzinga, Mr. Levy said, “Much like cannabis, there’s probably a lot more going on with a mushroom than just psilocybin.” He added,
And so really the direction of the research is to explore the potential of other molecules and the interplay of molecules within the mushrooms themselves….There’s a very good reason to believe that there are a number of interesting molecules that haven’t been studied.
Field Trip’s Impact on Psychedelic Research
Discovery is approaching psychedelic mushroom research literally from the ground up. They appear unique in their efforts to understand how cultivation practices affect the type and amount of compounds the mushrooms produce. And concurrently, they want to know what is happening inside magic mushrooms right down to their genetics.
Field Trip Discovery also presents competition for other companies in the psychedelic intellectual property space such as CaaMTech and Cybin. So far it appears that Discovery is focusing on patenting synthetic psychedelic compounds such as FT-104. Although details on the chemistry of this molecule are vague, an article in Biospace describes it as “a novel psychedelic molecule derived from the chemical structures of known psychedelic substances.” The company’s internal pharmacology studies on FT-104 indicate that it is a serotonin 5-HT2A receptor agonist (as shown by the head twitch response test in mice) and has a potency similar to psilocybin.
Great article. Thank you very much for covering this topic. I completely agree with Mr. Levy’s insightful comments that the future of magic mushrooms is “to explore the potential of other molecules and the interplay of molecules within the mushrooms themselves,” i.e. the “Entourage Effect.” I am really happy to see people developing this area. There’s not doubt that the future of “magic mushrooms” will be formulated products having known amounts of specific psilocybin derivatives in order to provide a consistent and optimized effect.