Havn Life Sciences to study psilocybin’s effect on the human immune system

Specifically, the study will determine if a single dose of psilocybin extract can affect the body’s inflammatory response

Photo at left by Cavan Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus.


A Vancouver-based biotechnology company has announced the first preclinical study of a hitherto under-researched aspect of psychedelic medicine. In the first quarter of 2021, Havn Life Sciences Inc. will undertake a study on psilocybin’s affects on the human immune system.

Specifically, the study will determine if a single dose of psilocybin extract can affect the body’s inflammatory response and regulate the immune system.

“This is an exciting new application for psilocybin that has not yet been researched,” Susan Chapelle said in a press release. Chapelle is Havn Life’s executive vice-president of research and development.

“The work is essential to understanding the safety profile of psilocybin and developing medicines to help support human health,” she said. “The findings could lead to significant discoveries in the treatments of inflammatory diseases that have a profound negative effect on so many, such as pain, neuropathy and arthritis.”

Research is the first step

Havn Life’s study is “the first step required to file an application for the development of psilocybin delivery methods that could address inflammatory and immune diseases such as arthritis,” according to the press release. 

Vic Neufeld, Executive Chairman of Havn Life stated: “We are tremendously excited about the potential to accelerate drug discovery and patient access to psilocybin based compounds. Upon completion of this initial phase, the Havn Life team will have taken the first step on its journey towards market authorization of new medicines. We intend to pursue the filing of an FDA application for psilocybin-based delivery methods, which may ultimately lead to new drug discovery. To date, minimal research has been done on psilocybin and its effects on human immunity, which is an area that has become more and more important.”

Psychedelic therapy

As CannCentral reported at the time, Health Canada granted an exemption to Havn Life Sciences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act in September. As a result, the company can possess pure psilocybin for scientific research.

Charlie Smith interviewed Havn’s chief psychedelic officer, Dr. Ivan Casselman, in October. Casselman noted then that research suggests psychedelic therapy can help people with depression and posttraumatic stress disorder.

He also pointed to the potential of psychedelic therapy weaning people off addiction. That could include everything from tobacco to opioids to sugar and alcohol.

“What really excites me when I wake up in the morning is that what we’re working on has such a huge potential to help a lot of people,” Casselman said.

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